Terrestrial pay TV provider Top Up TV is closing at the end of October.
The pay TV service, which since 2004, offered Freeview viewers extra pay TV channels, will cease broadcasting at the end of the 31st October 2013.
The service's fate appeared to be sealed earlier this year when it lost access to Sky Sports 1, 2 and ESPN - its core channel offering. Top Up TV had gained access to the BT-hosted Sky Sports service in 2010. With the launch of BT Sport, BT decided to replace Sky Sports on terrestrial TV by BT Sport 1 and 2. ESPN UK was also taken over by BT. A failure to reach a carriage deal with BT left Top Up TV with no premium sports channels to offer to subscribers.
It encouraged its subscribers to switch to Sky to continue watching premium sport. Top Up TV has since then consisted of the Picturebox movie service and a residual TV Favourites service, which has been winding down over the past year.
Originally, the service was set up to offer a basic package of pay TV channels, which at the time included E4, Discovery and UKTV Gold. The advent of internet TV and the launch of services such as BT TV, Now TV and the soon-to-launch VuTV, meant that it was possible to offer a range of extra channels to Freeview viewers via broadband without the expensive cost of terrestrial distribution and without the capacity constraints of terrestrial TV, which hampered the original terrestrial TV provider On/ITV Digital over a decade ago.
Viewers with Top Up TV compatible receivers, including the Top Up TV Anytime box will still be able to use their equipment from 1st November for Freeview channels. The Top Up TV Anytime box will continue to be able to record Freeview channels.
This could be good news for Freeview, allowing FTA channels to use some of the freed up capcity, something that is in short supply on DTT.
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