The final wave of regions across the country is finally getting the long-awaited BBC One HD upgrade on Freeview next week, when local news in High Definition will become available in seven more regions.
Back in March, the BBC’s regional HD news were turned on in six Freeview regions – but the rest had to wait until April, for a date that remained subject to change.
But the BBC confirmed to us that the date is now final, and on April 26, 2023, the last seven regions will be added, including North East & Cumbria, East (incl. Cambridge) and more (see the full list of regions below).
This means that after more than 12 years, and many delays, those red screens that tell you to switch to the SD channel for your regional news on BBC One HD – will finally be going away across the whole country on Freeview and Youview.
As for the need to retune your Freeview box – if BBC One HD is already available for you on Channel 101, then these changes should be automatic on the day – but, on some devices, a manual retune may be needed.
BBC HD News On Freeview
BBC One HD launched as a separate channel back in 2010. A few years later, regional programming (which mainly consists of regional news broadcasts) also became available in HD – but only in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
The promise of regional HD news for viewers in England has been around for years – but BBC One HD viewers were still stuck with the red warning screen that prompted them to switch to BBC One (SD) to watch their regional news.
So, before the roll-out, Freeview viewers had to wait for their regional programmes (such as the evening news) to finish on the SD channels, before the regular broadcast returned to BBC One HD.
On March 22, 2023, the regional versions of BBC One HD for Freeview and Youview rolled out to the first wave of regions: East Midlands, West Midlands, East Yorks & Lincs, London, Channel Islands and Yorkshire.
On April 26, seven more regions will finally start getting their regional news in HD:
- North East & Cumbria – Look North (North East & Cumbria)
- North West North West – Tonight
- West Points – West
- South West – Spotlight
- South (incl. Oxford) – South Today
- East (incl. Cambridge) – Look East
- South East – South East Today
At that point, viewers will find the correct version of BBC One HD for their region on Freeview Channel 101 (the SD version will still be available on Freeview Channel 1).
BBC One HD Changing Numbers
Later this year, the BBC is planning to move BBC One HD from Freeview Channel 101 to Freeview Channel 1, so it will be at the top of the EPG list – with more BBC HD channels moving to more prominent channel numbers in the future.
However, this change will only be supported on newer, internet-connected Freeview devices from 2020 onwards, that support Freeview Play’s Channel List Management technology.
This means that, for the time being, there are very few Freeview Play boxes and TVs that will support this – even the popular Manhattan T3-R Freeview box doesn’t support CLM (but the upcoming Manhattan T4-R will support it).
Regional BBC HD News On Other Platforms
The switch from SD to HD local news on Freesat and Sky has already been completed, with all of the BBC’s SD channels set to be shut down next year.
In light of that, Sky has been offering free Sky Q upgrades to customers with older, SD-only boxes. On Freesat, a help scheme for vulnerable customers with older SD boxes is supposed to launch at some point – but has been delayed so far.
And, on BBC iPlayer, all BBC One HD English regions are now available, along with BBC ALBA and BBC Parliament in HD.
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