Several HD versions of the BBC’s channels, including BBC Three HD, BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and more – have moved to new channel numbers this week, on Freeview Play devices.
These channel number changes are only relevant to people with newer internet-connected Freeview Play TVs or set-top boxes, and won’t affect older Freeview boxes.
But with Freeview Play now dominating the Freeview devices market (official non-Freeview Play boxes are no longer being manufactured), many households can be affected by this.
Once you have everything connected, both Freeview and Freeview Play are free to watch, without any monthly subscriptions (though you would still need to pay the TV Licence in most cases).
Until this week’s changes, the BBC’s HD channels were positioned, on Freeview, in their own, separate “HD Section” of the EPG, from Channel Number 101 and up, while the SD versions occupy the lower channel numbers.
So BBC Three, for example, was on Channel 23, and BBC Three HD, was only on channel 109.
With most devices now supporting HD channels, it makes sense to transform the HD versions of channels into the ‘default’ versions of those channels.
Therefore, to take BBC Three’s example again – BBC Three HD is now on Channel 23 (as well as on Channel 109) – and if, for some reason, you still want to watch the SD version of the channel – it’s off to Channel 613.
Again, if you have old devices that don’t support HD channels (or Freeview Play), then you won’t see these changes, and BBC Three SD will stay on Channel 23 for you.
Two big exceptions to this list of HD changes are BBC One and BBC Two – their HD versions, on Freeview Play, are remaining on Channel 101 and Channel 102 for now, with the SD versions on Channel 1 and Channel 2.
BBC One HD can’t move to Channel 1 until it finally gets regional news in HD on all the platforms, something that’s being regularly postponed.
Furthermore, these changes will only show up on newer (as in, from 2020 onwards) Freeview Play devices, that support Freeview Play’s Channel List Management technology. The popular Manhattan T3-R and T3 Freeview boxes, for example, don’t support this – so you won’t see this week’s changes on them.
Earlier this year, BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD were completely removed from Freeview for more than two months, but were eventually reinstated in September.
BBC HD Changes: The Full List
These are the changes that went live on October 19, 2022, on newer connected Freeview Play devices:
CBBC HD is moving from Channel 204 to Channel 201.
CBBC SD is moving from Channel 201 to Channel 204.
CBeebies HD is moving from Channel 205 to Channel 202.
CBeebies SD is moving from Channel 202 to Channel 205.
England & Northern Ireland Changes:
BBC Three HD will now be on Channel 23 (as well as Channel 109 in the HD section).
BBC Three SD is moving from Channel 23 to Channel 613.
England, Northern Ireland, and Wales Changes:
BBC Four HD will now be on Channel 9 (as well as Channel 106 in the HD section).
BBC Four SD is moving from Channel 9 to Channel 614.
BBC Four HD will now be on Channel 24 (and 106 in the HD section).
BBC Four SD is moving from Channel 24 to Channel 614.
According to the BBC, some Freeview Play devices from 2020/2021 aren’t showing the BBC’s channels in the HD Section of the EPG (Channels 101 and up).
If that’s true on your device, the BBC recommends using the new default HD channel numbers listed above.