Two dozen special BBC TV channels will be devoted to coverage of the 2012 London Olympics, all of which will be available in HD. It means viewers will be able to watch every Olympic sport, live from every venue.
Sky is understood to have picked up the cost of transmitting the simultaneous live HD and SD streams, making them available to 10 million homes in the UK, half of whom have an HD-compatible Sky box. Other content will be available through interactive Red Button menus.
The feeds will also be accessible to lapsed Sky subscribers who use old boxes for free-to-air channels (though they will not be able to make recordings), as well as Freesat.
The BBC had previously announced that it would make its main 24 live feeds available online. In terms of terrestrial TV, the main BBC channels will be showing key events but today’s announcement means that much more coverage will be available across a wide variety of digital platforms, both online and broadcast. In total it will amount to 2,500 hours of programming across the July-August period of the Games.
Sky homes in the Republic of Ireland will only be able to see the multi-feed coverage via the BBC Red Button.
Virgin Media has also reportedly been in discussions to carry the live feeds from the BBC but details are yet to be confirmed.
The 48 special channels (24 in HD and 24 SD versions of the same channels) will be added to the sports section of Sky’s programme guide from 24 July.
Roger Mosey, director of BBC London 2012, said, “We’re delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to cable and satellite providers to extend our online service to millions of TV viewers across the UK. BBC One and BBC Three will remain the flagship channels for the Olympics. But, as the London 2012 Olympic Games will be the first truly ‘Digital Games’, we wanted to offer an unprecedented amount of live sporting action to the widest possible audience through these 24 live streams, giving vastly more choice than ever before.”
As reported in February, some coverage will also be in 3D.