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Interesting facts about BBC Red Button channel
  • 1

    BBC Red Button provides concise overviews and reports on multiple topics including news, science, business, sports, travel, and entertainment in the form of text and video services that can be watched and read (or listened to). The channel also offers enhanced TV programmes that include options of additional information, videos and quizzes.

  • 2

    In 2019, the BBC decided to close the Red Button service due to cuts in funding but after massive protests had to reverse the decision. In particular, the petition started by the National Federation of the Blind of the UK and sent to 10 Downing Street played a role in the reversal.

  • 3

    Red Button naming comes from the recognizable red button uniformly put on remote controls by manufacturers. When operated with digital TVs and set-top boxes, this button provides access to teletext services and other enhancements.

  • 4

    BBC Red Button can be accessed on all major broadcasting platforms, including Virgin Media, Sky, Freesat, and Freeview. On Freeview, however, users cannot submit data to the services (in quizzes, for example), because the platform does not offer the data input path.

  • 5

    In 1999, when BBC Text, the predecessor of Red Button, rolled out the new experimental ‘on-demand’ television, it used the Wimbledon translation as an example where viewers could choose matches to watch or open the text information about players, match scores, etc. However, since British homes did not have digital decoders able to decode this signal, the experience was received second-hand via the BBC broadcasts of service testing.

  • 6

    Interactive television by the BBC was first launched in 1999 as a BBC text service. In 2001 it was renamed BBCi (where ‘i’ means interactivity and innovation), and in 2008 it was finally rebranded as BBC Red Button.

  • 7

    BBC Red Button received its HD version in the summer 2013 and closed in the November of the same year, following the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who series. The HD version of the service was reopened and closed several times until the HD format became the default mode for all BBC channels, including BBC Red Button.

  • 8

    The team that created the initial BBC Text also worked on the early version of the Interactive Wimbledon and Interactive Open Golf services. These prototypes were awarded the interactive BAFTA prize in 2000.

  • 9

    The logo of Red Button includes the name of the service and a red circle symbolising the button. For BBC Red Button, the circle is placed at the beginning on the line. For Red Button Plus, the circle is placed in the middle of the line with the word ‘red’ inside it.

  • 10

    Initially, the teletext and interactive television options were marketed as extra, a premium addition to the regular TV services. However, due to particularities of organisation of the UK television landscape, in 2008 the interactive services got the new image of ‘everyday’ TV.