BBC Freeview Changes: BBC News HD Is Shutting Down

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The HD version of the BBC News channel on Freeview (currently on Channel 107) is going away from the end of June 2022, following a transmission change that will also affect BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD.

The BBC News SD channel will remain available on Freeview, but viewers who want the HD version will have to find other means to watch the channel, such as on BBC iPlayer (see below for all your options).

There’s also some good news – the HD versions of BBC Four and CBeebies will become available to wider audiences around the country, due to improved transmission coverage (though the linear versions of these same channels are set to shut down in a few years).

All these changes will require a retune (either automatic or manual) of your Freeview box near the end of the month.

Family watching Freeview Play 1200
Photo: Freeview

The changes, that were announced by the BBC this week, are due to the closure of a Freeview Multiplex (COM7) that is set to happen on June 30.

Many other Freeview channels are also expected to move, change or even shut down completely by the end of June due to the COM7 closure, with exact details set to be announced later this month.

Freeview, which started its life back in 2002, is the United Kingdom’s terrestrial television platform. It provides free-to-air TV channels and radio stations (via a Freeview aerial – see the ones we recommend), including more than 80 standard and HD channels.

See our full Freeview guide here.

COM7 Shutting Down: What Does It Mean For Freeview?

In the old days, each TV channel was broadcast on a single frequency. Thanks to digital TV, several channels can be grouped into a single frequency, and that group is then known as a multiplex.

Several multiplexes (groups of channels) are then broadcast from the transmitter to your home – and your TV / Freeview box knows how to separate the individual channels that are grouped under the same frequency.

Manhattan T3-R
Manhattan T3-R Freeview Recorder

At the end of June, a multiplex known as COM7 will close, since EE bought the rights the use its frequency for 5G mobile signals (the frequency was auctioned off by Ofcom last year).

Since several channels – especially HD channels – currently use the COM7 Multiplex – those channels will have to either find room on one of the other multiplexes or shut down.

Some of the Freeview channels that will have to make changes are Forces TV, Quest HD, FreeSport, QVC HD and others – including three BBC channels.

Freeview Losing BBC News HD 

The BBC has three channels that are currently carried on COM7: BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and BBC News HD. 

BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD are set to move to the PSB3 multiplex, which the BBC operates.

And since COM7 always had spotty coverage, the move means more people will be able to watch these channels on Freeview – even some of those that couldn’t receive them before due to bad reception.

However, since there was no room left for BBC News HD (Channel 107) – the BBC decided that BBC News on Freeview will be available only in SD (Standard Definition).

  • BBC News SD is currently on Freeview Channel 231

It’s still unclear how this will affect the channel numbering on the EPG, and what will happen to Channel 107 – more details will be announced by Freeview later this month, with what is expected to be a long list of changes.

And another change regarding BBC News was recently announced: BBC News and BBC World News are coming together, combining the local BBC News and International News teams.

The single 24/7 BBC News channel will have unified teams behind it, offering greater amounts of shared content, but maintaining the ability to offer separate broadcasts depending on what’s happening at home and abroad.

Where Can I Continue To Watch BBC News HD?

It’s important to note that BBC News itself is not shutting down, and even the HD version will remain available on some of the other platforms – just not on Freeview (or Youview, which relies on the same Freeview transmissions).

BBC News on a phone 700

Viewers with a streaming device – such as a streaming stick like the Amazon Fire TV, a Smart TV or a Freeview Play box – will be able to watch BBC News HD on BBC iPlayer. 

BBC iPlayer is also available directly on computer browsers, and as an Android/iOS app.

Other ways to watch BBC News HD after June 30 include:

  • BBC News HD on Freesat Channel 200
  • BBC News HD on Sky Channel 503
  • BBC News HD on Virgin Media Channel 601

Devices that use broadband to stream Freeview channels – such as Sky Glass and the Stream box from Virgin Media – will also continue to carry BBC News HD as usual.

Retune Your Freeview Device

Once these changes take place, you may need to retune your Freeview device, or else the channel numbers and names won’t be correct.

Some devices – but not all – do this retune automatically. The exact date when all these changes are set to take place will be announced later this month.

You can find more information on how to retune your device, on Freeview’s retuning help section.

Many more Freeview changes will be announced later this month – so make sure you Subscribe to our free newsletter.

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