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BBC red button celebrates 10th birthday

A decade of interactive digital TV content

Remote interactive red button

It has been 10 years since the BBC launched its first pilot of the Red Button in the UK. Over the past decade the service has evolved and increased in popularity, with an average of 11 million people using it a week, according to BBC figures.

It’s now available on all UK digital TV platforms, including Freeview, Freesat, Freesat from Sky and Virgin Media cable. Which? has reviews of the latest Freeview and Freesat set top boxes as well as PVRs. We also have advice on digital TV options and how to get high definition TV (HDTV).

The red button on your remote control lets you have a more interactive TV viewing experience, such as joining in with programmes, viewing extra news stories and sports coverage, checking sports results, travel information and weather forecasts. You can even play games, go shopping, place bets and use email on some channels.

You can press the red button at any time, but there are frequent on-screen prompts such as a red logo appearing in the top right-hand corner of the TV screen when specific content is available.

A Bafta and Emmy award-winning button

Over the past 10 years, the BBC’s Red Button service has won more than 15 awards including four BAFTAs and an International Emmy for Best Interactive Service in 2007.

Landmarks for the service include Test The Nation, launched in 2002 as the UK’s first truly interactive quiz, as well as, in 2004, the first interactive live interview from an astronaut orbiting in the international space station.

In 2008, in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, the BBC launched the Sport Multiscreen service, giving viewers a choice of between one and six streams along with news, results and statistics.

If you’re not familiar with the services available with the Red Button, the BBC has an interactive demo of the red button.

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