During the week, a lot of viewers around metro Australia have noticed a new channel appear on their TV’s called TV4ME. Many have questioned exactly who the ‘me’ is as nobody really seems to want it.

As such, here’s a quick guide to what TV4ME is all about.

Who is responsible for it?
Prime Media launched the service for viewers in Prime7 viewing regions on Sept 18, 2011. It is now being rebroadcast by Channel 7 into metro areas.

Seven’s Chief Sales and Digital Officer, Kurt Burnette, said:

“As Australia’s leading broadcast television platform, we are committed to taking the lead in innovation and are delighted to be in partnership with Brand New Media on this new datacasting service. Seven continues to focus on providing our advertising partners with new ways to engage with our audiences and TV4 on Channel 74 represents a significant new development for our clients and our audiences.”

Brand New Media produces multi-platform content for broadcasters and has offices in Singapore, London, New York and Toronto.

What content is it broadcasting?

So far advertisements for products like mops, brain training software, scientology, and bras.

What is datacasting?

It is a layer of data added over a TV signal that appears like an additional channel on your TV.

In Australia, Datacasting can be used for the following purposes:

  • Information only programs (including matter that enables people to carry out transactions)
  • Educational programs
  • Interactive computer games
  • Content in the form of text or still visual images
  • Parliamentary broadcasts
  • Ordinary electronic mail
  • Internet content
  • Program guides

There are restrictions on the types of content that can be ‘datacast’:

  • limit datacasting content to that which is not typically broadcasting content ie not “entertainment”.
  • Allow for content which is information-based but restricts the capacity to transmit news and video. Extracts from “Category A” programmes (i.e. normal television programmes) and “Category B” programmes (for example news, or current affairs and weather) may be transmitted but must not be longer than 10 minutes duration of video. News programmes may not be presenter-based bulletins.
  • Restrictions also apply to multi-channelling by national broadcaster services whose television programmes (other than the core stream) must, in the case of news and current affairs, deal principally or wholly with regional matters (ie. not national news). Other types of programmes are restricted to a range of matters which would be considered of limited “entertainment” value – for example an education program; a science program, a religious program.

Is this a Freeview channel?

The channel is not listed on the Freeview website.

Why am I seeing just a black screen?

Not everyone is able to view this obviously exceptional service. When digital TV launched in Australia, it used an MPEG2 compression, so older digital receivers only decode that. Newer receivers are also able to decode MPEG4, which is the compression being used by TV4ME. If you’re only seeing a black screen, I wouldn’t be too concerned about upgrading.

How do I get rid of it?

Check your TV or digital set top box instruction guide. Most devices have functionality to block and/or delete specific channels./