Freeview Updates: New Channels, Changes And Closures

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The new year is here – and with it, several Freeview updates and changes – from several new channel launches (mostly dedicated to music), to channels changing names, numbers and content (including a new romantic films channel) – and one major closure – The Smithsonian Channel.

The changes are set to start rolling out today, January 5, on Freeview (though some of the changes are also relevant to Sky and Freesat), and as always, some viewers will need to retune their Freeview devices.

Otherwise, your Electronic Programmes Guide won’t be up to date – new channels might not show up, and some existing channels won’t show up in the correct slots (some devices do this retune automatically – see our recommended Freeview recorders here).

Last year, we saw quite a few Freeview changes, closures and new channels, including the major shakeup back in June, when nine Freeview channels were shut down, and another round of changes in November.

This is now the first list of Freeview changes for 2023.

Family watching FreeviewPlay new
Photo: Freeview

Freeview, which started its life back in 2002, is the United Kingdom’s terrestrial television platform. It provides free-to-air TV channels and radio stations (via a Freeview aerial – see the ones we recommend), including more than 80 standard and HD channels. You can watch it on any supported TV, or by using a set-top Freeview box.

To watch Freeview via broadband, you’ll need one of the new subscription-based devices like Sky Stream or Virgin Media Stream (though not all Freeview channels are available on these devices).

See our full Freeview guide here.

New Freeview Channels

Several new Freeview channels are being added to the service this week.

That’s 60s

Launching on Freeview Channel 75

A music channel with music videos and entertainment, all dedicated to the 60s. Tony Blackburn, who was the first ever presenter on Radio 1 in 1967, will help launch the new channel on January 6, at 6 pm.

Tony Blackburn That's 60s channel
Tony Blackburn

That’s 60s will broadcast round-the-clock with performances from the artists of the era and some specially curated shows hosted by legends who lived through the decade.

That’s 70s, Freeview Channel 76: Another music channel with music videos and entertainment – this one dedicated to the 70s. 

That’s 90s, Freeview Channel 76: Jumping to the 90s, with a dedicated channel full of music videos and entertainment.

That’s 60s MCR, Freeview Channel 87: In Manchester, 60s fans will find their fix on a different channel number.

If you’re wondering what happened to the 80s – read ahead, as an older channel is being replaced with an 80s channel.

And lastly –

TV Warehouse+1, Freeview Channel 91 – A time-shift version of the shopping and infomercials channel.

Man with tv remote

Freeview Channels Changing Numbers

Two channels are moving to different slots on the EPG this week:

Comedy channel Dave Ja Vu is moving from Channel 74 to Channel 57.

Yesterday+1, the time-shift version of the nostalgia channel, is moving from Channel 75 to Channel 74.

Yesterday +1 channel logo

Freeview Channels Changing

Another major change this week is that Freeview Channel 52, which turned into Great Movies Christmas recently, is changing (yes, sadly Christmas is over) – and will become Great! Romance, dedicated to romantic films.

Its time-shift version, Great Movies Christmas+1 on Freeview Channel 63, is changing to Great! Romance+1.

The old Classic Hits channel, currently on Freeview Channel 88, is changing into That’s 80s, while also moving to Freeview Channel 77. 

And just like its sister-music channels, it will air music videos and entertainment dedicated to, yes, the 80s.

Similarly, Classic Hits MCR (the Manchester version) is changing to That’s 80s MCR, and moving from Freeview Channel 91 (in Manchester) to Freeview Channel 88.

There are also a few minor name changes for some of the BBC’s local channels:

BBC One Oxford is becoming BBC One South.

BBC One East W is becoming BBC One East.

BBC One East E is becoming BBC One East.

Freeview Channel Closure

As we previously reported, The Smithsonian Channel is shutting down today, leaving Freeview, Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media.

The Smithsonian Channel on TV mockup

Therefore, the channel, which is dedicated to factual programming, space, history, science, nature and wildlife, will be removed from Freeview Channel 57.

Some of its content will be available on Paramount+, the paid streaming service, some will be available on Channel 5’s streaming app – My5, and, in the future, there are plans to create a free Smithsonian Channel streaming-only channel on Pluto TV.

Retune Your Freeview Device

Whenever Freeview changes take place, some people need to retune their Freeview devices – otherwise, channel numbers and names won’t be correct, and new channels won’t show up.

Some devices do a retune automatically, but others might require a manual retune for this week’s changes to update correctly.

You can find more information on how to retune your device, on Freeview’s retuning help section.

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