The Rediffusion retail chain, renting and servicing TVs, radios, VCRs and hi-fi systems, was common on high streets until it was bought by Granada Rentals in 1984.
BET and Rediffusion Limited had strong links with the former British colonies. These included holding the concessions for wired and over-the-air radio and television stations. A subsidiary company, Overseas Rediffusion, operated these stations and also sold advertising time and programming for them. Stations included the radio operations in Barbados, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Malaysia, Malta, Thailand and the wired television service Rediffusion Television in Hong Kong, the latter now known as Asia Television.
Rediffusion also offered a low-bandwidth cable TV and radio distribution system. This was based on connecting homes with multiple twisted-pair cables. Each pair carried a single TV or radio channel. The system was provided in most UK towns. Selection of TV or radio station was by means of a rotary switch, usually mounted on a wall or window frame close to the point of entry of the cable into the home. From this a two-wire cable led to the TV or radio. The TVs used on this system were stripped-down TV sets with no tuner or RF front-end and the radios were little more than a loudspeaker with built in amplifier. Rediffusion abandoned this system of TV and radio distribution by the end of the 1980s. The wall mounted switches, external junction boxes and street cable ducts are still visible in places that have not been redeveloped since the late 1980s.
Rediffusion Music, Reditune Rediffusion, Reditune Music and Rediffusion Thorsen (Germany) were sold to AEI Music Network of Seattle, WA in 1996. DMX Music, a smaller music provider, bought AEI Music in 2000. Mood Media bought DMX Music in 2005, The current owner remains Mood Media, however it trades under the MOOD: brand today. Mood Media Corporation own the previous trading names of Rediffusion Reditune, Rediffusion Music, AEI Rediffusion Music, AEI Music and DMX Music. In the 1990s, the name "Associated-Rediffusion Television" and the adastral star trademark were acquired by the British journalist Victor Lewis-Smith, and are now used by his own production company.
A year later, Rediffusion started operating in Malta. Transmissions in Malta started from Hamrun on 11 November 1935 under the name of "Broadcast Relay Service Malta Ltd." Charles Whotcroft and George Powler were the first manager and chief engineer respectively.
In 1948 Rediffusion established Redifon Ltd as a manufacturer of naval (and later flight) telecommunications equipment.
BET's financial resources enabled Rediffusion to capitalise on the growth in post war television, which restarted in 1946. Initially, the company installed cable TV systems in blocks of flats in London, and over the next few years expanded outside London. The company was also involved in the sale and rental of television sets.
On 29 September 1962 Rediffusion (Malta) Ltd. inaugurated a television service covering the Maltese islands.
The Rediffusion brand was also a name in aircraft simulation in both the UK and the US. Redifon, established in 1948, had become a manufacturer of flight simulators and in 1981 BET changed Redifon's name to Rediffusion Simulation to capitalise on the name. The company was sold in 1988 to Hughes Aircraft, which kept the Rediffusion name until it sold the company in 1994.
After the war, Rediffusion began operations in several of the then British colonies. These included holding the concessions for wired and over-the-air radio and television stations. A subsidiary company, Overseas Rediffusion, operated these stations and also sold advertising time and programming for them. Stations included the radio station Rediffusion Barbados, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the wired television service Rediffusion Television in Hong Kong, the latter later known as Asia Television. It also opened a company in Jersey in 1949, Rediffusion (Channel Islands) Limited, which obtained a licence to relay radio broadcasts from the States of Jersey in 1950. It also opened a manufacturing division in Jersey, Television Research Limited (TVR) which also provided research facilities for the wired network. This was established in 1952 and was renamed Reditronics Limited in 1976.
By 1964, when Associated-Rediffusion changed its name to Rediffusion London, the efforts of the owners had left them sitting on a substantial cash pile, and it is arguable that this success may have led to the 1967 decision by the Independent Television Authority to effectively break up the company. Rediffusion London was ordered to merge with Associated British Corporation, the holder of the weekend Midlands and North of England franchises, to form Thames Television, with ABC given the controlling interest (despite its generally weaker financial position) and Rediffusion holding 49%. Thames Television was given the new weekday London franchise, with ABC's existing franchises awarded to other companies.
Rediffusion was a business that distributed radio and TV signals through wired relay networks. The business gave rise to a number of other companies, including Associated-Rediffusion, later known as Rediffusion London, one of the first companies to win a terrestrial ITV (commercial television) franchise in the UK. Rediffusion also spawned a record label, Rediffusion International Music, in 1968. Redifon was the name used until 1981 for companies in the capital goods businesses of Rediffusion, viz. Redifon Computers, Redifon Flight Simulation and Redifon Telecommunications.
With the passage of the Television Act 1954, Rediffusion joined forces with Associated Newspapers, a subsidiary of Daily Mail and General Trust, to form Associated-Rediffusion, and won the coveted London weekday ITV broadcast franchise. They began broadcasting on 22 September 1955.
During the partnership's first year, Associated-Rediffusion was losing money so fast that by the end of 1956, Associated Newspapers sold 80% of its stake back to BET and Rediffusion at a severe loss. Around this time, Associated-Rediffusion struck a very lucrative deal with Granada Television, the franchise holder for weekday broadcasts in the North of England. Granada was also losing money, and lacked the financial resources of BET; the deal guaranteed Granada a certain level of financial security, at the cost of Associated-Rediffusion receiving the vast majority of future profits from their arrangement.
From 1980 the company designed, manufactured, sold, installed and maintained online shopping systems mainly in the UK and achieved a significant number of world firsts. The company’s name was changed to Rediffusion Computers in 1981. During the 1980s a large part of the company's revenue came from its sales in Eastern Europe and Russia. Equipment that met the CoCom directive for the sales of high performance technology to the Soviet Block was supplied to a number of customers the largest of which was Gazprom who used the systems on the Siberian Gas Pipeline project. In addition there was a steady stream of Polish engineers attending the Crawley training facility to enable them to support and maintain this equipment mainly in Russia but also in other countries in the Eastern Bloc.
Rediffusion was the trading name of Broadcast Relay Service Ltd, formed in 1928. In 1929 the company introduced its first cable radio service in Hull to customers frustrated with the difficulties of tuning in weak radio broadcasts. In the customer premises, nothing more than a selector switch and loudspeaker were needed. Initially, the service consisted primarily of rebroadcasts of the BBC Radio service, which was reflected in the trading name: Rediffusion simply means "broadcasting again".
On 14 February 1975 the employees of the Rediffusion (Malta) Ltd staged a sit-in strike at the company's premises in Malta and they even started to run the company. On 30 July 1975 an agreement was reached between Rediffusion Group of Companies and the Dom Mintoff led Labour Party government of Malta for the transfer of all Rediffusion's assets in Malta to the Maltese government.
Rediffusion quickly branched out into making, renting, and selling radios, both receivers for its cable services and conventional models. With the arrival of the first experimental television broadcasts in the 1930s, Rediffusion began manufacturing TV sets and supplying "Piped TV", an early form of cable TV, service to its customers, until the cessation of television broadcasts during the Second World War.
The Rediffusion company acquired the plot of land in Gwardamanġa from the Ursuline Sisters on 28 December 1954, for a perpetual annual rent of £206 for 100 years. The agreement stated that the place should not be used for any immoral activities. The building was designed by the architect Carmelo Falzon, and the project cost around £150,000. The first broadcast from the new building occurred on 30 December 1957, and it was inaugurated by Governor Sir Robert Laycock on 23 January 1958.
In 1964, Associated Rediffusion rebranded itself as Rediffusion London, using a black and grey ident featuring the same as previous, but with the new name now in a stripe and in a sans serif font. A new and simpler clock was designed featuring a 24-hour display at the bottom of the face and an adastral at the centre. The original timepiece 'Mitch' was given to the Science Museum, where it became the first ITV exhibit, and now resides in the National Media Museum, Bradford.