Freesat’s Major Shake-Up: 9 Channels Disappear Overnight

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In a surprising shake-up that left Freesat subscribers reeling, the platform abruptly lost nine channels this week, including popular names like Great! Movies, Great! TV and children’s channel POP.

The Great! channels were previously known as the “Sony Movie Channels”, until they were bought and given new names in 2021. 

With their removal, Freesat viewers are left with a very small selection of dedicated movie channels (see the full list of closures below).

For now, the Great! channels are still available on the other TV platforms – including Freeview.

Great movies logo

This change not only disrupts the viewing schedules of many but also signals a potentially transformative period for Freesat, challenging its place in the competitive landscape of UK digital broadcasting.

Amidst this change, the introduction of Freely, a new broadband-based service that will launch in a few months, looms on the horizon, promising to redefine the future of television with a blend of traditional and streaming content. 

Watching Freesat living room 1200-600

Freesat has been around since 2008, aiming to ensure that the UK’s transition from analogue to digital television did not leave viewers without free access to TV content.

Unlike Freeview, which requires only an aerial, Freesat broadcasts via satellite, making it an ideal solution for areas with poor terrestrial signal quality – but viewers need a satellite dish, and a Freesat receiver box.

In 2021, Freeview and Freesat merged to become one company (now known as Everyone TV), a move intended to consolidate their resources and development.

Over the years, channels have come and gone from Freesat (as they do on Freeview), with one notable mention being the removal of Channel 4 HD and the Channel 4 app from Freesat. Eventually, both have returned.

Freesat 4K boxes living room
Freesat 4K Boxes

Now, the sudden disappearance of nine channels from the Freesat lineup raises questions about the platform’s ability to maintain its competitive edge – and may be a sign of things to come, with the upcoming launch of the broadband-based Freely service (see more on that below).

Saying Goodbye To 9 Channels

This week, Freesat viewers suddenly noticed that nine channels have disappeared from Freesat’s platform – without any previous announcements or warnings.

The channels all belong to Narrative Entertainment, the company that bought the ‘Sony Movies’ channels, from Sony, back in 2021 – “Sony Movies”, “Sony Movies Classic”, “Sony Movies Action”, “Sony Channel” and the “Pop” kids TV platform.

According to Narrative, in 2023, Great! Movies was the UK’s biggest independent movie network, reaching 5.5 million Adults 16+ per month.

However, this week’s Freesat removal was so sudden – that the official website for these channels still lists the Freesat channel numbers – which, as of this writing, no longer exist.

Angry woman tv broken no signal

The channels removed from Freesat are:

Great! TV: A destination for fans of classic television series and films, offering a mix of timeless classics and nostalgic favourites.

Great! Action: Catering to action enthusiasts, this channel showcased a variety of high-octane movies and series.

Great! Movies: A channel dedicated to movie lovers, featuring a wide range of films from blockbuster hits to critically acclaimed masterpieces.

Great! Romance: Focused on love and emotion, Great! Romance offered a selection of romantic movies and dramas.

Great! TV+1/Great! Romance+1: Time-shifted versions of their namesakes, allowing viewers an additional chance to catch their favourite shows.

POP: A staple in children’s entertainment, POP provided a vibrant mix of animated and live-action series suitable for a younger audience.

Tiny POP: Aimed at preschoolers, this channel offered educational and entertaining content designed to captivate and engage young minds.

POP Max: Targeting older children and young teens, POP Max featured a blend of action and adventure series, both animated and live-action.

Tiny POP was the only channel pre-announced to shut down, on March 20, across all platforms – including Freeview, shifting to a streaming-only model.

POP Player on freeview play
The POP Player

However, Tiny Pop was removed from Freesat long before the deadline – and the additional eight channels’ sudden disappearance from Freesat was unexpected and has left viewers searching for answers.

It’s worth noting that all these channels are still available on other platforms, including Freeview – and there’s no indication, at least at this point in time, that they will be removed from other platforms.

Freesat Viewers Are Not Happy

With the Great! channels removed from Freesat, the selection of free movie channels on Freesat looks pretty barren at this point.

As expected, some angry viewers took to social media to complain about the sudden removal.

As of this writing, there has been no official comment from either Narrative Entertainment or Freesat.

On social media, Freesat’s advice account only said that the channels “have been removed by request of Great TV”.

We reached out to Freesat, and will update this article if they choose to comment further.

Freesat’s Future and the Rise of Freely

As Freesat grapples with the recent loss of nine channels, the upcoming launch of Freely, a broadband-based service set to reshape the Freeview and Freesat landscape, offers a glimpse into the future of television broadcasting in the UK.

Freely on a TV

Spearheaded by Everyone TV (the same company behind Freesat and Freeview), Freely aims to merge traditional broadcasting with modern streaming capabilities, providing viewers with a more comprehensive range of viewing options.

This innovative platform will support both over-the-air channels and IP-delivered content, ensuring backwards and forward compatibility with existing services while introducing a new unitary EPG system.

Freely represents a significant shift towards a hybrid viewing experience, blending aerial and satellite signals with broadband to offer an enriched array of channels and on-demand services.

Freely UI EPG
Freely’s EPG

Initially only available on next-gen Smart TVs, with plans for set-top box support to follow, Freely signals a transitional period for Freesat as it adapts to evolving viewer preferences and the increasing shift towards digital streaming platforms. 

As Everyone TV keeps emphasizing, Freesat and Freeview are not going anywhere – at least not in the next few years – and will “live” alongside Freely.

However, it remains to be seen whether Freesat will remain an enticing option, with its channel list possibly dwindling.

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58 thoughts on “Freesat’s Major Shake-Up: 9 Channels Disappear Overnight”

      • The Great* channels are currently still there, and all +1’s, still free to view, just looked – you just need to be able to put your box into ‘non-Freesat’ STB mode, or use a cheap box that doesn’t support Freesat.
        Only thing missing there is the Freesat 7 day epg, it’s just ‘now and next’. So I guess Great/Sony just pulled out of Freesat, whatever the reason.
        Sorely missed…

  1. i am literally in the process of dumping Sky and moving to Freesat which would save me a fortune per month. A big reason for changing was to watch Great TV programmes and we are Murder She Wrote fans. Now I’,m having to rethink, although if i get a Freesat box and manually tune them in then that may be the best option.

  2. Not the end of the world. On most Freesat receivers, the lost channels can be tuned in manually plus a few others that are not part of the Freesat package.

  3. According to the report the nine channels have been removed:-

    GREAT! tv
    GREAT! tv+1
    GREAT! action
    GREAT! movies
    GREAT! romance
    GREAT! romance+1
    Tiny POP
    POP Max

    At least on 16th February all of these are still on Freesat, on the same channel numbers. Did they disappear and came back the next day?

  4. Very annoying, but if you have access to watch tv online you can still get the channels for free through ‘Great! Player’. Looks like you can just watch as normal through your browser – will try this myself when there’s a good movie scheduled. Doesn’t help if you don’t have broadband though.

  5. My father watched great tv but where he lives the broadband is non existent, unless he pays for online and living on his pension, he can’t afford to do it, so what happens when free view goes online, ??? What happens to their sanity ???

      • Hi Richard, not very tech savvy, how do I tune in manually? Do I just go to MY ENU then scroll down until I find the Great TV channel I want? Thanks Alva

        • It will be different on each TV or set top box. So you’ll need to search the menus until to find where to add channels manually. Then you’ll need to know the details of the required transponder. For the 9 lost channels, the following tuning details will be required.
          Frequency: 11306
          Polarisation: V
          Symbol rate: 27500
          FEC: 5/6
          This should restore the 9 missing channels but you will only have ‘now and next’ in a programme guide.
          With other tuning data you would also be able to tune in channels not on the Freesat EPG such as W+1 and Drama+1.
          Which TV or set top box do you have, as I might be able to guide you more specifically.

  6. Hi

    Anyone that has lost the GreatTV channels (try this if you have a TV with a built-in Freesat tuner as it might work to enable you to view the Great Tv channels.

    I have a Samsung tv with built-in Freesat & I went in to the tuning menu & instead of selecting Freesat option I selected Satellite option & did a retune & then using the favourite channels menu which most TV’s have you can put the channels in to your own order including the Great TV channels. The only down side to using Satellite mode is it does not have 7 day TV Guide only now & next but at least it will get the Great tv channels back.

    Hope this help anyone in this situation.

  7. I’ve been watching Freesat for around 20 years and seen channels come and go! But now they don’t have any movie channels at all. This is mentioned when you buy the boxes that they will get rid of channels when they want to.
    We recently upgraded to a Freesat 4K box and now they have removed the movie channels it’s totally wrong. There’s nothing to watch much anymore because it’s always repeats. Film 4 goes off air or goes to teleshopping at nighttime as well. Absolutely rubbish

  8. Hi you knew this is coming
    Soon you will not be able to watch any Free channels except BBC itv Ch4 Ch5
    It’s pay money money
    Now you need pay for everything

    I have watched freesat for 15 20 years theirs nothing worth watching Now
    Look at Sky I had 3 price increases in 13 month’s on a 18 month contract
    Look at Netflix Disney Amazon paid premium to watch add Free
    Now you pay more to watch ads ads

  9. Right every new broadband service. If you get broadband where you live, we only have Mobile broadband no telephone lines so eventually will have no tellyif you have a rely on the Internet people to think of this.

  10. Think this is disgusting. The end of freesat us obviously coming. First we lost almost all the music channels now the movie channels itv HD as not been watchable for years as my TV as a ST 1 tuner BBC HD channels all break up now too.

  11. I’ve just noticed tonight that I no longer receive Great Movies, etc. Tried retuning but of course it didnt work so went in search for an explanation.
    What a despicable thing to do. I hope when Freely starts up noone uses it

  12. Apalling. Freesat is the only reliable source as we are in an area where terrestrial signals are poor. To remove channels abruptly is totally wrong. The “powers that be” think we all are bathed in super fast broadband where watching streamed Tv is just a doddle. The truth is majority of us have just the bog standard speed even here in Surrey. The bottom line is if you want it you will have to pay for it. You think that Freely will always be “FREE”. NO CHANCE because, bottom line, all they want is your money. Shame on you. Being a pensioner I have no cash in reserve to keep updating my TV.

  13. how strange! these channels are still available on SKY and VIRGIN? but then again you do have to PAY? for these “FREE CHANNELS”. But why have they been left on FREEVIEW… something stinks here.
    We are being forced into PAY, PAY, PAY… It will soon be, If you haven’t got Broadband you want have TV. Totally disgusting

    • It is disgusting I changed to freesat years ago because I couldn’t afford the tv packages of virgin, sky … and it looks very much like I’m going to have to pay again to watch tv

  14. I will really miss the “Great” programmes, many of which I recorded on my Freesat box. Now I will be unable to watch my favourite recordings as I will have to disconnect my box to return to FreeView and without the facility to record. I am 87 years young but not technologically savvy. SHAME on you whoever decided to pull the plug!!

  15. It is disgusting, and totally unacceptable to remove nine channels without any advance warning of any kind. And personally I do not believe that the future of Freeview and Freesat is safe. Freeview and Freesat are behind Freely, so it is obvious that they will ‘force’ people to switch to the new service by gradually phasing out the channels that people like. I do not believe that ‘Freely’ will be free. You can bet your life that there will be a payment element somewhere, such as for ‘Premium’ access. These days everyone wants your money and wants, usually about £9.99 a month, for full access. Even the Daily Mail site is now blocking access to all of its articles unless you take out a subscription.

    • Cutting channels without warning is despicable, cutting freesat and free view seems like the end is near and looking to update my freesat box now I won’t waste my benefits money but answers are needed are freesat and freeview going to be removed or in my case is it worth getting a new freesat box with my old one not being perfect. Going to watch the Great movie in a few hours I was lost with my planned viewing now in tatters and to say I’m annoyed is putting it mildly someone needs to answer for the service being cut without any warning. The True Movie channels changed to Sony which led to many movies based on true crimes never being shown again and then the change to Great movies seemed like a weak cup of tea replacing Sony movies just like it did when they replaced True Movies so now answers are needed are freesat and freeview going to disappear and if so when. The two ways of viewing have made it possible to watch programs like anyone with a basic TV. Answers are needed when it comes to buying something to watch TV and Movies in the future do we buy or not. Just a quick word I’ve not read my emails for many months so there may not be a reply to any emails so I apologize.

  16. Wow! What a dreadful thing to do …just delete channels at a stroke. Whilst I won’t particularly miss the ‘sugary sweet’ Sue Thomas who seemed to be on a never ending loop along with one or two others, I will definitely miss other programmes. Being of the silver age group (older folk) this digital/ broadband based stuff leaves me stone cold. And what about those people who don’t have broadband? Assumptions can be dangerous things. Very badly done indeed …….and I bet someone got paid megabucks for making that decision.

  17. I naively thought they would come back ….. but now having googled & read this article they obviously won’t be 😵
    As an ME sufferer this is a great loss to me as I’m sure it is to many others too! The way we are treated these days never seases to amaze me 😯 Shame on you whatever the reason a very poor show indeed!😔👎

  18. I have a smart TV with both freesat and freeview built in . however , in my area I am only able to recieve 48 channels on freeview and the ones that have been switched off are not amongst them .
    How unprofessional to do this without any notice .
    If there was an alternative free platform I wouldn’t hesitate to switch .

  19. Absolutely disgusting I’ve just brought my freesat box there not cheap unlike the the freesat people i think people should be compensated for this cheap trick

  20. Totally appalled at the deletion of Great TV channels. It was bad enough the BBC was lost on my set box, as a pensioner I am now very reluctant to save up for a HD box upgrade.

  21. Curious lack of warning, looks very shoddy which in truth their channels were other than Great TV itself. Obviously it looks like an ominous portent and yet twopenny ThatsTV launched a second channel not long ago. So without any comments from Narrative or Freesat it’s hard to know if it’s massively relevant or merely annoying for fans.

  22. The only channels worth watching were the ones they have now turned off. What a shame – is there nothing that can be done to bring them back?

  23. Really angry at the way this has been done. It convinces me yet again that those who make and broadcast TV rarely watch it or have any idea how their arbitrary behaviour affects viewers. It’s not the end of the world but I think we are owed more professional behaviour.


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