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How to watch the London 2012 Paralympics: extra channels and HD

Olympic sporting action switches from the BBC to Channel 4 for the London 2012 Paralympics, which opens tonight and runs for the next 12 days.

The Olympics was the biggest-ever event in the history of TV sports, with the BBC broadcasting 48 special channels, plus 3D on the BBC with extra paid coverage on Sky and Virgin, and free Super Hi-Vision Screenings around the UK.

The London 2012 Paralympics is the biggest event in Channel 4’s history, and almost 500 hours of live coverage will be broadcast in less than a fortnight.

Paralympic Team GB

Three special HD channels

Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media are each carrying three additional C4 Paralympics Extra channels (in high definition if you have Freesat HD, Sky HD or a Virgin V HD or TiVo box).

There’s also a single extra channel on Freeview HD, but standard Freeview TVs and receivers will not get the extra channel.

Here’s how to find them:


  • Press the Red Button on C4 or C4 HD
  • Go to Freesat guide channels 150, 151 and 152

Freeview HD (not on standard Freeview)

  • Press the Red Button on C4 HD (channel 52)


  • Press the Red Button on C4 or C4 HD
  • Go to Sky Guide channels 450, 451 and 452

Virgin Media

  • Press the Red Button on C4 or C4 HD
  • Go to Virgin Media channels 550, 551 and 552 in HD
  • Go to Virgin Media channels 553, 554 and 555 in standard definition

LEXI: Paralympics declassified

Paralympic athletes competing against each other are classified by the level of their disability, and Channel 4 will use the LEXI graphic system to explain how it works.
Channel 4 will display an onscreen LEXI Decoder for eight of the 20 Paralympic sports: swimming, athletics, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, seven-a-side football, cycling and table tennis.

The LEXI Decoder displays both a colour code and a body image. The colours are green for no impairment, yellow for mild, orange for moderate and red for severe. These are overlaid onto the body image where appropriate, and other disabilities are also indicated visually: missing limbs are removed and dwarfism is shown by a smaller figure.

LEXI Oscar Pistorius