Why do the Freeview and YouView channel lists change numbers?
Latest news for Freeview and YouView channel number changesIt sounds unbelievable today when it’s found in almost every British home, but Freeview was born in 2002 as a last-ditch attempt to save digital TV through your TV aerial.
Since then, we’ve been through Digital Switchover, the launch of Freeview HD and the launch of YouView, which combines Freeview with TV delivered via your broadband connection.
Both BT and TalkTalk need somewhere to put their YouView broadband channels, and from next year there will be new capacity for up to 20 more Freeview HD channels.
Local TV channels will also begin to launch on Freeview for around 20 parts of the UK from the end of this year.
Digital UK, which looks after the management of the Freeview channel listing, has been trying to develop a long term plan for a numbering system which can cope with these changes.
What is the current line-up of the Freeview and YouView channel listings?
The main changes are the expansion of the HD section between 101 and 120 to accomodate more channels. Except for Children’s and Adult channels, all HD channels will sit in this section, and won’t replace their standard-definition equivalents elsewhere.
There’s also a 200-channel block from 400-599, to accommodate the large number of broadband-delivered channels TV which YouView expects to launch over the next 12 months.
Adult services now sit between 171 and 198 and are bookended with ‘slate’ channels at 170 and 199. Slates basically exist to say ‘You are not entering an 18+ rated zone.’ This should pre-empt those casually flicking through channels, meaning you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that a show called ‘Dirty Birds’ on channel 172 won’t necessarily be about avian hygenie.
The positioning of adult and dating channels behind News means that it provides a buffer between these kinds of channels and kids’ TV. Adult channels can also be easily locked out from Freeview boxes or have access restricted by a 4-digit PIN.
Will I need to retune my Freeview HD set-top box and TV?
If you’ve got a Freeview set-top box or integrated TV then you may need to retune to pick up any new channels and changes to the EPG.
Non-HD Freeview boxes and TV sets incapable of displaying HD will not be able to get the new HD channels.
Most Freeview HD and Freeview+ TV and boxes should automatically pick up the changes, and the Digital UK Advice Line used for Digital Switchover will be used for viewer queries.
Viewers will see ads about the change in TV listings mags, on the Freeview website, on their TV screens through BBC One, BBC Two, ITV1 and Channel 4.
The changes have been developed by DTT Multiplex Operators Ltd (DMOL), which represents Freeview’s operators: the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Arqiva.
How did Digital UK reach this decision?
Freeview’s channel operators surveyed almost 18,000 viewers and found they’d be happy to see a big change that brought benefits to watching TV.
Local TV is a big project of the Government, described as being Jeremy Hunt’s big pet project. There’s currently 21 locations in the UK where Local TV is expected to go live, with an extra 24 locations where an interest has been expressed by potential broadcasters.
The idea of Local TV is to provide local news and entertainment on an easy to access channel in the new General Entertainment section of the Freeview EPG.
The shake-up in the Freeview EPG is a consequence of the Digital Switchover nearing completion. The launch of extra channels and HD channels has long been the pipe dream for Freeview. With the shutting down of the old analogue signal, there’s no extra space on the airwaves for advanced services like HD and Local TV.
Digital UK took over the running of Freeview’s channel guide in early 2013, but before then it was handled by DMOL (Digital Multiplex Operators Ltd), representing the companies which manage the broadcasting of Freeview channels: the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Arqiva.
Launching the second part of its consultation on Freeview channel numbers, in early 2012, DMOL said: “The General Entertainment and Adult genres have overflowed the LCNs allocated to them and these genres have had to be broken into two parts, separated by other genres.
“In this two to four year time frame we anticipate the launch of new local television services. We also anticipate the launch of new IP connected DTT platforms carrying large numbers of channels.
“We further anticipate developments in the capacity of the DTT platform itself which we expect to result in significant numbers of new channels being launched on the platform. Viewers have some appetite for change and are confident that they can adapt to it.”
The dating and adult channels on Freeview will also be corralled into a single adult genre, placed two sections away from the children’s channels.
Here’s how DMOL proposed to change the Freeview line-up in 2012:
- BT and TalkTalk to hit YouView guide with more than 130 internet channels
- Freeview says Sky News will have to move
- Freeview makes room for local TV
- Sky News doesn’t want to change Freeview channel number
- Space for 20 Freeview HD channels from September 19
Sky has lost its appeal to keep Sky News where it is on the Freeview programme guide.
Proposals floated earlier in the year would see Sky News, currently sitting at channel 82 on Freeview, moved to channel 131. Sky appealed against the move last month and today DMOL, the body responsible for regulating channel positions, announced that Sky had not “presented a sufficiently compelling case that the moves should not go ahead.”
The result is that news and children’s channels will move to channel slots 121 and 131, as soon as Freeview channel 65 (currently unoccupied) is filled. HD channels will start at 101 and the Adult section will start at 171 from October 17 onwards.
October 5, 2012
Local TV might not be landing on UK screens until next year but space is already to be made on Freeview for the forthcoming channels.
Next week in England and Northern Ireland, Channel 8 – currently occupied by BBC4 – will be vacated to make way for the future local channels. BBC4 will instead move to Channel 9 on the Freeview EPG.
In Scotland and Wales, Channel 45 will be cleared for future local channels. Channel 8 in Scotland in Wales are currently home to BBC Alba and Channel 4, which as PSB channels can’t be moved from their position.
Viewers in Northern Ireland will also be able to pick up TG4, RTÉ 1 and RTÉ 2 on Channels 51, 52 and 53 from next Wednesday onwards.
Freeview viewers everywhere will also see reshuffle which will see popular comedy show repeat-a-tron Dave jumping to Freeview Channel 12. The full list of changes are as follows:
- Dave (from 19 to 12)
- Really (from 20 to 17)
- Yesterday (from 12 to 19)
- G.O.L.D. (from 17 to 20)
- Food Network (from 49 to 48)
- Jewellery Channel (from 60 to 49)
Next Wednesday will also see the arrival of Argos TV to Freeview Channel 55. Hopefully they’ve managed to bag Richard E Grant as a presenter.
September 13, 2012
Sky has appealed proposed changes to the Freeview programme on the grounds that it will push its Sky News channel further down in the listings.
It’s been proposed that Freeview’s current channel listings be broken up and grouped into new genre-based sections, with Entertainment channels (such as BBC Three, ITV2 and the like) taking the lead.
General Entertainment channels would run from channels 1 to 99 with HD channels and Childrens channels following. News channels would be bumped back to 131 in the programme guide, meaning that Sky News – currently on Freeview channel 82 – would be pushed way back.
Sky is against this on the grounds that ‘changes to the EPG that, for example, adversely affect a channel’s position, should only be considered where they can be clearly shown to be in the interests of viewers, can be objectively justified’.
A statement from DMOL says: ‘We can confirm that the moves of news and children’s channels on Freeview will be put on hold pending an appeal by Sky against the proposed relocation of Sky News. Other changes to the guide will proceed as planned on that date.’
This means that from the 19th of September, adult services and channels will be moved to 171 and 198 and broadband/IP based ‘on-demand’ services will be pushed to 400 and 499.
July 30, 2012
As well as announcing future channel positions for Local TV, DMOL has today revealed that from September 19, Freeview Channels 1 to 100 will be set aside for General Entertainment channels. In addition, 20 Channels from 101 to 120 will be set aside for HD services.
These new changes will come into effect at the same time as space is made for the Local TV channels.