|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
|Timeshift service||ITV4 +1|
|Owner||ITV Digital Channels|
|Launched||1 November 2005|
|Replaced||ITV News Channel|
Channel 89 (+1)
|ITV Hub||Watch live (UK only)|
|TVPlayer||Watch live (UK only)|
|Sky Go||Watch live (UK only)|
|Virgin TV Go||Watch live (UK only)|
Watch live (Ireland only)
ITV4 is a British free-to-air television channel which was launched on 1 November 2005. It is owned by ITV Digital Channels, a division of ITV plc, and is part of the ITV network. The channel has a line-up that consists of sports, police shows, cult classic films such as James Bond, US comedies and dramas, and classic ITV action series of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
It was expected that ITV4 would replace the existing Men & Motors channel (which was replaced by ITV HD) in the same way Granada Plus was rebranded into ITV3, until ITV plc stated that the two channels would run alongside each other, forcing the ITV News Channel on Freeview to timeshare with ITV4. ITV replaced the failing News Channel with CITV. Both channels were on Freeview until ITV plc took Men & Motors off Freeview (although it remained on other platforms for some time until April 2010) and replaced it with the live quiz channel ITV Play. Some programming from Men & Motors was transferred to ITV4. ITV4 was the first channel to use the new on-screen look that was rolled out across the rest of ITV plc's channels on 16 January 2006. Red Bee Media designed the new logos and presentation for the entire corporation that saw the end of the yellow and blue squared look designed for ITV, ITV2 and the cube look for ITV3. An ITV 2005 interim results presentation revealed that an old style logo was designed for the channel but was never used on air.
The channel initially broadcast early in the evenings, but had its hours extended to cover daytime programming in February 2008, following previous trials where CITV handed over to ITV4 early in the weekends, closing at 12.30pm instead of the usual 6pm handover.
ITV4 was launched on UPC Ireland in Ireland on 4 January 2010, marking the first time the channel has been officially available in the country. The channel had already been (and remains) available to Irish viewers on free-to-air satellite for some time, but it has not been listed in the Sky electronic programme guide since its removal on 25 January 2006. On 1 April 2011, ITV4 was removed from UPC Ireland along with ITV2 and ITV3 due to the expiry of a carriage agreement between UPC and ITV. UPC Ireland claim that ITV is not in a position to renegotiate the deal because ITV had struck a deal with another channel provider to provide it with exclusive rights to air certain content from the channels. Conversely, UPC Ireland also claims to have been in discussions right up to the last moment in order to continue broadcasting the channels. ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 were restored to the UPC Ireland line-up on 20 December 2011. Virgin Media One and its sister channel Virgin Media Two already hold carriage agreement to air certain ITV content within the Republic of Ireland, alternatively UTV is available within the Republic. ITV2 is available along with ITV3 and ITV4 within Switzerland, all three channels are available on SwisscomTV and UPC Cablecom. ITV4 is registered to broadcast within the European Union/EEA through ALIA in Luxembourg.
ITV4's launch night was on Freeview channel 30. Although it was broadcast on the Astra 2D satellite used by Sky, so users could manually tune it in. It was launched on Sky channel 120, after ITV2 and ITV3 in the listings, on 1 November. Prior to this date, some sporting content was simulcast on Men & Motors in an ITV4 on M&M strand. It officially launched with Real Betis v Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League (Liverpool v Anderlecht was on ITV1 at the same time), the UKTV premiere of Kojak, and the film Carlito's Way.
In late October 2008, it was announced that a timeshifted (+1) version of ITV4 would be launched by the end of the year. ITV4 +1 was launched on Sky on 1 December 2008, on Freesat on 9 December 2008 and on Virgin Media on 25 March 2010. It was removed from Sky on 11 January 2011, due to the launch of ITV1 +1 (now known as ITV +1) taking up space on the EPG; the channel continued to be available on Freesat and Virgin. The channel was restored on 1 June 2012.
A high-definition simulcast of ITV4, ITV4 HD, was launched on 15 November 2010 alongside the sister channel, ITV3 HD on Sky. The channel was initially available through Sky's pay subscription service in a non-exclusive deal, before being added to Virgin Media's service on 14 March 2013. ITV4 HD's high definition content includes films, and sports events which currently include British Touring Car Championship, Tour de France, horse racing, snooker, darts (including the UK Open and the Players Championship Finals) and French Open tennis as well as highlights of other sporting events and content from the ITV Sport archives.
In line with the corporate rebranding of ITV, ITV4 received a new look on 14 January 2013. The channel received a "slate-grey" logo and became the "home of sport and cult classics". Channel promotion includes pub factoids and idents featuring viewer nominated "dreams come true".
Before ITV4's launch in 2005, ITV's digital sports coverage was on ITV2, but after its launch all sports coverage moved to ITV4. In its first week, it had coverage of the aforementioned Real Betis v Chelsea game in the UEFA Champions League, and also had coverage of Middlesbrough v Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the UEFA Cup on the Thursday, and Amir Khan's fight against Steve Gethin from the Braehead Arena in Glasgow on the Saturday.
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