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Cable.co.uk comments on launch of new BT Sport channels

9 June 2015 : BT has today announced it will be launching three new channels: a BT Sport Europe channel, a free-to-air channel called BT Sport Showcase, and a BT Sport Ultra HD channel which will broadcast selected Champions League matches in 4K.

All BT Sport channels will be free for BT TV and BT broadband customers.

BT broadband customers who don't have BT TV will have to pay £5 a month for the BT Sport pack and watch via their Sky TV service or online through the BT Sport app.

BT is also introducing a BT TV Ultra HD set-top box.

Commenting on the announcement, telecoms expert and Cable.co.uk editor-in-chief Dan Howdle said:

Sky has had its own way with national and European football for far too long. BT is demonstrating clearly that it understands the price of becoming a creditable competitor.

“The most interesting part of this announcement for me is BT Sport UHD, a dedicated UHD (4K) sports channel arriving in August and requiring a specialised set-top box. Many are expecting Sky to do something with 4K later in the year, but Sky has not yet come out and stated any specifics.

“If BT can beat Sky to the punch on 4K, it will gain ground. Though comprising only a small percentage of TVs in the UK, adopters of 4K will go where the content is.

“I will be interested to find out closer to August – when BT plans to launch BT Sport UHD – how the service, and its set-top box have gone about overcoming the significant technical barriers that dogged Sky Sports’ early UHD tests in May last year – namely those of frame rate and bandwidth.”

“As far as the new charges go, BT’s being rather astute here: Stick with them for broadband and TV and BT Sport is still free across the board – get your broadband or TV from elsewhere and there’s a small sting. In most cases a fiver – a reward for remaining loyal. Even if you take your broadband or TV from another provider, £5 is, in my view, very little money for BT’s increasingly well-stocked sport offering."

BT Sport Europe, BT Sport Showcase and BT Sport Ultra HD will launch in August.

Notes to editors

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Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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