BBC Red Button

BBC Red Button is a digital interactive television service provided by the BBC, and broadcast in the United Kingdom. The service can be accessed via Digital terrestrial television (Freeview) (DVB-T/T2), on satellite platforms Freesat and Sky (DVB-S/S2) and cable television (DVB-C).

The BBC runs two interactive television services. Red Button and Red Button+. Red Button is the BBC’s standard service, accessible from the majority of digital televisions without the need for an internet connection; Red Button+ is the connected service, available on hundreds of Smart televisions and on major television platforms like Virgin TiVO and YouView.
BBC Red Button+ was launched in 2015 and is available on selected Smart TVs, set-top boxes, TIVO on Virgin Media and YouView.

BBC Red Button currently provides one video stream to all platforms, which can be accessed directly from Freeview channel 601, Freesat channel 981, Sky channel 980 and Virgin Media channel 991. BBC Red Button offers text and video-based services, as well as enhanced television programmes which offer extra information, video or quizzes.

For more information see:
BBC TV, radio and Red Button coverage
Red Button delivery guide – BBC Studios (PDF)
OpenMheg OpenMheg is an MHEG-5 engine for Windows. It allows you to view over-the-air interactive services, such as BBCi and Teletext in the UK and other regions that use MHEG-5.


BBC Connected Red Button

The Connected Red Button is a service from the BBC that brings TV, online and BBC iPlayer together. The Connected Red Button offers you extra programmes and features without having to leave the programme you currently are watching.

Press the Red Button on your remote when watching a BBC channel to browse the BBC news, sports and weather. The BBC Connected Red Button allows you to enjoy a wider choice of coverage from live events (like Glastonbury and Wimbledon) and is an easy way to catch up with the latest BBC News including articles and video clips available any time of the day.

BBC Connected Red Button enables you to:

  • Watch programmes from BBC children’s channels, BBC Four anytime – day or night – even if the channel is off-air
  • Effortlessly catch up on previous episodes
  • Get closer to the latest sporting action, with more streams, clips and content from your favourite events
  • Immerse yourself in news and weather headlines and clips that matter to you, when you want them, all at the touch of a button



MHEG-5 (Multimedia & Hypermedia Expert Group), is a licence-free and public standard for interactive TV middleware that is used both to send and receive interactive TV signals.
MHEG-5 is used to provide interactive services for digital television such as the BBC’s red button service. The full specification of how MHEG-5 is used in the context of the UK Freeview platform is the UK Profile of MHEG-5. MHEG is also used on Freesat for its programming guide, as opposed to the OpenTV platform used on Sky.

MHEG-5 is an object-based declarative programming language which can be used to describe a presentation of text, images and video. An MHEG-5 application consists of a number of Scenes which the user of the application can move between. Each Scene lists the items of text and graphics to be presented and can contain blocks of procedural code which are executed in response to one of a predefined set of events such as keys being pressed, timers firing or content being successfully loaded into memory.
These blocks of code consist of elementary actions which can perform operations such as changing the text displayed by a text object or starting a video clip playing.

MHEG-5 specifies a hierarchy of classes that are available to the application author. Unlike in object-oriented languages, it is not possible for new classes to be defined. The standard defines two representations of MHEG applications, one of which is textual and the other is represented in ASN.1. Applications are normally written in the textual notation and then encoded into ASN.1 for interpretation by the MHEG engine. MHEG-5 is suited to programming interactive kiosks and interactive television services.

For more information see:
MHEG-5 Broadcast Profile (PDF)
MHEG-5 Browsers and Interactive Engines (PDF)
RedButton MHEG Engine
Red Button Interactive (MHEG) browser for DVB-S cards


BBC Red Button Gallery

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