The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Virgin Media Limited is a British company which provides telephone and internet services in the United Kingdom. Its headquarters are in Hampshire. Since 2013, Virgin Media has been a subsidiary of Liberty Global plc, an international television and telecommunications company; the company was listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and London Stock Exchange. Virgin Media is not a sister company of Virgin Mobile USA, owned by Sprint Corporation; the company was founded in March 2006 by the merger of Telewest, which created NTL: Telewest. In July 2006, the company purchased Virgin Mobile UK, creating the first "quadruple-play" media company in the United Kingdom, offering television, mobile phone and fixed-line telephone services. In November 2006, the company signed a deal with Sir Richard Branson to licence the Virgin brand for the combined business. All of the company's consumer services were rebranded under the Virgin Media name in February 2007. Virgin Media owns and operates its own fibre-optic cable network in the United Kingdom, although their optical fibre network does not reach the customer premises, rather they connect to a street cabinet.
As of 31 December 2012, it had a total of 4.8 million cable customers, of whom around 3.79 million were supplied with its television services, around 4.2 million with broadband internet services and around 4.1 million with fixed-line telephony services. At the same date, it had around 3 million mobile telephony customers. Virgin Media competes in broadband with Sky, BT Group and TalkTalk, in mobile with EE, O2, Vodafone and Three; the company's origins lie in both Telewest and NTL, which merged in March 2006. Telewest began in 1984 in Croydon under the name "Croydon Cable", was acquired by United Cable of Denver in 1988; the company expanded during the 1990s and adopted the Telewest name in 1992 following the merger of its then-parent TCI and US West. It expanded into cable television access in 1999 by purchasing the remaining 50% stake in Cable London, one of the first cable TV companies in the UK, from NTL, adding 400,000 homes in north London. In April 2000 Telewest merged with Flextech, in November extended its cable network with the acquisition of Eurobell, taking the total number of homes past 4.9 million.
NTL was established by Barclay Knapp and George Blumenthal in 1993 as "International CableTel", taking advantage of the deregulation of the UK cable market. Cabletel acquired local cable franchises covering Guildford, Northern Ireland and parts of Central Scotland and South Wales. In 1996 CableTel acquired National Transcommunications Limited, the privatised UK Independent Broadcasting Authority transmission network. In 1998 CableTel adopted "NTL" as its new name. NTL purchased the ISP Virgin.net in 2004, having operated it as a joint venture with Virgin Group since it launched in November 1996. It sold ADSL broadband services through BT landlines to those living outside areas served by NTL's cable network and offered subscription-based and subscription-free dial-up Internet access. Prior to acquiring Virgin.net, NTL offered. Telewest and NTL began discussions regarding a merger in late 2003. Thanks to their geographically distinct areas, NTL and Telewest had co-operated as in redirecting potential customers living outside their respective areas.
On 3 October 2005, NTL announced a US$16 billion purchase of Telewest, to form one of the largest media companies in the UK. The merger agreement as structured would have required NTL to negotiate with BBC Worldwide due to a change-of-ownership clause written into the agreement for UKTV, a joint venture with Telewest's Flextech content division. To prevent this, Telewest instead acquired NTL. In December 2005 NTL:Telewest and mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile UK announced that talks had taken place regarding a merger. Virgin Mobile's independent directors rejected the original bid of £817 million, taking the view that NTL's bid "undervalued the business". Sir Richard Branson expressed confidence that a restructured deal could go ahead, in January 2006 NTL increased its offer to £961 million. On 4 April 2006, NTL announced a £962.4 million recommended offer for Virgin Mobile. According to reports, Branson accepted a mix of shares and cash, making him a 10.7% shareholder of the combined company.
NTL and Telewest formally completed their merger on 3 March 2006, making the merged company the UK's largest cable provider, with more than 90% of the market. The combined company renamed itself NTL Incorporated, with ex-NTL shareholders controlling 75% of the stock and ex-Telewest shareholders 25%. Nine of the 11 directors of the new board came with two from Telewest. NTL:Telewest's takeover of Virgin Mobile completed on 4 July 2006, creating the UK's first'quadruple play' media company, bringing together television, mobile phone and fixed-line phone services; the deal included a 30-year exclusive branding agreement that saw NTL adopt the "Virgin" name after it completed its merger with Telewest. NTL:Telewest announced on 8 November 2006 it would change its name to "Virgin Media Inc". On 9 November 2006, NTL announced it had approached the commercial television broadcaster ITV plc about a proposed merger, after a similar announcement by ITV. BSkyB blocked the merger on 17 November 2006 by controversially buying a 17.9% stake in ITV plc, a move that attracted anger from NTL shareholder Richard Branson, an investigation from media and telecoms regulator Ofcom.
On 6 December 2006 NTL announced that it had complained to the Office of Fair Trading about BSkyB's
Discovery Home & Health (UK & Ireland)
Discovery Home & Health is a television channel. It was launched on 1 July 2000 as part of the Discovery Channel's bouquet of channels, as Discovery Health, following a similar format to the American channel of the same name, it was rebranded on 7 May 2005 to its current name, relaunched as a female oriented lifestyle channel. This coincided with the relaunch of Discovery Home & Leisure as Discovery Real Time, a male oriented channel. On 30 April 2013, Discovery Home & Health received a new look, following the closure of Discovery Real Time and Discovery Travel & Living, began broadcasting in widescreen, the last of Discovery's UK channels to do so; some programming from the closed channels was transferred over to Health. At the same time the channels moved into Real Time's old EPG slots on Sky and did so on Virgin Media on 7 May 2013. Discovery Channel UK
Discovery, Inc. is an American mass media company based in Silver Spring and established in 1985. The company operates factual television networks, such as its namesake Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science Channel, TLC, other spin-off brands. In March 2018, the company completed its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, which added networks such as Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel to its portfolio; the combined company operates five of the ten most-watched U. S. cable channels among women. Discovery owns or has interests in local versions of its channel brands in international markets, in addition to its other major regional operations such as Eurosport, Discovery Communications Nordic, TVN Group in Poland, Lionsgate, an American-Canadian movie studio, UKTV, a British channel group co-owned with BBC Studios, a portfolio of various free-to-air channels in Germany and Italy such as DMAX and Real Time; the company's namesake and flagship brand, Discovery Channel, first launched on June 17, 1985.
In 1991, Discovery Channel's owners acquired The Learning Channel. In October 1996, Discovery launched several new spin-off networks, including Animal Planet, the digital cable channels Discovery Kids, Discovery Travel & Living, Discovery Civilization, Science Channel; this was followed by the 1997 purchase of a 70% stake in Travel Channel, the 1998 launches of Discovery en Español, Discovery Wings, Discovery Health Channel. In 1998, Discovery acquired a stake in the struggling CBS Eye on People channel; the network folded in 2000, being replaced by other Discovery channels on providers. On September 1, 2001, Discovery Communications bought The Health Channel, announced that it would be re-branded as FitTV. In 2002, Discovery re-launched Discovery Civilization as Discovery Times, as part of a joint venture with The New York Times. In June 2002, coinciding with Discovery's 17th anniversary, the company launched a 24/7 high definition channel known as Discovery HD Theater. In 2003, Discovery Communications moved its headquarters from Bethesda to Silver Spring.
In 2003 and 2003, Discovery acquired academic film companies such as AGC, AIMS Multimedia, Clearvue & SVE to form Discovery Education. In March 2007, Discovery sold its stake in Travel Channel back to Cox Communications, in exchange for the stake in Discovery that Cox owned. Cox would sell the controlling interest in the channel to Scripps Networks Interactive in 2009. In June 2008, Discovery Home was replaced by Planet Green, a network devoted to environmentalism and ecological living. On January 15, 2008, Discovery announced that it had entered into a joint venture with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions to re-launch Discovery Health as a new service, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2009. In 2008, Discovery Times was re-launched as Investigation Discovery, a new brand that would be dedicated to true crime programs and documentaries. On April 30, 2009, Discovery announced a joint venture with Hasbro to re-launch Discovery Kids as a new youth- and family-oriented entertainment channel; the channel named The Hub, launched on October 10, 2010.
After multiple delays, OWN launched on January 1, 2011. On March 17, 2009, Discovery Communications sued Amazon.com for patent infringement by its Kindle e-reader line, regarding "secure distribution of electronic text and graphics to subscribers and secure storage". The patents were developed by Discovery founder John Hendricks, developing technologies related to e-books and the digitization of television programs. While Discovery had divested the television-related patents, it retained the e-book patents. Amazon subsequently accused Discovery of violating a patent for an "Internet-based customer referral system". On October 4, 2011, due to the wider implementation of high-definition feeds for mainstream cable channels, HD Theater was re-launched as Velocity, a new "upscale male" network focusing on automotive programming. On May 28, 2012, Planet Green was re-launched as Destination America. In January 2014, Discovery launched a website that aggregates online education content. In May 2014, Discovery and its shareholder Liberty Media acquired British television studio All3Media for $930 million in a 50/50 joint venture.
The new ownership stated. In October 2014, Discovery acquired controlling interest in Hub Network from Hasbro and re-branded it as Discovery Family. In November 2014, Curiosity was spun out as a venture-funded startup, receiving $6 million in funding. In December 2015, Discovery launched Discovery Go, a TV Everywhere service offering access to live streaming and on-demand content from Discovery Communications' cable networks. In May 2016, Discovery initiated a restructuring plan aiming to save $40 to $60 million by the third quarter of 2016, including a shift in strategy to "maximize" its linear television business whilst plotting larger investments in content, digital media and international markets. In August 2016, Discovery purchased a minority stake in the Hong Kong-based digital talent and content company VS Media. In October 2016, Discovery purchased a minority stake in Group Nine Media, a digital media holding company consisting of T
Streaming media is multimedia, received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a provider. The verb "to stream" refers to the process of obtaining media in this manner. A client end-user can use their media player to start playing digital video or digital audio content before the entire file has been transmitted. Distinguishing delivery method from the media distributed applies to telecommunications networks, as most of the delivery systems are either inherently streaming or inherently non-streaming. For example, in the 1930s, elevator music was among the earliest popular music available as streaming media; the term "streaming media" can apply to media other than video and audio, such as live closed captioning, ticker tape, real-time text, which are all considered "streaming text". Live streaming is the delivery of Internet content in real-time much as live television broadcasts content over the airwaves via a television signal. Live internet streaming requires a form of source media, an encoder to digitize the content, a media publisher, a content delivery network to distribute and deliver the content.
Live streaming does not need to be recorded at the origination point, although it is. There are challenges with streaming content on the Internet. If the user does not have enough bandwidth in their Internet connection, they may experience stops, lags, or slow buffering of the content; some users may not be able to stream certain content due to not having compatible computer or software systems. Some popular streaming services include the video sharing website YouTube and Mixer, which live stream the playing of video games. Netflix and Amazon Video stream movies and TV shows, Spotify, Apple Music and TIDAL stream music. In the early 1920s, George O. Squier was granted patents for a system for the transmission and distribution of signals over electrical lines, the technical basis for what became Muzak, a technology streaming continuous music to commercial customers without the use of radio. Attempts to display media on computers date back to the earliest days of computing in the mid-20th century.
However, little progress was made for several decades due to the high cost and limited capabilities of computer hardware. From the late 1980s through the 1990s, consumer-grade personal computers became powerful enough to display various media; the primary technical issues related to streaming were having enough CPU power bus bandwidth to support the required data rates, creating low-latency interrupt paths in the operating system to prevent buffer underrun, enabling skip-free streaming of the content. However, computer networks were still limited in the mid-1990s, audio and video media were delivered over non-streaming channels, such as by downloading a digital file from a remote server and saving it to a local drive on the end user's computer or storing it as a digital file and playing it back from CD-ROMs. In 1991 the first commercial Ethernet Switch was introduced, which enabled more powerful computer networks leading to the first streaming video solutions used by schools and corporations such as expanding Bloomberg Television worldwide.
In the mid 1990s the World Wide Web was established, but streaming audio would not be practical until years later. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, users had increased access to computer networks the Internet. During the early 2000s, users had access to increased network bandwidth in the "last mile"; these technological improvements facilitated the streaming of audio and video content to computer users in their homes and workplaces. There was an increasing use of standard protocols and formats, such as TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML as the Internet became commercialized, which led to an infusion of investment into the sector; the band Severe Tire Damage was the first group to perform live on the Internet. On June 24, 1993, the band was playing a gig at Xerox PARC while elsewhere in the building, scientists were discussing new technology for broadcasting on the Internet using multicasting; as proof of PARC's technology, the band's performance was broadcast and could be seen live in Australia and elsewhere.
In a March 2017 interview, band member Russ Haines stated that the band had used "half of the total bandwidth of the internet" to stream the performance, a 152-by-76 pixel video, updated eight to twelve times per second, with audio quality, "at best, a bad telephone connection". Microsoft Research developed a Microsoft TV application, compiled under MS Windows Studio Suite and tested in conjunction with Connectix QuickCam. RealNetworks was a pioneer in the streaming media markets, when it broadcast a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners over the Internet in 1995; the first symphonic concert on the Internet took place at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, Washington on November 10, 1995. The concert was a collaboration between The Seattle Symphony and various guest musicians such as Slash, Matt Cameron, Barrett Martin; when Word Magazine launched in 1995, they featured the first-ever streaming soundtracks on the Internet. Metro
Freesat is a British free-to-air satellite television service, provided by joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc. The service was formed as a memorandum in 2007 and has been marketed since 6 May 2008. Freesat offers a satellite alternative to the Freeview service on digital terrestrial television, with a broadly similar selection of channels available without subscription for users purchasing a receiver; the service makes use of the additional capacity available on satellite broadcasting to offer a selection of 17 high-definition channels from the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Arirang TV, Daystar, Discovery Networks, France 24, NHK, RT UK and TRT World. Freesat's main competitors are Freeview, Freesat from Sky, Virgin Media and BT. TalkTalk offer a YouView service; the BBC and ITV, the two biggest free-to-air broadcasters in the UK, make their services available digitally through three routes: free-to-air via digital terrestrial and digital satellite, subscription-only via digital cable. On digital terrestrial, the channels have always been available free-to-air with the appropriate equipment.
In 2007 Freeview was available to only 73% of the population. After analogue TV services were replaced in the digital switchover, this increased to 98.5% for the public service channels and 90% for the full'Freeview' service. To provide more widespread coverage and a larger number of channels, a digital satellite alternative was felt necessary. Both the BBC's and ITV's channels were encrypted since the original Astra satellites used for Sky broadcast to most of Europe but the broadcasters' rights for premium content such as films and sports covered the UK only; the use of encryption meant that anyone wishing to view the channels had to purchase equipment from Sky and pay for a free-to-view viewing card to decrypt the channels. To use the Videoguard encryption, the broadcasters needed to pay a fee to NDS Group. In May 2003 the BBC moved most of its channels from the Astra 2A satellite to Astra 2D, which has a footprint that focuses more on the UK; this move allowed the BBC to stop encrypting its broadcasts while continuing to meet its rights obligations.
It dropped the encryption two months later. Two months ITV, whose channels had been located on the Astra 2D satellite since launching on the Sky platform some years earlier made their channels free-to-air. On 18 November 2008, Channel 5 commenced broadcasting a single channel via Freesat adding its ancillary services 5USA and 5* three years in December 2011, it added Channel 5 HD to Freesat following the removal of BBC Three as an SD & HD TV channel. Viva moved from free-to-view to free-to-air on satellite on 19 March 2013, before launching on Freesat on 2 April 2013. On 2 April 2013, all seven of Box Television's channels left Sky's subscription package, with six becoming free-to-air on satellite. TV, Kiss TV and Smash Hits – were added to the Freesat EPG; this was followed by Magic on 29 April. The free-to-air channels can be received using any standard digital satellite receiver, although those not licensed by Freesat will need to be re-tuned manually if/when channel frequencies are changed.
The Freesat project aims to provide a managed service with an Electronic Programme Guide and interactive features similar to the Freeview service launched three years earlier. Unlike Freeview, these features are only available on approved receivers manufactured under licence from Freesat; the initial plan was to launch the service in early 2006. This was postponed to Autumn 2007 as approval from the BBC Trust was only received in April 2007. However, the service was further delayed and was launched on 6 May 2008; the service launched on 6 May 2008. From the launch, Freesat advertised all national television channels from the BBC and ITV as being available on the platform, as well as all national BBC radio networks. Channel 4 managed to make most of its channels free-to-air in preparation for the launch. In addition some channels from other broadcasters such as Chello Zone, CSC Media Group, Al Jazeera English, Zee Live, Zee News, RIA Novosti and Euronews were included on the channel list. BBC HD was the only high-definition channel available on Freesat from launch day, with ITV HD added as a "red-button" interactive service from 7 June 2008.
On 2 April 2010 ITV HD changed from an interactive service to a full-time channel called ITV1 HD, simulcasting the main ITV1 channel. The name was changed back to ITV HD on 14 January 2013. BBC One HD, a high-definition simulcast of BBC One, was made available on Freesat and other platforms on 3 November 2010. Channel 4 HD became available on the platform on 19 April 2011, but will be withdrawn from 22 February 2018. NHK World HD was added to Freesat on 9 May 2011. On 23 July 2012, the BBC added 24 temporary channels to cover the 2012 Summer Olympics, the channels share their EPG slot with their standard definition counterpart. On 29 August 2012, Channel 4 added three temporary channels covering the 2012 Summer Paralympics in high definition from the following day. On 14 February 2013, RT HD was added to Freesat, sharing its channel number with its standard definition simulcast. On 26 March 2013, BBC HD was replaced by a high-definiti