Home Video Channel

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Home Video Channel (HVC) was a British cable TV channel that started broadcasting from September 1985,[1][2] until on 1 May 1999 and broadcast movies (such as horror, action and adventure) between the hours of 20:00 and 00:00 every night.


Home Video Channel (HVC)[edit]

The channel was created by "Ealing Cable" as one of two channels to help build up content and viewership, (Other being an Asian channel – Indra Dhnush). During its early years in operation HVC purchased many movies as cheaply as possible, before making copies via low-band U-Matic tapes and distributed its films to other cable operators, along with a paper schedule to play out within their own local cable are on a semi-automated system.[3]

HVC was sold to one of its rivals, Prem1ere in March 1987,[4] who continued the operations of sending out tapes, and increased its operational hours to 19:00–07:00. In 1989 HVC operations were sold to a private consortium, who grow it operations by starting direct broadcast (instead of sending out tape) to British and European Cable operate and transmitting on the Astra satellite system.

The Adult Channel[edit]

The Adult Channel.PNG

In January 1992, the company started a porn channel called The Adult Channel, a satellite delivered subscription service that features cable version adult movies. The Adult Channel broadcast four hours a day commencing at 00:00, and was available to approximately 2 million cable households and approximately 4 million (DTH) satellite households in the United Kingdom. The Adult Channel was also available to DTH satellite households throughout Continental Europe and had subscribers in over 40 countries. The Home Video Channel continued to operate during the evening with exclusive movie service featuring action, adventure and horror during the pre-midnight. The two services were offered to cable operators as a seamless 20:00 to 04:00 programming service at a package price.

In 1995, the station transmission was moved from the Astra 1B Satellite to the then new Astra 1D. However, channels used frequencies that were not available on the original Sky receivers due to being outside the original BSS band, Sky issued viewers with frequency shifters ("ADX Plus Channel Expanders"), comprising small boxes the size of a cigarette packet with a single switch and an on/off LED. When connected between the dish and the receiver (and powered by the receiver) these allowed viewers to switch manually between the Astra 1A and Astra 1D frequency bands – precisely 250 MHz.[5]

By 1997, the Adult Channel had lost subscribers and its market share in the UK, several factors were believed to be contributed to this decline, including the launch of two competing porn channels in 1995 and increased piracy, along with the channel also using an Astra 1D satellite transponder. In an effort to address these issues in 1998, the company restructured HVC's management and instituted a change in its transponder, to allow it to broadcast on British Sky Broadcasting Limited (BSkyB) satellite from August 1998. The changes were successful, as the number of subscribers increased, and the cost of the new transponder was less expensive. The Adult Channel followed on from the Sci-Fi (later became Syfy) and The History Channel, two widely distributed networks. HVC also switched to the Sky encryption technology in October 1997 to curtail signal piracy. and also increased The Adult Channel's programming budget for 1998 with an added emphasis on European programming. The company has also increased HVC's advertising budget and reallocated it to the UK DTH market in an effort to regain lost market share.[6]

Spice International[edit]

In 1994, the Home Video Channel Limited was acquired by Spice Entertainment Companies, Inc. Spice expanded its distribution of The Adult Channel throughout the rest of Europe, when it increased its authorised agents throughout Western Europe who distribute DTH subscriptions to The Adult Channel through sales of "smart cards". HVC entered into an agency agreement with Nuevas Estructuras Televisivas who had secured affiliation agreements for The Adult Channel in over thirty Spanish cable systems. The Adult Channel was also carried on the Canal Digital AS platform which serves subscribers in Scandinavia, Canal+ digital platform serving subscribers in the Benelux countries and in Germany via Deutsche Telekom who had 16 million cable homes user. In Eastern Europe, securing carriage in cable systems located in Russia, Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia. However, one of its more promising programming arrangements was with Metromedia which operated cable systems in Romania and Russia. Several of the Romanian cable systems ceased distribution of The Adult Channel as a result of the devaluation of the Romanian currency.[6]

Playboy TV[edit]

In May 1995, it was announced Playboy would start a new UK Television station, in partnership with Flextech 51%, and BSkyB30%. PEI chairman and chief executive officerChristie Hefner said, "Two years ago, we began selling blocks of programming to existing cable services overseas. The establishment of an overseas Playboy network was a logical step for us in our strategy for growth and we are pleased to be involved in this venture with such respected partners as TCI, Flextech and BSkyB." David Chance, deputy managing director of BSkyB, and Roger Luard, managing director of Flextech plc, jointly said, "Playboy has a strong brand name worldwide and has a successful adult-oriented television channel in the United States that appeals to both men and women. Our research shows there is a strong demand for the channel, with its wide variety of high quality programming in the UK and Benelux countries".[7] Playboy TV UK started on 1 November 1995.

In December 1998, Home Video Channel acquired the 81% interest in Playboy TV UK/Benelux,from Flextech and British Sky Broadcasting Limited,[8] further to the deal HVC and playboy merged.[9] Playboy said that Home Video Channel will pay approximately U.S dollars 9 million for the 81% interest and that timing of the payments will be based on the network's future cash flows. Playboy TV and HVC will continue to be delivered on Sky's satellite platform as well as via cable.

Play should improve our growth and profitability potential.[10] On 1 May 1999, HVC/The Adult Channel package ceased transmission with the Adult Channel only carrying on afterwards.[11]

In February 2005, the channel was fined by Ofcom for broadcasting "Sandy Babe Abroad", a hardcore pornographic film. Ofcom said "it includes material which should not be transmitted at any time under any circumstance on British television".[12][13] In 2009, the station was once again fined by Ofcom for breaches of its licence, by broadcasting "sexually explicit material unencrypted".[14] In January 2013, it was fined again for making sure potentially harmful pornographic material was protected from children. Ofcom says "there wasn't a system in place on Playboy's on-demand programmes services and they didn't have acceptable controls in place to check that users were aged 18 or over"[15]

Playboy TV is also available in Finland and Scandinavia through Canal Digital (in Norway also through Get). In Belgium through Telenet Digital TV, in Switzerland through Cablecom Digital TV, in Africa, and also in New Zealand through SKY Network Television.

On 30 November 2017, Playboy TV UK's Sky EPG slot was bought by the Portland TV-owned Television X Pay-Per Night. On Virgin Media the channel was gone for 2 weeks, only to return in mid December 2017. The channel finally closed on Virgin Media in July 2018, with its slot being taken by sister channel XXX Brits.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www2.tv-ark.org.uk/otherchannels/hvc.html[dead link]
  2. ^ http://i48.tinypic.com/2eedi1l.jpg Broadband Cable 10th Anniversary, Fiber Optics Cable Weekly 1994
  3. ^ From Tony Currie Controller of Programmes at the Cable Authority from 1987 – 1991
  4. ^ TV BROADCASTING IN EUROPE AND New TECHNOLOGIES By Prof . GARETH LOCKSLEY From Commission of EU. P179. ISBN 92-825-8759-2
  5. ^ Bains, Geoff. "Double Shift" What Satellite TV January 1995 pp42
  6. ^ a b "Spice Entertainment Companies Inc – Annual Report (10-K) Item 1. Business". sec.edgar-online.com. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  7. ^ "Playboy, Flextech and BSkyB form first international Playboy TV channel" (Press release). Chicago: thefreelibrary.com. Business Wire. 11 May 1995. 
  8. ^ "Playboy Entertainment to Acquire Full Ownership of UK Channel" (Press release). Chicago: thefreelibrary.com. PR Newswire Association LLC. 1 December 1998. 
  9. ^ "Playboy Moves Schedules Forward". Broadcast Digital. 18 June 1999. 
  10. ^ "Playboy Entertainment to Acquire Full Ownership of UK Channel" (Press release). Chicago. PR Newswire. 1 December 1998. 
  11. ^ "Google Groups". Google. Retrieved 4 July 2017. 
  12. ^ "Lifeline: Playboy TV". Campaign. 17 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Brook, Stephen (11 February 2005). "Playboy TV fined for hardcore broadcast". The Guardian. 
  14. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (2 April 2009). "Ofcom fines Playboy TV for sexually explicit content". The Guardian. 
  15. ^ "Playboy TV fined £100,000 by UK broadcasting regulator". BBC Newsbeat. 16 January 2013. 

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