2015: the year in review part 2

ByDuncan Heaney
2015 to 2016

In our last post, we looked at some of the most memorable news stories of the first half of the year. Now it’s time to reminisce about the more recent past.

July

UK's first ultra HD TV package arrives

BT became the first pay-TV service to offer an ultra HD channel in July, with the launch of BT Sport Ultra HD. The provider created a new package for the channel, then called BT Entertainment Ultra HD, which has been changed to Total Entertainment now for some unknown reason.

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Clarkson and chums sign up with Amazon

The Great Jeremy Clarkson Saga of 2015 continued in July, with the news that Amazon had snapped up the presenter, as well as Hammond and May, for an original motoring series on its streaming service. It cost Amazon a pretty penny too - the company paid £160 million for sign up the stars. Let's hope it pays off for them next year.

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August

Vodafone broadband launches in the UK

Vodafone

A new challenger has entered the ring! Vodafone's much-anticipated broadband service started rolling out across the UK in August. With it came some interesting quirks, including the ability to manage your Wi-Fi through your mobile and attractive discounts for mobile phone customers.

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September

Apple unveils the iPhone 6S

So there's this company called Apple - quite minor in the scheme of things. They released an obscure little handset called the iPhone 6S, but nobody really cared.

Look, you don't need us to recap the iPhone 6S launch - it was one of the most Googled things this year. It's a new iPhone, and it's pretty good. What more do you need to know?

Read more if you want

BT Sport and Sky Sports sign new Scottish Premiership deal

Top flight Scottish football will continue to be shared between BT Sport and Sky Sports: both broadcasters can show up to 30 games a season, right up until 2019/20. The deal was said to be worth around £15 million a season, which could give Scottish clubs an extra £3.75 million extra a year. Money flying around everywhere then.

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October

ITV agrees to buy UTV for £100 million

UTV, Northern Ireland's oldest commercial channel, could be about to come under new ownership. In October, ITV announced that it had plans to buy the UTC media brand in a bid to expand its reach across the whole of the UK. The £100 million deal - which still has to be approved by the authorities - means ITV will own 13 out of the 15 regional licenses for the channel 3 spot on the telly.

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TalkTalk suffers cyber-attack - but it was far less serious than suspected

October will no doubt be long-remembered at TalkTalk. The company announced that it had been victim of a cyber-attack, and customers' personal details may have been accessed. Fortunately, the hackers only managed to get the details of 4% of its customers. That did include some credit card numbers, but they couldn't be used to identify specific people or make transactions. Overall though, it was an expensive event for TalkTalk, costing the company around £35 million. Or around a third of a UTV.

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BT's bid to buy EE approved

In late 2014, BT confirmed that it wanted to buy EE. So how much does the UK's biggest mobile network run you these days? An incredible £12.5 billion pounds, as it turns out.  At the end of October, the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) gave the merger a provisional thumbs up, saying it didn't think it would lead to any lessening of competition in the UK. There's still some legal shenanigans to get through, but pending major complaints, the deal is expected to be approved in January next year.

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November

Theresa May unveils full 'Snooper's Charter'

The full details of the government's proposed Investigatory Powers Bill were revealed this month. Under the law, internet providers would be required to keep a record of all the sites their users visit for 12 months. They'd also have to co-operate with authorities if a request was made for the records. Naturally, privacy groups are dead against it, hence it becoming known as the 'Snooper's Charter'.

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Cameron pledges fast broadband for whole of the UK by 2020

Before November, the government had promised to bring superfast broadband to 95% of the population by 2017. In November, that pledge shifted, with Cameron announcing plans to bring broadband to 100% of the population by 2020.

So that's a deadline extension, and less of a focus on speed. There's no indication yet of how the authorities plan to hit the last 5%, where geography or economics make it difficult, but I guess we'll find out in the next five years.

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Sky announces its biggest TV revamp in years

If you still think 'fluid viewing' means watching Netflix on the toilet, you clearly haven't read about Sky Q. The idea behind the new TV service is that you have multiple boxes around the house, so you can watch live shows, recordings and on-demand stuff seamlessly, wherever you are. Factor in some cool extra features, like the ability to send music and photos from your phone to the telly, and it's hard not to be at least a little excited. How much will it cost though…?

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December

Virgin Media starts buying exclusive TV shows

Sky's been snapping up exclusives for years - Game of Thrones, for example. But at the end of the year, Virgin Media bought up Ash vs Evil Dead - a gory, but very funny show based on Sam Raimi's cult horror series. Of course, Virgin doesn't have its own channel, so its instead made the show on-demand for customers only. Is this a sign of things to come?

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