Several Freesat and Sky channels are either changing places or being added this week, to make room for the returning linear version of BBC Three.
The new channel will premiere on February 1, 2022 – but the electronic programme guide changes are already taking place this week, shortly after an even bigger channel swap happened on Freeview.
Unlike Freeview devices, most Freesat (as well as Sky and Virgin Media) viewers won’t need to manually do anything, and the channel numbers will change automatically.
If they don’t, Freesat advises doing a Freesat Channel Scan.
On Freesat, BBC Three will air on Channel 107 (SD/HD) and Channel 179 (SD Only version) – see the full list of changes, including for Sky and Virgin Media, below.
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.
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, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
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.
BBC Three’s Linear Return
BBC Three started its life as a linear TV channel back in 2003. In 2016, it turned into a streaming-only channel (available on BBC iPlayer), and on February 1 – following Ofcom’s approval – it’s returning once again to linear TV.
The channel will broadcast daily from 7 pm, targeting viewers aged 16-34 who – according to the BBC – don’t typically watch TV online.
Some of the new content coming to BBC Three includes RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK Versus The World, Series 2 of the critically-acclaimed international hit romcom Starstruck, live football, and – later in the year Season 4 of Killing Eve.
As before BBC Three will continue to be available for streaming on BBC iPlayer, alongside the “live” schedule.
Freesat Channel Changes – The Full List
As mentioned, BBC Three will air on Freesat Channel 107. You will get the HD version if your Freesat box supports it, otherwise the SD version will automatically show on 107.
The SD version will also be available separately on Freesat Channel 179.
To make room for BBC three, several other Freesat channels will have to move (as Channel 107 used to belong to BBC Four), with the changes starting to roll out on January 27.
Here’s the full list of changes:
Old Channel No.
New Channel No.
|BBC Three HD||N/A||107|
|BBC Four HD||107||108|
|BBC Four SD||107||108|
|BBC Scotland HD||108||110|
|BBC Two (England HD and G2 only)||110||180|
|BBC One Scotland||110||180|
|BBC One Wales||110||180|
|BBC One NI||110||180|
BBC Three on Sky
On Sky TV, the list of changes isn’t as big – but BBC Three gets several different channel numbers, depending on your location and device.
The changes will start to roll out on January 27. The HD / SD versions are swapped automatically, depending on what your device supports.
BBC Three HD / SD on Sky Q / Sky+ –
England (except London), Wales, Northern Ireland – Sky Channel 117
London: Sky Channel 173
Scotland: Sky Channel 141
SD / HD Alternative Channel – Sky Channel 845
BBC Three HD on Sky Glass –
England, Scotland, Northern Ireland: Sky Channel 118
Wales: Sky Channel 119
BBC Three on Other Platforms
Virgin Media, BBC Three HD:
England and NI: Channel 107
Wales and Scotland – Channel 157
BBC Three SD Version: Channel 23
BBC Three HD Version: Channel 109
For Freeview, see our big Freeview Reshuffle list.