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Tuesday, July 28, 1998 Published at 08:27 GMT 09:27 UK


D-day for digital TV

British Digital Broadcasting is to announce its new name

New digital television company British Digital Broadcasting will name its new service on Tuesday.

At the start of its attempt to attract viewers, it is to swap the title BDB for a new name in what it claims to be biggest television brand launch in history.

BBC Media Correspondent Torin Douglas: "It will be a hard sell in more ways than one"
BDB plans to launch its 15-channel network in November to complement free-to-air digital channels from existing broadcasters.

Among them will be four channels each from BDB owners Granada and Carlton, four from Flextech in conjunction with the BBC and - for an extra premium - Sky Sports 1 and movie channels Sky Screen One and Sky Screen Two.

BDB has also negotiated with Viacom to make MTV part of the package in 1999.

[ image: Companies will be battling for viewers]
Companies will be battling for viewers
Channels available without subscription will be BBC1, BBC2, BBC News 24, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

Viewers will need a plug-in set-top box for their existing televisions to be able to decode the digital signals but will not need a satellite or cable connection.

Those who want to receive BDB channels will also have to subscribe.

There have been behind-the-scenes rows between BDB and BSkyB, which plans its own 150 channel digital launch later this year, much of it dedicated to pay-per-view movies.

[ image: Viewers need a set top box]
Viewers need a set top box
Originally part of the BDB bid, BSkyB's investment in digital terrestrial TV was vetoed by the Independent Television Commission, but the ITC said its sports and movie programming would be an important incentive to viewers to switch to digital.

BSkyB went to court to extract an extra £4m in programming fees from Carlton, which argued the regulators' decision had changed the £30m deal.

BSkyB has also accused BDB of ordering set-top boxes which will not be fully compatible with its own decoders on the level of interactive services, although BDB insists they will be.

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