Saturday, March 15, 2008

S4C (Sianel Pedwar Cymru, which is Welsh for Channel Four Wales) is a television channel in Wales. Two versions of the channel exist: on analogue television, the channel is bilingual (Welsh and English), with most English language programming being rebroadcast from Channel 4 (analogue reception of which is unavailable to the vast majority of Wales); on digital television (via which Welsh viewers can also receive Channel 4), S4C provides an entirely Welsh language service known as S4C Digidol (S4C Digital).

On digital, the S4C Digidol (S4C Digital) variant of S4C is broadcast. It is an exclusively Welsh language service broadcast within Wales on digital terrestrial television and throughout the UK and Ireland on Sky Digital (from the same satellite around Europe). S4C's Welsh programming generally airs simultaneously on S4C Digidol.
In addition, S4C also operates a sister channel, S4C2. It broadcasts coverage of the National Assembly for Wales when it is in session. The programme content is provided by the BBC. The channel is available on Freeview in Wales and throughout the UK and Ireland on Sky and cable. It has two audio feeds, allowing viewers to select between an untranslated version and an English-only version where all Welsh spoken is translated into English.
In addition to the analogue TV signal transmitted throughout Wales, S4C, along with United News and Media, owned the company S4C Digital Networks (SDN). SDN was awarded the UK-wide contract to provide half a digital multiplex worth of programming. The other half belonged, and still does belong to the broadcaster Five.
On 27 April 2005 S4C sold its share of SDN to ITV plc for approximately £34 million, though it still has the half-multiplex as of right in Wales. ITV already owned some of SDN due to the consolidation of the ITV industry: Granada bought UNM's stake in SDN, and this was then incorporated into the united ITV.
One benefit of DTT in Wales is that Channel 4 can now be broadcast alongside S4C, thereby placating disgruntled English speakers who have often had to put up with Channel 4 programmes aired hours or days later (if at all) on S4C. It remains to be seen what impact the availability of Channel 4 will have on S4C, as both channels share a significant proportion of their English output. However, by launching its all-Welsh digital service, S4C has essentially conceded that its future will be in serving that language only, and not as a mixed-language service.
In January 2007, S4C announced plans to launch a Welsh-language children's channel

S4C Funding and regulation

List of Welsh-language programmes
S4C Sport