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British television

British television broadcasting has a range of different broadcasters[?], broadcasting multiple channels over a variety of distribution media.

Free-to-air analogue terrestrial broadcasters:

  • The BBC is the oldest British broadcaster. Its analogue channels are BBC1 and BBC2.
  • Independent Television (ITV) is the name given to the original commercial British television broadcasters, set up in 1955 to provide competition to the BBC. Its flagship analogue channel is ITV1
  • Channel 4 was launched in 1982.
  • Channel 5 was the final analogue broadcaster to be launched. Its coverage is less than that of the other analogue broadcasters.

All of these channels are also carried on satellite television, cable television and digital terrestrial television[?] services.

No further analogue broadcasters are expected to be launched, and efforts are being made to move analogue channels to digital television so that the bandwidth allocated to analogue television can be reused.

The major competitors to the old free-to-air analogue broadcasters are subscription-based services of the cable companies NTL and Telewest, and the satellite broadcaster BSkyB. Digital terrestrial television was originally launched as a subscription-based service by a company called ONdigital, later ITV Digital, which failed commercially. The digital television service was relaunched as Freeview, a free-to-air service.

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