Two HD channels from the BBC, CBeebies HD and BBC Four HD have been taken off Freeview today, and are no longer available on the platform, until the BBC finishes some work that’s needed to bring them back.
The temporary removal of the two channels is part of the major Freeview revamp that’s taking place this week, in which nine channels are being shut down completely (some just on Freeview, and some on other platforms such as Freesat and Sky as well), while others are just changing places.
As we previously reported, the BBC announced that – as part of these changes – BBC News HD is being removed from Freeview for good.
However, BBC Four HD and CBeebies were actually supposed to get increased coverage this week, and become available to wider audiences (even though the linear versions of these same channels are set to shut down in a few years).
But at the last minute, the BBC changed its announcement, which now says that the improved coverage for BBC Four HD and CBeebies will be “coming soon” – and until then, they’re no longer available on Freeview at all (though you can still watch the SD versions of the channels).
Why Is Freeview Changing?
Years ago, each TV channel had to be broadcast on a single frequency. Thanks to digital TV, several channels can now be grouped into a single frequency, and that group is then known as a multiplex.
Several multiplexes (groups of channels) are then broadcast from the transmitter to your home – and your TV / Freeview box knows how to separate the individual channels that are grouped under the same frequency.
This week, a multiplex known as COM7 will be shut down (since EE bought the rights to use its frequency for 5G mobile signals). And since several channels – especially HD channels – used the COM7 Multiplex, those channels had to either find room on one of the other multiplexes or shut down.
The BBC had three channels that were carried on COM7: BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and BBC News HD.
Since there was no room left for BBC News HD (Channel 107) – the BBC decided that BBC News on Freeview will be available only in SD (Standard Definition).
BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD, however, are set to move to the PSB3 multiplex, which the BBC operates.
But while that was supposed to happen this week, Freeview is saying that the “BBC are making some further changes that will affect BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD”.
According to the BBC, “These changes will be coming soon”, and until then, viewers can watch in standard definition: BBC Four on Freeview Channel 9 (and channel 24 in Scotland) and CBeebies on Freeview Channel 202.
Once the BBC is done making the necessary changes, BBC Four HD will be available on Freeview Channel 106, and CBeebies will be available on Freeview Channel 206.
We reached out to the BBC to ask whether there’s a more accurate time frame for the return of these channels, and were told that there are no further updates yet.
Retune Your Freeview Device
Once BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD return, you will have to retune your Freeview device, again (assuming you also retuned this week for the major Freeview revamp).
Some Freeview boxes – but not all – do this retune automatically, while others require a manual retune.
You can find more information on how to retune your device, on Freeview’s retuning help section.