Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster that began transmission on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the station is now owned and operated by Channel Four Television Corporation, a public corporation of the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, which was established in 1990 and came into operation in 1993. With the conversion of the Wenvoe transmitter group in Wales to digital on 31 March 2010, Channel 4 became a UK-wide TV channel for the first time.
The channel was established to provide a fourth television service to the United Kingdom in addition to the licence-funded BBC’s two services and the single commercial broadcasting network, ITV.
Before Channel 4 and S4C, Britain had three terrestrial television services: BBC1, BBC2, and ITV. The Broadcasting Act 1980 began the process of adding a fourth, and Channel 4, along with its Welsh counterpart, was formally created by an Act of Parliament in 1982. After some months of test broadcasts, it began scheduled transmissions on 2 November 1982.
The notion of a second commercial broadcaster in the United Kingdom had been around since the inception of ITV in 1954 and its subsequent launch in 1955; the idea of an “ITV2” was long expected and pushed for. Indeed, television sets sold throughout the 1970s and early 1980s had a spare channel called “ITV/IBA 2”. Throughout ITV’s history and until Channel 4 finally became a reality, a perennial dialogue existed between the GPO, the government, the ITV companies and other interested parties, concerning the