All BBC SD Channels On Freesat And Sky Are Closing

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All of the BBC’s SD channels on Freesat and Sky will be shut down, following their upgrade to HD – the BBC has announced.

While the HD upgrade is good news for most viewers – those with older SD-only devices on the digital satellite platforms (Freesat and Sky), won’t be able to keep watching any of the BBC’s channels – unless they replace their set-top boxes.

Those listening to the radio via older SD satellite receivers, will lose access to the BBC’s radio stations as well.

The shutdown is going to be gradual, and will coincide with the roll-out of BBC One’s Regional HD News.

The final shut down will take place in March 2024 – but certain features – like the regional news on SD channels – will be gone much sooner (see the full timetable below).

The closure of the BBC’s SD channels on satellite will happen regionally and in two main phases – and will impact all SD-only satellite viewers in the UK.

According to the BBC, there aren’t a lot of SD-only satellite device users still out there – therefore, in its announcement, the BBC recommended to people to “consider treating yourself or one of your family members to a new set-top box or television for Christmas.”

However, for any of those impacted by the changes who need extra support, The BBC will be running a help scheme “to ensure no one gets left behind” in the migration to HD on satellite.

Full details of this scheme, along with the criteria for eligibility, will be provided once the switchover to HD on satellite starts in mid-January.

Watching Freesat living room 1200-600

Freesat was established in 2007 by the BBC and ITV. It offers more than 200 free-to-air TV channels and radio stations, all transmitted via digital satellite.

To watch Freesat, you need a dish outside your house and a Freesat receiver (see our recommended Freesat boxes here), which is why it sometimes works better in areas where Freeview reception is lacking.

Last year, a big shakeup was announced, when Freesat and Freeview came under the roof of a single company, Digital UK, which is owned jointly by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

Therefore, Freesat and Freeview are now developed and operated by the same company.

Recently, while Freeview has been losing HD channels due to limited frequencies, Freesat has been gaining more HD channels – including ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 HD in early November.

However, there has also been more bad news for Freesat users with older devices this year – when ITV Hub stopped working on older Humax Freesat boxes, with its replacement app – ITVX – also not working on those devices.

SD Channels Leaving Freesat And Sky

In mid-January 2023, the BBC is starting to finally roll-out the HD version of regional news on BBC One HD.

BBC News on TV screen 1200

Along with that, the BBC will start the process of removing the SD versions of all their channels from Freesat and Sky.

Do note that this change won’t affect Freeview – where the BBC’s SD channels will remain as before.

A more exact timetable for the SD channels removal will be published early next year, but for now, these are the planned changes:

Phase I

From mid-January 2023 to end March 2023

On a region-by-region basis, SD-only satellite viewers will start to lose their local programming on BBC One and BBC Two.

BBC Two logo

These users will be automatically switched to a pan-UK version of each of these channels, and will get special versions of BBC One and BBC Two that won’t feature any local or Nations programmes.

The primary impact of this change will be the removal of the regional news programmes during BBC Breakfast and at 1:30pm, 6:30pm and 10:30pm on BBC One on weekends, and similar programmes at weekends.

During these times, viewers with SD-only boxes will see an on-screen message that will advise them to replace their set-top box.

At this point, if you already have an HD-enabled satellite set-top box or satellite TV, then you will automatically get the correct version of BBC One for your region in HD at the top of the EPG (on channel number 101).

During Phase 1, SD versions of all the other BBC channels, along with the BBC’s radio services, will be maintained for all viewers.

By end of March 2023

All of the BBC’s satellite regions will have migrated over, so by this time any SD-only satellite users will have lost their regional version of BBC One and have been switched over to the special “non-regional” version of BBC One.

BBC One logo

HD versions of the rest of the BBC’s channel portfolio – including BBC Two Northern Ireland, BBC ALBA and BBC Parliament, will all be on-air on satellite by this date.

SD versions of all the BBC’s other channels, along with the radio services, will still be maintained for all viewers at this point in time.

April 2023 to March 2024

During this time, the BBC will be reminding any remaining SD satellite viewers of the forthcoming closure of their SD channels.

There will be periodic messaging on BBC One SD (on Freesat and Sky), advising viewers of the need to upgrade and where to get more information on the options available.

Phase II

By end of March 2024

By this time, the BBC anticipates that all SD users will have purchased or have already migrated to HD-enabled satellite viewing equipment.

Therefore, the BBC will be closing all SD channel feeds on satellite by the end of March 2024 – so anybody that hasn’t upgraded to satellite HD by this time will lose access to all BBC TV channels.

If you haven’t upgraded to HD-enabled satellite equipment by this time, you will also lose access to all BBC radio channels on Sky and Freesat.

How Do I Know If I’m Affected By The SD Shutdown?

Viewers who are not sure what type of set-top box or TV they have, can use the BBC’s checking tool, which is now live on Channel 799 on Freesat.

Man with tv remote

The message you see there will tell if you’re all set up for HD or if you need to replace your set-top box.

On Sky, the best way to check is to see whether you’re already getting BBC HD channels.

If you have an older Sky device, without HD support, then this change will impact you – and you will lose access to every BBC channel by March 2024.

According to the BBC, they are working closely with Sky on future plans.

In the coming months, the BBC will publish more details and more exact timings on the upcoming changes, on the BBC’s reception advise page, and on a special website that was set up with Freesat –

How Can I Continue To Watch The BBC?

If you are affected by these upcoming changes, you’ll need to find a solution before March 2024 – otherwise, you will lose access to the BBC’s channels on your TV.

If you’re on Freesat, you can buy one of the newer 4K Freesat boxes, that also have streaming apps like BBC iPlayer and All4. 

Freesat 4K TV Boxes

The boxes are currently discounted for Black Friday – but, generally, they’re not cheap – especially for vulnerable people who were still using older SD boxes.

Another option is to watch the BBC’s channels via BBC iPlayer – which streams content via broadband, and has all of the BBC’s on-demand content as well as live channels.

You can find the BBC iPlayer app on a long list of devices – from Smart TVs to cheap streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV sticks, Roku streaming devices and other similar options.

Fire TV 4K Max VS Roku Stick 4K VS Chromecast with Google TV hero
Streaming Devices

If you’re with Sky – and you want to remain with them – you’ll have to upgrade to one of their newer boxes that support HD – such as Sky Q, or the streaming-based devices, Sky Glass and Sky Stream.

As mentioned above, the BBC is planning to run a help scheme for the elderly and vulnerable who will be impacted by these changes.

Full details of this scheme, along with the criteria for eligibility, should become available in mid-January.

For more updates on these upcoming changes (and other TV and streaming news) – you can Subscribe to our free newsletter.

29 thoughts on “All BBC SD Channels On Freesat And Sky Are Closing”

  1. It’s unbelievable they get away with this. The BBC are constantly bombarding us with green issues and yet now making millions of people stick their perfectly good FreeSat boxes in the bin and forced to pay out on new ones. I have 2 in my house, can’t get BBC now and can’t use iplayer because in the highlands and the WiFi is terrible. So I’m going to have to spend hundreds on HD sat boxes (and possibly new TVs) when I was perfectly happy with SD. It’s a total joke. Smells a rat to me, they’re obviously in league with the tech companies.

  2. Has anyone got any ideas why I can’t pick up some of the new regional BBC One Hd channels including South West the region I’m in on channel 101. It comes up no signal. Yet I can pick some other regions for example I can get BBC One hd South on channel 961 with no problems. I have a Freesat Panasonic hd receiver DMR-XS350EBK. I’m thinking either it Could be either a software issue as I initially had trouble with ITV hd breaking up although that problem seems to have corrected itself or could it be the dish needs moving slightly? All other channels are ok.

  3. Well naffed off – we get HD channnels, but living in Dartmoor signal strength well dodgy and whilst never an issue watching SD, HD often breaks up an unwatchable.
    Thanks for nothing, BBC and ITV.
    And trying to watch streaming via Broadband, a catalogue of interrupted shows watching “buffering” circle – pah!

  4. I live in Exeter and view all my tv channels via freesat. I have a Panasonic he freesat hard drive recorder with built in Dvd player and recorder. Since the BBC switched off BBC one southwest on sd the new HD channel comes up no signal. However if I go down to regions for example I can receive BBC south HD with South Today. Not much use getting news for Southampton when I live in Exeter and want to watch spotlight news.

  5. I am completely confused by the apparent “love affair” people seem to have with HD. When I got my LG Smart 49″ TV I was really looking forward to being “immersed” in the HD experience. What a let-down! As an engineer, I am critical of detail and could see little or no difference in picture quality (through Freesat). Added to that the sound quality is extremely poor compared with SD and the volume is very weak – I bought a Denon soundbar to improve matters – not much better on HD but fantastic on SD! Lipsync at best is awful on HD and a recorded HD programme on my PVR takes up so much space on the hard drive I had to but a 1 TB external drive to archive recordings. I suppose I will get used to the delay in “pause” and “play” on HD but those are yet more irritating features that just shouldn’t happen with so-called modern technology. In engineering terms it is said “If it looks right, it probably is”. In my view, with regard to HDTV “If it doesn’t work right, it definitely isn’t!” It should have been shelved until someone had the sense to fix it.

  6. If you are in a marginal signal area, only SD works, HD breaks up when it rains or in high pressure. BBC needs to sort out its coverage before axing the only thing that works properly.

    • This is not true if you are using satellite. There is no “marginal signal area” as your dish is pointing to the satellite in the sky. You must be using an aerial. Or, your dish is not located or configured correctly.

      • I have a Panasonic and ITV1 HD (channel 103) breaks up as the other person has described. This pixelation problem is a known problem with the Panasonic. I turn to ITV’s SD channel on 111.
        If it is the local news I’m watching I have to turn to Freeview, as 111 does not show my regional version.

      • That’s rubbish. If there is a thunderstorm the satellite signal will be distorted just the same. It has to go through the rain whichever way it arrives and if it is raining the uplink can also be distorted. I have experienced that before with SD and HD video. Just another marketing ploy to keep the manufacturers in business.

    • If your tv is hd or uhd then there should be no issue.

      Do you get the existing bbc hd channels or even any had channels? If do you’ll just need to retune to pick up the bbc hd channels

      • We also have built in Freesat on our TV and a satellite dish, and when BBC One switched to HD last night, we couldn’t get anything on that channel. It just said ‘no signal’. It took some experimenting and poking around to think of retuning, as all they had said on BBC was ‘do nothing’. That was not true, at least not for us and I suspect, many others. It would have been helpful if that information had been given in advance on the BBC.

  7. I’m surprised that a move to convert at least one Multiplex to DVB-T2 hasn’t been mooted to free up capacity on Freeview for extra HD or SD services.
    It’s noteworthy that Germany has already pressed ahead with 1080p50 on Terrestrial. Freeview is starting to look dated.

  8. It’s long overdue that the BBC close the SD channels.
    HD boxes/TVs have been available for years. There’s not really much of an excuse. These people complaining that the elderly will get left behind need to stop complaining and start having the important conversations with those who have SD only boxes. Also sky will be responsible for upgrading. Yes Freesat boxes cost but there’s still plenty of time.
    Freeview will be next in line but a few more years yet.

    • You will be old one day what an ignorant thing to say not all elderly have spare money to throw about because their probably spending it on heating and food

  9. It has to be done at some point and it’s hard because there’s never a right time when older people are still using old equipment (which I understand as it’s what they are used to). However, I do feel with things such as Firesticks for example it’s so much better and easier, even for older people as they have the voice command too which is easy.

    I do get it and I do understand completely as my mum is the same with these things, however she also has adapted to a firestick and uses it well, loves it and gets a lot more out out of it too.

    It really is just a case of getting used to it and I know that people shouldn’t have to change if they don’t want to, however you’ll be surprised at how much better it is and easier to adapt to with more content once you do as well 😊

    Traditional TV is phasing out anyway however I do understand totally in regards to things, no doubt I’ll feel like that at some point too while things continue to evolve 😊

    My point is, the way it has evolved has thankfully been great with a process that’s beneficial and easy for all generations.

    Now when it comes to phones, that’s a whole different conversation, my mum won’t have one of them newer ones for sure but luckily there is still old Nokia type phones to buy which are easy 😊

    I hope this helps 😊

    • Traditional TV is not phasing out in parts of the country with terrible WiFi. It’s leaving people without options if they can’t spend hundreds of pounds/ don’t have the know-how. I think it’s outrageous.

  10. Here we go again. The BBC loves hitting the pensioners. New freesat box required and with the new box also requires a new sat receiver. Did I read somewhere that the BBC has part ownership of the makers of the freesat company.

    • Yes the BBC is part of Freesat and is the founder of Freeview both funded by the licence fee . No surprise to see this happening as the Government has continued to block a proper rise on the TV licence but it’s okay for Sky to rise there subscription . Government cut the funding for over 75 license and put it back to the BBC . Which is now having to start cuts .

      • Robert. The charter to the BBC in 2015 ensured the BBC kept free licences to over 75. Its the BBC that has in fact broken this charter and started charging for the licence. The BBC in my mind are at present not fit for purpose with its high paid salaries and very poor programs. Its a shame really that what was a fantastic corporation has lost its way.
        In reply to sky then agree but why should a sky subscriber have to pay for a subscription and licence.
        Easy way forward make the BBC subscription and stand on their own feet. They might then cut these huge salaries they pay and start producing the quality programs they used to.

  11. This is good news, and frees up capacity for further HD channels or indeed channel swaps like this to be made, and this is certainly the direction I think broadcasters will go rather than having to maintain both. Granted those using ‘SD’ equipment will have to change their kit, however, it is a small outlay to get an enhanced viewing experience and future-proof yourself. I hope Channel 4 will follow in the same way, no brainer really.

    • Absolutely. This will free up capacity. It’s annoying that we can’t have our own Welsh channel in HD on Freeview due to lack of space in Wales. I’m happy to see the end of the +1 channels also as more aware closing on Freeview. Freeview will be next in line for SD shutdown.

      • Oh dear Michael … are you so preoccupied by the annoyance that you haven’t even noticed that since January this year your ‘own Welsh channel’ has actually been available in HD on Freeview in Wales ?? You might want to check out Freeview channel 104 after 7pm …


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