Wednesday, September 23, 1998 Published at 06:29 GMT 07:29 UK
A new channel is born
Three kinds of mice: The BBC Choice logo
The first new BBC TV station to carry general programming for more than 30 years has started to broadcast - although most viewers cannot yet watch it.
But the set-top boxes enabling viewers to watch digital TV will not be in the shops until next week.
What's on offer
The channel offers back-up for programmes already seen on BBC One and BBC Two.
For example, viewers of Match of The Day can switch to BBC Choice to watch more news and comment in 'fanzine'-style show Row Z.
BBC Choice offers a 'best of' selection of the week's talked-about shows on Saturday nights, while theme evenings will support launches of major programmes on BBC One and Two.
There will also be extra sporting and event coverage, so tennis fans can enjoy uninterrupted coverage of events like Wimbledon, while music fans can see events such as Glastonbury in much greater detail.
BBC Choice also offers extra programming for viewers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
'Behind the scenes'
The station is one of four initially offered free on BBC Digital - with existing services, BBC One, BBC Two and BBC News 24 also available.
News 24 also started using new technology and had few viewers at its start.
Birth of digital era
BBC Learning will launch next year and start using the greater text and interactive services on offer with digital broadcasting.
Sir John rejects those critics who say extra channels are a waste of time and licence-payers' money.
"The BBC has always been a pioneer of technology," he said.
"The BBC's role in the digital age will be the same as in analogue. We will bring new services to our licence payers, to deepen their satisfaction, to unleash our best talents and show the world what we can do."
Still a mystery to many
It seems many in the UK simply do not understand what is being called the "digital revolution".
A survey by GfK Marketing Services found only three-quarters of the adult population had even heard of digital television.
Of those, 58% said they did not understand it and 71% said they were unlikely to invest in receiving equipment in the next year.
TV and Radio