Red Bee Media

Just been in a bit of a debate about the issues BBC and C4/E4 primarily are having at the moment due to the outage last week at one of Red Bee’s data centres.

What’s everyone’s opinion on it, are you really that bothered that there’s no subtitles, or that they are having to replay previous episodes of shows due to losing the latest one to be broadcast?

If I wanted to watch the final episode of a show I loved, yes I’d be a bit miffed. Much like I was about the 3 Bond delays, but it’s just a “meh” really.

If I was deaf and relied on subtitles, I’d be really annoyed.


Definitely, but at the same time it’s not RB’s fault - people can always watch it On Demand if they are able to recover any data from the hard disks, I think people have just overreacted to not being able to watch Grand Designs

Have you seen it yet?! Me and a few pals have booked to see it next Friday in IMAX, buzzing for it!

If they don’t see the need to have proper redundancy on their services/data then should they even have the contract?


Yes, it’s discriminatory against the disabled, and Channel 4 are actually failing to comply with the law by not having their programmes subtitled.

If it was the audio track missing and not the subtitles, I don’t think there would even be any question about how wrong the situation is.

Just seen this:

And it’s really hard to not find it offensive. Two of the biggest programmes on TV at the moment were entirely unaccessible to the deaf this week - GBBO and Taskmaster, and probably three if Gogglebox tonight is also lacking. They’re simply not doing enough to resolve the situation.


I doubt they’re sitting around doing nothing

I’d question why they didn’t do what the BBC did, who were also affected. They had as-live subtitles on BBC for several days. Those are usually annoying, but they’re better than nothing and meant their programmes were still accessible, even if not perfect.


I’d counter that by saying it’s absolutely RB’s fault. It’s their responsibility to make sure the buildings they’re using for broadcast are suitable and work with the necessary parties to resolve any building issues that could cause outages.

It’s also their responsibility to make sure that suitable backup processes are in place. Channel 4 and 5 have been heavily impacted by this. BT Sport, and some BBC programming have been hit too and it’s STILL ongoing days later.

All4 has been pretty pants over the last few days with no live broadcasts, shows missing ads, shows uploaded late etc.

The audio on Channel 4 this week has sounded like mud too.

Things will always go wrong in the broadcast world, but you really have to question why services are still being impacted days later.

This website here has been pretty good at tracking the issues: Fallout from Red Bee Broadcast Centre incident: day 6 - Clean Feed


I’m wondering if all were equally effected. Perhaps the bbc are able to do that but channel 4 are more badly effected

Edit: apparently yes, bbc could recover

The Times said that smoke was detected at the Red Bee facility in west London, activating a fire suppression system that sucked all the oxygen out of the room. However, the safety measure also reportedly triggered a “sonic wave” that shut down broadcast servers, according to those familiar with the matter.

Channel 4 reportedly had to broadcast via an emergency recovery system as a result. The BBC avoided the worst of the disruption as it was able to switch its operation to Salford where its services are duplicated.

I think it’s totally unacceptable for a broadcaster to knowingly exclude people who need subtitles/audio description. If accessibility measures cannot be added “live” then the show is not ready for broadcast and should be delayed.

The view that “I’m alright because I don’t need subtitles” is not a good.


Some have no broadband at home.

No WiFi, no On Demand :man_shrugging:

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I’ve just looked at All 4. There are no subtitles on the programmes that were broadcast without subtitles. So even if people do have broadband… :man_shrugging:


We are currently on 69 pages of discussing this since it started over Live TV Forums


I never said this lol, I don’t watch TV and haven’t done for ages - I’m just interested in people’s views because I work in the fire suppression industry and I design these systems

Okay so you’re the perfect person to ask this then. In a few places I’ve seen it reported that all the oxygen was sucked out of the room. lol what? And then they go on to say it caused a sonic wave?? For those of us who don’t work in the industry, what on earth is going on here?!

Just to expand on this, it’s a gas system that activated, it doesn’t suck the oxygen out, it purges it using inergen which is a combination of nitorgen, argon and carbon dioxide. It’s an inert fire suppression system essentially.

It’s stored at 300bar and when the system detects smoke it activates, but because of the high pressure it can measure a rating of 130 decibels or more when it activates in the data halls, this sound caused vibrations in the server racks which has more than likely knocked the heads on the hard disks and quite possibly have corrupted the data stored on them.

ING Group experienced something very similar in 2016 I believe in Romania when a system activated and did the exact same thing sending vibrations through the halls and knocking the spindles off the hard disks. That’s not to say something isn’t being done about it but it can take decades for the design philosophy of these things to change and for how often events like this happen, its negligible


My last reply answers this, that was perfect timing hahah

I’m not 100% whether it will have been an inert system or a pre-action which is a water system, but from what’s been reporting with the “removal of oxygen” it would suggest it was a purge.


I suppose a follow-up question from me would be that if this is a known risk of using such a system in that situation, why was it chosen in the first place? Are there currently no better alternatives?

Feels a bit like having a car alarm that when it goes off, it deflates all the tyres. It’s great that the alarm part works, but the side-effect would rather interfere with the ability to carry on using the car :sweat_smile:

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Apparently they should baffle their nozzles to prevent this

I didn’t say you did :laughing: I was talking in the abstract.

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