CNN Is Leaving Freesat And Virgin Media: Here’s Why

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CNN International, the premium news network owned by Warner Media, will be removed from Freesat, Virgin Media and BT TV on September 1. 

This will leave Sky as the only pay-TV provider in the UK that will continue to carry CNN.

The move, announced this week, marks CNN’s new focus on subscription-based distribution, with their new CNN Live streaming service that was announced earlier this year (see ahead for details on how to get it).

CNN was founded back in 1980 by Ted Turner, as a 24/7 news network. Various international editions are available worldwide, often as part of premium pay-TV packages.

CNN on phone
(Photo: Deposit Photos / Fellowneko)

In the UK, CNN was available for free, on Freesat Channel 207 (watching Freesat requires a satellite dish, and a Freesat receiver/recorder).

CNN was not available on Freeview, but was also available on Virgin Media’s TV service, on Sky, and on BT’s old TV service (but not as part of their newer NOW collaboration). 

CNN were able to confirm to us that on September 1, 2021, CNN will be removed from all platforms other than Sky and CNN’s own streaming solution:

“As of 1 September, CNN International will be available to UK viewers via a livestream at as well as on Sky TV”.

Where Can I Watch CNN In The UK?

After September 1, if you still want to watch CNN without a Sky TV subscription, you will need to use CNN’s new streaming service.

Note that even on Sky, CNN is available on Sky Q and older boxes, but is currently NOT available on Sky Glass, the new streaming TV from Sky.

CNN Live was introduced in the UK in June, with a live stream of CNN’s broadcast. It’s an ad-free subscription-based service, costing £1.99/month or £19.90/year

CNN Live

Unfortunately, the only direct way to watch CNN Live at the moment is via a browser, either on your desktop/laptop or on a mobile phone.

There are no apps for any of the major streaming devices (such as Amazon Fire TV or Roku), but it’s available on some Samsung Smart TVs as part of their Samsung TV Plus service (which is also available on Samsung’s mobile phones).

Samsung TV Plus live CNN
CNN On Samsung TV Plus

This means that most CNN fans won’t be able to continue to watch it on their big-screen tellies, even if they subscribe to CNN Live.

With CNN’s new focus on direct-to-consumer streaming, the lack of proper apps is a disappointment – but these will likely be added in the future.

Also note that CNN Live is different from CNN+, a ‘complementary’ streaming service that was announced in July.

CNN+ will run alongside the ‘regular’ CNN, with additional content and programmes – but will only be available in the US, at least at launch.

70 thoughts on “CNN Is Leaving Freesat And Virgin Media: Here’s Why”

  1. I have continued watching CNN in HD without interruption to the present day. I hadn’t noticed anything had changed. It appears only to have been removed from the normal EPG. It is still FTA (unencrypted) on Astra 28.2 deg East. I watch it on an LG FreeSat TV (manually tuned), a Manhattan FreeSat box (manually tuned) and satellite PCI card in my PC, also manually tuned.
    CNN on 11671H,22000, 5/6
    CNN HD on 11671H, 23000, 2/3

  2. I have a FOXSAT-HDR. Haven’t used it for about two years so decided to see if i could get CNN on non-freesat mode. After it booted up, CNN must have been the last channel i watched on it because it still shows up on channel 207. Why is this?

    • Either the box hasn’t yet realised that CNN is no longer part of Freesat, or it’s just remembering the channel number, frequency etc. from last time you used it and doesn’t yet care that CNN isn’t part of Freesat.

      It’ll either stop receiving CNN after some time (probably under a day), and/or you’ll find you can’t go back to CNN if you change to another channel.

          • There is no consistent channel numbering in non-Freesat mode. I get CNN on 5118 on an old Humax box and some other number entirely on my Panasonic TV (I added it as a favourite so now it’s Favourites 1, and I can’t see the random channel number the TV originally assigned).

            Anyone who wants CNN just make your box or TV search for all non- encrypted non-Freesat channels and for now, at least, CNN and CNN HD will be somewhere but you need to look through the mass of channels to find the channel numbers your device assigns to them.

            How long until CNN encrypts, though?

            Sadly CNN International has already stopped showing John King’s Inside Politics, so no way I’ll be paying them for programmes I don’t want!

            Today’s blunder of sending Wolf to Edinburgh instead of Glasgow is yet another example of CNN management Incompetence.

  3. I signed up for the £1.99 subscription service, called CNN Live UK, but it’s hopeless. You get only bits and pieces of the political and general news content, and the presenters one expects, and loads of filler about Africa and sport. I no longer feel the connection I had with CNN, as a result. I don’t know why CNN still bothers with the free streaming they’ve had for the last few years, as now it closes down within seconds or a couple of minutes. NOT recommended to sign up with the £1.99 option.

    • This was exactly my experience. On the day that CNN disappeared from Virgin Media, I paid the £20 subscription for 12 months, only to find that you get almost nothing live – just a mix of bits and pieces of CNN, including old news. It is absolutely shocking that the new owners could kick their UK audience like this – and without any explanation or apology.

      • 100% in agreement. The coverage offered under this scheme is a complete joke. It reminds me of the very early days of the channel when most of the transmission was filler overlaid with irritating library music. As for the “Africa this…. Africa that…) deluge, I wonder who is paying for it?
        Maybe if Trump gets re-elected again we will see a return to the CNN status MAGA.

  4. My Virgin package has just increased, and found to my dismay no more CNN! On this forum I find out why. What a pity and, right said, shame I’m Virgin not to include it anymore. France 24 also seems to have gone; Euronews is not that good, sadly…
    Will I have to subscribe and watch in laptop? I shall miss Erin and Anderson, for sure. CNN kept me sane throughout the deadly serious farce of the pre, and post Trump era, as well as the actual era.
    What are you thinking CNN? You are losing a foothold in Europe!!

    • Totally agree, I was an avid fan of CNN it was how I got to see and hear more news about US than I could ever get from UK news programs. I wont be signing up to a subscription service especially as its only available on a laptop. I am still able to see France 24 which is a pretty good international news program actually so hope that doesn’t come off Freesat as well. What a shame!

    • Totally with you. I feel robbed of objective insight in what is going on with democracy in America and .. Worldwide. Luckily there are the MSNBC podcasts with Rachel Maddow. But please CNN come back to UK. Wondered if Virgin’s leadership is pro Trump and right wing as we don’t have CNN anymore on TV to counter balance rubbish newschannel as SkyNews, BBC, even ITV and now GB news which are all manipulative of exprets at keeping people dumb

  5. This is a huge loss, we’ve been watching CNN only since 2016 and the news coverage is great… better than BBC I’m sorry to say. This is really so sad for many of us in the UK, and to be honest, I’ll probably seek an alternative to Virgin as it’s just becoming so expensive for so little on offer.

    • I could not agree more with everything you say here. I have been devastated to see CNN removed from my virgin media subscription. Virgin has become a growing frustration and their customer service has nose dived for us. This is the latest body blow and I do not want to try and get my news from sky or bbc as I feel that even for the UK news, they do not compare to CNN.

  6. My guess is that the problem lies with Freesat and its financial arrangements with the broadcasters.

    CNN HD, Channel 4 HD and the various music channels are currently alive and well as Free To Air (FTA). My Humax Freesat box has a non-Freesat mode which gives access to the FTA channels. CNN HD is at channel 5325.

    FTA mode is very basic with no program guide or menus but for me it’s only a few button presses away from Freesat and has the HD versions of Channel 4 and CNN which were never (?) on Freesat.

  7. CNN is still a free to air satellite channel. Just replace you Freesat receiver with something that isn’t tied to the money grabbing Freesat company.
    I use a Zgemma H7S I bought from World of Satellite.

    • Hi. I’ve managed to get CNN using non freesat mode. I went into transponder and used 11082H and 22000. It’s on Channel. 5102 if that helps.

  8. I am sorry to see that you are leaving Freesat as I think your news reports are second to none. Your coverage of Trumps insurrection was just great and I tuned in everyday. Please come back.

  9. What have you done CNN! Removing the service was wrong and this decisión needs to be reversed.Is this Just another example of corporate greed.

  10. I will miss Presidential Election night coverage together with John KIng and his election wall the most. I won’t miss the interminable (non) adverts. Goodbye CNN!

  11. I am gutted and FURIOUS that we have lost CNN from our screens for this new subscription model, it gave me a real insight into global politics. Shame on you CNN for money-grabbing!

  12. CNN has been the main (for many the only) tv news source for Americans abroad regarding what’s happening in the USA, and its international/global reach was its brand. Doesn’t seem a smart move to prioritise money over journalism.

  13. I am so disappointed at Virgin media for not being able to secure CNN for their customers, even for those of us on premium parckage . I will definitely be switching back to Sky once my contract expires.

  14. I watched CNN from 04:30 to 10.00 this morning,(1st September 2021),then at 13.00 – nothing -.I had no idea CNN was being removed.There is now a huge part of my life gone.At least 10 hours a day I watched CNN.In fact it was the only news channel I have been watching since AJ was also removed.Almost impossible to get decent real news in the UK now.The option to pay for a Sky subscription on top of the £160,we are forced by Law, to pay the rubbish the BBC,(which I have not watched in 30 years), would be beyond my financial means.I have no idea what I will do in the mornings now.

    • Kenni. CNN is still free to air if you have a Sky box. You do not need a subscription. IT is £20 a year to pay for the direct CNN subscription or £1.99 a month. I am thinking about it. Here is the link to it:
      It is a shame they have withdrawn from so many platforms and may end up shooting themselves in the foot.
      Sometimes there are free hidden streams online, but they disappear after a while, as not strictly kosher.

    • Yes. At time of writing both CNN and CNN HD are still on the same satellites (for Sky) at 28.2°E.

      CNN: DVB-S 11082 H 22000 5/6 QPSK. SID:C48C (50316)

      CNN HD: DVB-S2 11670 H 23000 2/3 8PSK. SID: C472 (50290)

    • Thanks Robert. I’ve retuned and got it on Channel 5102. Really pleased. Also managed to get a music channel on retuning as a bonus. Thanks again.

  15. UK news is so parochial, CNN was us biased but interesting. For truly international news I’ve tuned to RT or Al-Jazeera. Will occasionally miss CNN but this shows they’re not interested in news, just money. Shame.

  16. CNN was the reason I got Freesat over Freeview. Really sorry it’s gone. As with others I watched it through the 4 years of debacle that was the Trump administration. I have friends in America and it was great to keep up with their news too. Really enjoyed New Day. Sorry to see it go. Maybe it will return some day.

  17. Totally Gutted…CNN is like family to me. I do not watch programs via computer so the subscription is useless to me. Probably going to move from Virgin to Sky now. Calling my web/computer fellow to see if I can somehow connect my computer to the TV, or, purchase a very large monitor screen (TV size), or some solution because I can’t be without CNN. Sky is looking to be the answer.

  18. I’ve paid the CNN livestream subscription and get it on my pc but the phone keeps sending me to the subscription sign up. Any advice please.

  19. Very disappointing – if Sky can stream what cost for Virgin Media 25/50p? a
    month each subscriber – come on Virgin you charge me enough.

  20. I will miss CNN it’s been my go to network throughout tRump. I won’t be purchasing the live-streamed though, it’s already expensive enough for the channels we have through Virgin. That rises in price every other month. It might be gone from my house soon too if it keeps hiking prices. 😡

  21. I’ve found it impossible to watch our UK news channels since the Brexit/Johnson disasters and switched to CNN for our news, I particularly enjoy the truth-telling direct delivery which we only get on Channel 4 news. I’m really going to miss CNN through my VirginMedia tv package, there was some great news coverage this past 18months+ whilst we ride the Coronavirus wave. A real pity.

  22. Will CNN still be available to watch directly from the Astra satellite in “non-freesat” mode ?
    Or will the satellite stream be removed completely ?

  23. Really sad that we will not be able to watch CNN any more on Virgin from 31st August it was always a breath of fresh air and it was good to know what was happening really in America. It seemed a reliable source. Again it’s all down to money.

  24. Incredibly disappointed at the loss of CNN news from our TV network after 31/08/21.
    It is without a doubt the best news coverage that we have enjoyed over recent times.
    I sincerely hope we will be able to subscribe and reconnect to CNN in the very near future.

  25. I’ve been addicted to CNN through the Trump era – watching a weird orange cult leader try to dismantle democracy had a morbid fascination all of its own. But I’ve never understood why CNN didn’t have just a few more paid commercials and far, far fewer of those little features that they repeat endlessly, and minute long promos telling me I’m watching CNN – which I already knew. It’s unsurprising they need to go to a subscription model to make it pay.

    • totally agree with everything said. I too will miss CNN as I watch it every day and will miss CUOMO, LEMON, COOPER, BLITZER, BRUNHUBER, TAPPER BRIANNA (fav.)ANDERSON,AMANPOUR and ERIN BURNETT, COLLINS AND ALL THE REST OF THE TEAMS.
      So Goodbye CNN. To all Staff Have a great life and all the best for the future.

      • Could not agree more. Don’t forget the fearless trio Nick, Sam & Clarrissa and my hearthrob Jim Acosta and the ‘wee’ Irishman Donie O Sullivan [call to us in Castlemaine for mug of tea]. Starting the posters; we can’t give up the fight of getting CNN back onto Irish TV for the truth Liz Murphy

  26. The rate that virgin our removing our channels makes me think if its worth being with them over 16 years any longer Virgin already don’t give you sky news HD only a blurred poor quality screen. Even cricket has been full of pixelated break ups of picture cricket this week, and I’m paying good money to watch the test match this year for the first time. Cnn is staple for amateur meteorologists like because their coverage of storms and events is unrivalled. But I won’t sign up unless it’s an app, like amazon prime or Netflix. I don’t watch news on my computer chair. I always campaigned for years about media and gaming discs being put On DRM. CUSTOMERS NOW have no choice on what they actually want. NOT what they think we want. We already pay a huge fee for a TV licence and still have to pay huge amounts for programs that should be free in your TV package. License is completely unworkable as media pull of free stations and make you pay for them

  27. CNN was breath of fresh air after the abomination of the Trump outlet Fox and other overtly Republican channels. However for most occasional U.K. viewers simply not worth an additional subscription. Great shame.


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