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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12 thoughts on “Freeview Updates: New Channels, Changes And Closures”

  1. Its confusing and it sux what has happened with the music channel(s). Why on earth you can’t have an all music 24 hours, and have 60s,70s,80s,90s,2000s on different times of the day on a single channel or two channels? really.. having to change channel and then they are only available in the mornings WTF and so messy, don’t want to hassle about with channel changing too much… and only 24 hours if your tv can connect to the internet… FFS , might as well watch music videos on the computer instead vevo or YouTube … because this setup with music channels in awkward times on separate channels is such garbage…

  2. Having to retune my sat and Freeview so often is a pain. All the crap channels I’ve hidden, ITVbe, E4, 4 in a bed, come dine with me etc and all the other celebrities channels reappear. I have TVs in 4 rooms in the house that need this

  3. I’m surprised that Freeview hasn’t moved to being more online based (like iPlayer and ITVx) or even having an app on things such as the Firestick for example. I know traditional TV is phasing out (which is good to be honest) however they’re going to fall behind if they don’t move ahead somehow along these lines I feel.

  4. I am extremely disappointed at the demise of the Smithsonion channel on Free view. I relied upon it for a really good selection of well made, diverse programmes. TV watching will be less interesting now and as for more ‘music channels’, are there not enough of these already playing ersatz music. What about a channel devoted to ‘standards’ and classical musc.

  5. Over here in N.Ireland we get RTE1, RTE2 and TG4 on freeview but no Virgin Media 1,2,3 or4 channels on freeview. You get them on the 800 and above channels from the signal spillover from the Republics transmitters. The Virgin media absence from Freeview is down to licensing of programmes already available in the Uk. When Champions League games are shown on RTE2 the Freeview version has a sign saying game unavailable so I just tune in on the spillover signal in the 800s.

  6. As they are changing the Channels on Freeview. I Think There Should be some New Irish Channels in future. Like RTE 1 and 2, RTE News, TV3 and TG4 etc as loads of Irish people live in Great Britain. And saving us keep on using Smart View from our Mobile phones if we get a phone call or Text Message in between.


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