The now and next banner has changed little since the previous software version
Another shot, this time from the Ireland version of ntl
The main guide interface has had a rebrand, and the main layout has been updated
Navigation for the TV guide has been made easier, a list based view is used as opposed to the grid based guide that can be found on Sky and Virgin.
A list of available channels on ntl
Viewing more information about a TV program
Help information, shows the connection status of the stb
Shows a changelog and improvements made for this version
The diary is similar in concept to the TV guide, programs that are to be broadcast in the future can be entered here, and the stb will remind you when the program is about to start
PPV movies were provided by Front Row, similar to Telewest
Front row listings
The settings page, you can change the screen settings such as the picture aspect ratio, the signal type (S-Video and Composite, with RGB being used in later STB revisions)
Early Pace Di4001 receivers outputted S-Video in place of RGB, newer models replaced this with RGB output
Message that appears when you are not subscribed to a channel or service
Interactive was handled by a separate component known as the Liberate TV Navigator, which is the middleware used for the interactive services. The version used is 1.1, this early implementation was separate from the main Tv Guide, which mean interactive icons like the red button were not possible, since the middleware only runs when the Interactive button is pressed, this changed in later implementations, where both the TV guide and interactive functions are using the Liberate engine.
Interactive services were made available in this version, powered by Liberate TV navigator, these services were similar to the Bromley platform
Interactive home screen, these were microsites that were optimized for use on a TV
News section with different providers or channels
BBC news interactive
Unlike Ceefax, Digital text can render full JPEG and GIF images, like a web page
Looking at both the USB and the storage system of the Xbox, since they are both intertwined and there are differences across the major revisions of the Xbox 360
Background: Xbox Original
To understand the logic of the Xbox 360 storage, you have to look at the past. The original Xbox was one of the first consoles to include an internal hard drive as standard which allowed for storage of game saves, music that could be ripped from an audio CD, or DLC that could be downloaded from Xbox Live. For regular users this meant you did not have to worry about memory cards since the Xbox had plenty of internal storage for game saves and since this was on a hard drive rather than NVRAM like the Sega Saturn, which means saves could be lost should the internal battery die.
The hard drive in the Xbox was one of the more expensive components of the Xbox, and this was one of the reasons the Xbox never made any profit for Microsoft. This had to be addressed with its successor, With this in mind the 360 would be designed over two storage options:
A basic version that would mirror the storage options of the PlayStation 2/GameCube, where there would be no internal user storage, but an external memory unit would be used instead. The user would still have the option to add a hard drive should they run out of space on the memory unit.
A premium version that had an internal (or sideloaded) hard drive that brought all the benefits of the hard drive in the original Xbox.
Giving the end-user choice may have been a good idea in hindsight, but there were issues and limitations that followed for both the end-user and the game developers, which will be discussed later.
Type of storage available on the Xbox 360
Xbox Memory Unit: Offered from 2005 – 2010 and was the primary storage option for the initial core and arcade consoles, available in capacities up to 512Mb and designed to be plugged into the front of the 360. Internally uses USB like the original Xbox memory unit. These are not directly compatible with the 360 S models since they lack the ports, third-party adapters are available that allow these old memory units to be used on the S models. Datel are one such provider.
You cannot use an original Xbox memory unit on the 360, or vice versa. Even though they both use USB and are formatted to FATX.
For the early 360 models without a hard drive, the NXE made these memory units mandatory, since portions of the dashboard are now stored on this memory unit since it exceeds the capacity of the onboard flash. The hard drive-equipped models will simply store this on the drive itself.
USB Mass Storage: This option was introduced around 2010, before the launch of the S consoles. You can connect a USB memory stick or an external hard drive and use it as additional storage for game saves, DLC or for games themselves (both downloaded and installed from the DVD disc). When first introduced you were limited to 4GB of storage, this was later increased to 16GB, then 32GB and then to 2TB following the release of the Xbox One.
Not all devices can be used, USB flash drives that are not fast enough will not be approved for use, since the Xbox 360 performs a speed test when initializing the storage. This is because some games may malfunction if they cannot access the data fast enough.
Xbox Hard Drive: Generally the most popular form of storage since its fast and easy to set up, but there are some caveats. First was the hard disk design changed from the original models to the S model, whilst the drives are the same internally and could open the case and manually swap the drive over. This is because the hard disk enclosure was redesigned, on the original models the hard drive was connected either on top or on the side depending on the orientation your 360 console was in, whilst the hard drive for the S model was designed to slot inside the console itself.
You cannot use your own hard drive since it has to be formatted and partitioned using Microsoft proprietary format, and Microsoft has not officially released a formatting tool. If you wish to use your own HDD you must softmod the console, or reflash the hard drive itself to make it appear as a Microsoft drive, for which you are limited to 500GB capacity as this was the largest hard disk Microsoft had released for the 360.
The hard drive is the only storage medium that allows for backward compatibility for original Xbox titles, since these games were reliant on using the hard drive for caching and user storage. These games will not run if the Xbox 360 does not have a hard drive. Some third party hard drives can also cause issues as they lack the partition 3 that stored the Xbox emulation and game data, this will need to be restored manually by the user and will allow original Xbox games to save.
Internal Flash storage: This was available for Arcade models released after 2008 that did not come with a hard drive. These models have either 256MB or 512MB of internal storage that was used for the dashboard, which became essentially when the NXE dashboard was released. Memory units and hard drives could still be used for these models. With the release of the 360 S, the 4GB model came with internal storage that was really a USB drive mounted internally to the console, like the Wi-Fi adaptor. This internal storage behaves like the memory unit. Some users have been able to modify and replace this internal storage.
HD-DVD: This addon also came with a built in memory unit, but was designed to be connected to the rear of the console and was intended to store a copy of the HD-DVD movie player.
USB Transfer Cable: Was intended to be used to move contents from one Xbox 360 drive to another but from looking at footage online it seems to appear in the storage section of the dashboard as a ‘Transfer Cable’ but its unknown if the Xbox can store files here directly or if its limited for copying only.
SATA Hard Disk
Upto 1GB (512Mb per memory unit, upto 2 can be connected)
Up to 4TB, upto 2 can be connected at once
Upto 500Gb for an unmodified console
Unknown, less than 480Mbps
Up to 53MB/s (480Mbit/s) shared between different USB devices
Up to 150MB/s (1.5Gbit/s)
Original models only, S model requires an adaptor
Can be used for
Saves, Music, DLC, Apps
Game installs, Saves, Music, DLC, Apps
Game installs, Saves, Music, DLC, Apps
Game Installs: Xbox 360 games can be installed to the hard disc, which allows for faster loading times since hard drives are generally faster than the optical drive, and has the benefit of reducing the wear and tear of the optical drive, and the reduction of heat in the console since the drive can spin down. Thanks to this feature you will want to get the most storage avaliable for your 360, especially if you have a large game library.
It’s worth noting there are some games that are discouraged from being installed this way, such as Halo 3 as that game will cache data to the hard drive regardless, and will load data from both the DD and hard disk simultaneously. It is claimed that installing this to the hard drive would see a reduction in performance (Although the dashboard still lets you install the game). But if you install the game to USB storage instead, the game has access to both the USB image and the cached data on the hard disk, which should yield a noticeable improvement over just running it from the DVD drive.Allegedly this issue was not fixed for the game’s on-demand version, which is downloaded to the Xbox hard drive regardless, you will possibly want to install Halo 3 to USB storage, even if you have plenty of space on it your 360 HDD. Further Information
Maximum Storage: Theoretically the maximum storage for the Xbox 360 is 5.505TB, with a 500GB SATA HDD, two 2TB USB drives/HDD and two 512MB memory units, along with a 4GB internal flash memory assuming a basic S model is being used. I’d say that’s enough for the entire Xbox 360 game library.
The number of USB ports vary on the different models
USB 1 – Rear of the console
USB 2/3 – Front of the console, hidden behind the flap
USB 4/5 – Used for the Memory units
USB 6 – possibly used on later revisions for internal storage
USB 1/2/3 – Rear of the console
USB 4 – Kinect port
USB 5/6 – Front of the console, hidden behind the flap
USB 7 – internal used for flash storage for 4GB S model
USB 8 – internal, used for WiFi adaptor module (Why not use PCI express?)
The later E revision removed one USB port at the rear, and comes with a hard drive by default negating the need for the built-in memory unit.
Good idea to run Kinect games off USB storage?
USB has limited bandwidth which is shared across the different devices that are connected, in the case of the S models this included the internal Wi-Fi adaptor. This could potentially cause issues when running games that use the Kinect sensor which uses the USB bus, and a USB external drive. There is a theory below that the Kinect/rear USB port has its own dedicated controller/bus, which gives its own bandwidth.
Are all the USB ports the same?
No, or at least there are certain devices that can only be connected to specific ports:
Kinect – original 360 models: the rear USB port was designed to run on its own bus, intended for a device connected that has the full bandwidth that USB2 can provide which is why Kinect can only be connected to this port for the original models, the other USB ports seem to share bandwidth possibly along with the memory units which was referenced on an online podcast (Major Nelson, sadly the link is no longer active and does not appear in the podcast archives.)
Memory Unit Adaptors
Although the S models lack the memory unit ports on the front, Datel released a USB to memory unit adaptor that was intended to connect a memory unit to a PC to transfer and backup save files. The side effect of this was the memory unit can be used on the S model XBOX 360, despite Microsoft not officially supporting it. However only the front USB ports can be used, and the icon varies depending on which port you connect to. The left USB port appears as Memory Unit A, whilst the right appears as Memory Unit B.
This may mean the USB ports are hardcoded by the kernel and would explain why they do not function on the rear USB ports.
Microsoft decided to channel the spirit of Sega and released an addon in 2006 to add HD-DVD playback support to the console, but does not allow games to boot from the drive. This is for video only, Microsoft never released games on the HD-DVD format (If only they did, some games took up three dual-layer DVD’s). The drive connects to the console via the rear USB port and features two USB ports on the read of the drive itself, allowing for the wireless adaptor to be mounted and connected to the rear, and a free USB port for another accessory (But not Kinect, since that won’t function behind a USB hub). This drive also features an internal storage device that the user can access and was intended to store the HD-DVD playback software, and possibly any files the HD-DVD disc might save. From this we can conclude there is a four-port hub internal to the drive, one for the drive itself, another for the built-in memory unit and two for the rear USB ports.
USB: I have noticed some differences in behavior between the front and rear ports of my Xbox 360 S, specifically with USB Memory stick when you turn it on. Sometimes if the flash drives are plugged into the rear and you turn it on, the 360 will not detect or mount the drive and you have to unplug and connect the drive before the 360 will recognize it. This never happens when you leave them plugged into the front. However as of 2021 this seems to have been rectified, so maybe a dashboard update has resolved this issue? Also, the rear USB ports are recessed into the case, and some flash drives might be too thick or large to fit in, which requires a short extension cable.
External Hard Drives: Use of external hard disks is recommended due to the speed and capacity they provide (external SSD’s can also work but will be heavily bottlenecked, and might be limited by the power that USB2 can provide) However I would advise avoiding the cheaper external hard drives that you will see on Amazon or eBay, purely because they are dumb in the sense that they do not spin the disk down when the Xbox 360 is powered off. They will keep the hard disk spinning constantly despite the host device being powered off, wasting electricity and reducing the lifespan of the hard disk if not properly ventilated, essentially they are a false economy. A lot of the branded drives (Western-Digital/Seagate/Samsung) external drives do spin the drive down when the host has powered off and reactivate when they detect the device being powered on.
Some 2.5inch drives and SSDs are capable of being bus-powered, whey they only require the use of a single USB connector to provide power.
Xbox 360 Consoles & SKU’s
Xbox 360 Core: Launch entry level model – No internal flash user storage, no hard drive included but can be added later, memory unit required for NXE update,
Xbox 360 Arcade: Replaced the Core model, No internal user storage, No hard drive included but can be added later, memory unit required for NXE update.
Xbox 360 Arcade (Jasper): Same as previous Arcade model but with 256MB onboard user storage, no hard drive included but can be added later, Can take the NXE update without any additional storage needed, 512MB version later available
Xbox 360 Pro: Launch premium model, Shipped with 20GB/60GB hard drive which is required for it to boot post NXE dashboard, No internal flash user storage
Xbox 360 Elite: Revised premium model, Shipped with 120GB/250GB hard drive which is required for it to boot post NXE dashboard, No internal flash user storage
Models from this point forward are Xbox 360 S
Xbox 360 S: Glossy black case (later matte), Shipped with 250GB/320GB/500GB hard drive storage, No internal flash user storage, Requires hard drive to boot
Xbox 360 S: Matte black case, Shipped with 4GB internal flash memory, No hard drive included but has a bay area for it to be installed, Hard drive not required to boot.
Xbox 360 E: Available in the same storage configurations as the S models (4GB flash or HDD)
NXE Update and storage: Because the size of the dashboard grew significantly with this update, additional storage was required in order for this dashboard to function. All Xbox 360’s have internal onboard flash memory, even the original core models and the ones shipped with a hard drive however this memory cannot be manipulated by the user. They contain 16MB of onboard flash which contains the dashboard kernel itself and the system software which is required for the 360 to operate. This was increased to 256Mb for the later arcade revisions so they could store the NXE update without the need of external storage. This 16Mb flash cannot be accessed directly by the user and was intended to be used for the dashboard itself
Science Explorer was a piece of software I remembered back in school which ran on RM Window Box PC’s (although it did not require it, able to run on 16 and 32 bit Windows systems). Designed as a learning tool for ages 7 to 11, it focused on a variety of different science subjects.
The user interface is reminiscent of early adventure games like Myst, it makes heavy use if CD-ROM technology to load pre-rendered 3D images that give the impression you are in a 3D environment, albeit with a heavily dithered colour palette. You are supposedly transported to a underwater science facility which provided learning activity related to science, with different sections dedicated to various subjects of science.
Whilst the software does install some files to the hard drive, Science Explorer is run mainly off the CD-ROM, since hard drives at the time had limited storage capacity. This means the software is constantly accessing the cd drive, A moderately faster drive is recommended since the program loads the images off the drive as the user navigates the facility.
Each user has their own account, which is accessed by entering their name which keeps track of what that they have learned, the subjects they have accessed and their test scores, however there are no passwords.
User Interface: Like Myst you navigate thought the facility using the mouse, where the cursor changes to indicate the direction where you are going. Moving to a different area, the software loads a different image from the CD-ROM. You can teleport to a different area instantly (depending on the CD-ROM speed) rather than having to keep clicking on the screen to navigate, and you an jump to a specific component in the subject
Each subject has the same formula, a Briefing, Investigation and a Tell Me More
An interactive exercise relating to the subject, this is like a practical exercise and can very depending on the subject. Either you have a problem to solve, or a test that you can carry out using various factors. One example was the sound insulation exercise, where you can discover which materials are better at insulating sounds of a different pitch.
A introduction to the subject, the text on screen is narrated and is typically accompted by an image relating to the subject.
Tell me More
Gives additional information relating to the subject, may not be part of the curriculum but still interesting to know.
Gives a interesting trivia relating to the type of science.
Interesting, since this came out in the late 90s, where the tower of Pisa had been shut due to stability concerns. Thankfully they managed to stabilize the tower and was able to reopen.
Since this old software was designed to be run on Windows 3.1 to 95 & 98, it contains some 16bit components that prevent it from functioning on modern 64bit Windows systems. PCem v16 was used to emulate the Windows 95 environment that the software was designed to run on, which was running from a ISO image (PCem can access a physical CD-ROM drive on your host PC, but its slow and has a delay which leads to stuttering.
One of the first textured 3D racing games, and mostly known of being a launch title on the first PlayStation console. However it appeared a year earlier in the arcades. The arcade version runs on much more powerful 3D hardware, runs in a higher resolution, a higher framerate (60fps vs 30fps on the PS1) thanks to it’s Evans & Sutherland 3D hardware, which was previously used to power their simulations and CAD hardware.
Released to the arcades in 1993 and running on the System 22 hardware, which was in direct competition with Sega’s Daytona USA and Midway’s Crusin USA.
The game was ported to the original PlayStation in 1994 as a launch title, and was considered to be an acceptable port of the arcade despite the downgrade made in order to run on the PlayStation hardware. The PlayStation port has support for the Namco neGcon controller, that allows the player to replicate analogue steering by twisting the controller as at the time the dual analogue controller wasn’t available.
Ridge Racer Hi-Spec
Runs in a resolution of 320×480 which is higher than the original release but less than the arcade version. The main attraction to this version is the 60fps upgrade and the gouraud shading, which enhances the graphics greatly. However there are only two cars on the track, with only 1 in time attack, and the texture quality has been reduced slightly. I had to disable texture filtering and display then unfiltered since it just looked like an N64 game. The polygon count of the cars and track may also have been educed, since the guide mentions optimised textures and polygons.
This build of the game was bundled on the Ridge Racer Type 4 bonus disc, and was not a standalone version of the game. It was meant to showcase a 60fps game on the original PlayStation hardware, and what sacrifices were needed no be made, as Namco were keen for later Ridge Racer titles to be running in 60fps. Ridge Racer V for the PlayStation 2 would be the first home game to be running at 60fps.
The game was ported to the Zeebo, a home console released in Brazil by TecToy and QUALCOMM, graphics have been slightly altered and the music is rendered entirely in MIDI.
PSone on the left, using moderate enhancements in the Duckstation emulator with the Mame emulation of the arcade in the middle and the Hi-Spec version on the right, I wanted to see if I could get the PSone version to match the arcade in terms of image quality by upping the resolution to 640×480 and enabling texture filtering, something with System 22 lacked.
Arcade emulation seems to have issues rendering the flag, which is supposed to flap freely, maybe a physics issue with one of the Texas Instrument DSP?
The game isn’t a straight port and some design changes had to be made, the HUD has been changed around and the track objects have also changed. Some buildings have also been changed to be in line with the PSone limitations. On the right you can see the effects of the shading which affects the art style slightly, giving a more realistic look. The ground textures have also been altered.
It’s worth mentioning that System 22 also supported gouraud shading, but Ridge Racer did not utilise it until Rave Racer in 1995.
Sunset differences between the two ports, The Hi-Spec mode does not have a night time version.
Game over is rendered in 3D for the arcade version, a static image on both PSone versions.
Comparison of the night sky, In the middle of a race the sun will set on the intermediate and time trials courses, to simulate a Le Mans race, the arcade shot is taken from one of the attract demos.
Boundary Break (Arcade)
With the help of some cheats in MAME, we are able to disable the collision detection, allowing us to move outside of the track. This gives some interesting close ups of some in game environment buildings.
A look of the city from a different angle
In the first tunnel, there is a path that is blocked off and is inaccessible
A closer look at the other tunnel, with a view of the cars, normally these aren’t directly accessible. Namco used lower resolution models of the cars, since you typically see these driving in a distance.
Another closer view of the cars, the tunnels ends abruptly to the outside, and the cars just disappear, and respawn at the other side after a few seconds.
Before the end of the tunnel, theirs an intersection to another tunnel, which leads to a dead end
The ground near the bridge, you can see the low detail textures, since System 22 didnt support texture filtering, giving a minecraft appearance
Another shot of the beach, sometimes if you break out of a track early on, your car remains on a higher evaluation allowing for a top down view for later sections of the game
A look at the buildings near the beach
A closer look at the crowd at the start of the game
Tire Garage Starblade, one of the shops near the overpass. Starblade was a 3D rail shooter
The buildings lack modelling towards the rear, since this view would not be available normally in the game. Also note the gap in the Sky where a bit of the blue sky is visible. Seems Namco displayed an overlay across the sky when it was night time, something the MAME emulator has issues replicating accurately.
Italian tomato, some sort of resturant or obscure namco game?
A closer view of the construction site, the trucks are levitating…
View of the city, some of the building’s are quite long
The boats in the beach section
One of the many restaurants near the beech, this building appears multiple times. Also this game predates lightning effects, as the game is supposed to in night time mode but the building appear as if its daytime, however in the starting section, the buildings do change to a night time effect.
A distant island, near the marina
Another restaurant building
Alternative view of the dead end tunnel, I’d like to try and do this to the PSOne version.
Todo: Mjlonir emulator was capable of running the system 22 versions of Ridge Racer with graphics acceleration, but as it was based on an older version of MAME it suffered from a lot of emulation and graphics issues, and uses an outdated rom set. Vivanonno was another emulator that was worth a look at.
Adi was a learning assistant. I’m not sure if this would be classed as a game, it does contain a few games, but Adi is not considered a game in itself. It’s kind of like Microsoft BOB or Packard Bell Navigator, only more focused at primary and secondary school students, which had a focus on Maths and English exams.
Since the game was designed to run on Windows 95, I’ve captured these from a Windows 95 install running in PCem(Fantastic emulator), emulating a Pentium Overdrive-based system. The game makes use in Intel’s Indeo technology and Microsoft WinG, not DirectX. Maybe this was to allow Windows 3.1 compatibility, but Adi is a 32bit application. The software makes use of various technologies such as Intel Indeo for the video and animation playback, this is automatically installed for you
The splash screen appears whenever you start Adi.
The software was released under Windows only, and came as part of three discs, the first being the main software disc, the second containing many of the various games and the third disc contains the year specific subjects for math and English.
There were many different editions of the software with the key stage 2 version covering years 3 – 6 and having a more cartoon appearance whilst the key stage 3 version taking a more mature interface. Typically all the key stage versions had the same two discs, with the third being different depending on the school year.
User selection screen each user has their own profile which was meant to track their progress with the math’s and English exercises and online activity.
Creating a new user for the first time, here you specify the Name, DOB, School Year and then your favorite traits. This would have been viewable online to other users, since Adi had support for online virtual classrooms, which as you have probably guessed are no longer online.
Shortly after you will be transported to his attic, and its kind of a nice-looking attic. This is where different sections of the application can be accessed. You can click on certain object to open different parts of Adi. Objects you can click on are indicated by the mouse cursor, which changes when you can select an item.
Objects will randomly animate if Adi is left unattended for a while, or you can animate the objects yourself.
When you move your cursor to the bottom of the screen, a row of buttons will appear that you can click on which will let you quickly access various activities, or can be used to exit Adi to change the active profile. The question mark icon acts as the context help, where the cursor will change and Adi will explain what that item does.
By the way, Adi always runs at 640 x 480, running at higher resolutions results in a black border being displayed around the screen.
Jukebox gives two options, Music and Background Music. Music allows you to play sample music from various genres, most likely from a generic sound library. Background music lets you select ambient music like city traffic and jungle rainforest sounds.
A picture editor lets you freehand draw on a canvas, basically MS paint but comes with some built-in clipart.
Adi comes with a calculator, although you might as well just use the Windows one, unless you are already in Adi and need access to a calculator and Alt+Tab isn’t an option.
A notepad-like component. This supports the use of passwords for certain memos.
These were an interesting part of Adi, these are like mini-games that learn you of real-world issues, and how certain actions affect things like the environment or the economy. Although a bit relaxed since these simulations lack restrictions like budget, keep in mind this is aimed at kids.
Investigations the effect of water and waste pollution near a seaside, you can change various options such as how clean the beaches are, if tanks should be cleaned at sea, the pesticides used in farming and the use of water treatment plants. Reminds me of SimCity where you had to be careful of the type of industry you zone in order to keep pollution levels in your city low.
Whilst this was engaging as a kid, its too sandbox, having something like a budget would be more realistic, i.e having cleaner batches reduced pollution but costs more since you would need to install bins and people to help clean the beaches up.
Set to emulate a random village in Africa, this investigates the effects on the savanna by local residents. A balance will need to be found to prevent the savanna from becoming dry, whilst keeping the residents happy and satisfied. Adding power and water infrastructure helps but again does not take into account the cost of such infrastructure.
The effect of pollution on a small valley/village, you have to balance the output of factory’s at the expense of the village health and the pollution of the environment.
The balance of nature, this explores the relationship of Rabbits and Fox’s with human hunting, and how nature is a delicate cycle.
How a company works
A simulation of capitalism, you have to balance sales and market share with R&D in order to guarantee growth.
How a country gets developed, you choose what type of war the country is currently in, the health and education of the population which has an effect on the population amount, farming, and international investments.
The Solar System
Information relating to the solar system, back from a time when Pluto was still a planet. Clicking on a planet would give you information on it such as its size & mass, temperature and observation of the planet.
Shows different consolations about Greek mythology
The Space Conquest
A timeline of different event from both the Russian and American space programs
Animals that are at risk of being endangered, and animals that have already become extinct.
The Water Cycle
How H2O works and the water cycle.
There was an online component of Adi, where you could meet other users online and access chatroom and virtual classrooms. Unfortunately, the online servers are no longer online.
But why bother with music channels now that you have Youtube or Vevo?
Adverts: Music channels do run adverts typically every 15 mins, however these are regulated by Ofcom and typically run at the same volume, a common issue I find with Youtube adverts is the volume isn’t standardized across videos or with other adverts, so when you do get an advert, its generally played out at a higher volume level, which I find infuriating.
I am aware that I could just install an adblock, however use of these is against the terms of service. Also the same can be said for music channels, i.e I could pre-record the program blocks on a PVR and then just skip forward through the adverts
Algorithm – It’s a mess when it comes to music and will often recommend or autoplay another song that has little to do with the previous song, Generally I prefer to listen to music in the same genre at the same time
On that note, why do TikTok compilations keep cropping up when I have never watched a TikTok video?
New music – YouTube rarely recommends me new music, instead it just autoplay’s me previous tracks that I’ve listened to, sometime offering new songs by an artist that I’ve listened to recently, but never a new artist or one that I have never listened to
Google – I want to reduce my reliance on BigTech companies
Copyright – another issue that crops up that people like to ignore, whilst lots of videos are provided by VEVO are generally safe from this, unofficial music video uploads by other users can be pulled anytime, and some may pull the video without offering replacement upload.
Comments – I know I can just ignore them but occasionally you can find the odd good component. However most of the time it’s just some dead meme
Don’t get me wrong, our music channels aren’t perfect, especially in regards to how they handle 4:3 content in a 16:9 broadcast (They zoom in) and the bitrate and resolution they use could be higher, but they still offer benefits compared to online streaming services.
Channels closed in the digital era
VH1 (1994 – 2018)
A long running music channel that launched on Sky analogue in 1993, played contemporary music for adults, with occasionally American programs from the US version
PlayUK (1998 – 2002)
Part of the UKTV network, played both music videos and comedy shows.
MTV2 (1998 – 2010)
Launched as M2 initially, focused on alternative non mainstream pop/rock, Ended up being quite different to tis US counterpart, eventually rebranded to MTV2
MTV Extra (1999 – 2001)
A sibling channel to MTV, which played music whilst regular programming was shown on MTV, replaced by MTV Hits in 2001
VH1 Classic (1999-
Similar to VH1 but played classic music from the 70s – 80s, replaced by MTV Classic (not sure what the difference VH1 to MTV makes?)
Q (2000 – 2012)
An indie focused music channel based in a similar style to its magazine counterpart. Initially used an SMS voting system
Smash Hits (2001-
General pop music channel that also played various genres, also used an SMS voting system during the early years.
MTV Dance (2001 – 2020)
Dance music channel by MTV, rebranded to clubMTV before being closed down for good
Chart Show TV (2002 – 2019)
Pop and chart music channel launched in 2002, initially known for it’s low budget song title graphics, the channel was treated to a rebrand in 2008, one of the well known FTA music channels back when the Bauer/EMAP and MTV channels were encrypted
The Hits (2002 – 2008)
Launched around the same year of Freeview, played the same music as Smash Hits & The Box with the SMS voting system. Replaced by 4Music in 2008
TMF (2002 – 2009)
The free to view version of MTV and MTV Hits, launched on Freeview in 2002 and later on Sky and cable. Shows on MTV would later be broadcast on TMF, alongside music videos, was replaced by VIVA in 2009
ClassicFM TV (2002 -2007)
A unique channel, played the same music as its radio counterpart, mainly remembered for its large and detailed song titles, that listed the composer, record label and artist album
P-Rock (2002 -2003)
A decent rock channel focused on upcoming rock artists, played a lot of Japanese rock projects like the mad capsule markets
Urban and grime focused channel that also played underground HipHop with the occasional US track. Introduced me to the grime genre that was thriving at the time, mostly remember for its low budget videos and its occasional technical faults. Also home of the Boo Crew
A memorable music channel that played through all genres, originally launched in 2003 as a pop/dance channel, in 2006 it changed its identity to cater to an LGB audience, would later revert to a dance channel. Would occasionally play urban themed music videos until the launch of Flava. Relaunched as Dance Nation TV
Played indie and alternative music, replaced by MTV Flux in 2006, apparently due to mobile advertising
The Vault (2003 – 2019)
Sister channel to chart show tv, played older music videos, similar to VH1 classic
Musicians Channel (2004 – 2006)
B4 (2004 – 2008)
Originally a channel that played newly released music, sometimes before its release date, also played alternative and independently released music, replaced by Flava in 2006
Fizz (2005 – 2009)
The pop version of Channel U, worked on a voting system where the viewer could vote for their song, mostly remember for the horrendous sidebar that displayed chat messages alongside the music video. Rebranded to Startz in 2009.
This was supposed to be a music that focused on well known tracks from British artists, however it eventually turned into one of these physic channels before being rebranded and moved to another EPG slot, basically a filler channel for an EPG slot
Flava (2008 – 2017)
Replaced B4, played Hiphop, urban and RnB music.
Bedroom TV (2008)
A unique music channel where viewers would upload their own music videos mimed to actual music, video quality was mostly the same as MySpace video