More Than 30 Freeview Channels Are Changing Next Week

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Freeview fans, get ready: A major shakeup, which is due to take place on November 4, is going to change channel numbers of more than 30 Freeview channels, following an Ofcom review.

This is in addition to four other channels which already moved this week.

  • November 5 Update: Freeview viewers are now told to wait and NOT retune their devices, until November 8. Read more details here.

Established back in 2002, Freeview is the United Kingdom’s terrestrial television platform. It provides free-to-air TV channels and radio stations (via a Freeview aerial), including more than 80 standard and HD channels (See our full Freeview guide here).

Freeview Play on TV

Last year, Ofcom did a review of public service broadcasting’s prominence, looking to make it easier for viewers to find public channels (BBC1, BBC2, Channel 3 services, Channel 4 and Channel 5).

Following this review, it was discovered that Freeview’s current channel listing meets the needed requirements – except for one: BBC Four, which needs to be in the first 24 channels on the Electronic Programmes Guide (EPG).

In most of the UK, BBC Four is already on Channel 9 (so within the required first 24) – but in Scotland, Channel 9 was allocated to BBC Scotland, with BBC Four residing on Channel 55.

Photo: Deposit Photos – claudiodivizia

Therefore, it was decided that in Scotland, BBC Four will move from Channel 55 to Channel 24. That, however, means that nationwide, all the channels between 24 and 55, will now need to move up one slot.

Sounds confusing? Here’s the important bit – all the channels that are moving, and their new numbering:

Freeview Channel Changes in Scotland only:

Channel Current position New Position 
BBC Four Scotland 55 24 
STV+1 33 34 

Channel Changes in England & Wales only:

Channel Current position New Position 
ITV+1 33 34 

Channel Changes in Northern Ireland only:

Channel Current position New Position 
UTV+1 33 34 

Freeview Channel Changes Nationwide:

Channel Current position New Position 
ITV4 24 25 
Yesterday 25 26 
ITVBE 26 27 
ITV2+1 27 28 
E4+1 28 29 
4Music 29 30 
5STAR 30 31 
Paramount Network 31 32 
Sony Movies 32 33 
Pick TV 34 35 
QVC Beauty 35 36 
QVC Style 36 37 
DMAX37 38 
Quest Red38 39 
CBS Justice 39 40 
Sony Movies Action 40 41 
Food Network 41 42 
HGTV 42 43 
Gems TV 43 44 
Channel 5+1 44 45 
Film4 +1 45 46 
Challenge 46 47 
4Seven 47 48 
Sony Channel 48 49 
TJC49 50 
Sony Movies Classic 50 51 
TG4 51 52 
RTÉ One 52 53 
RTÉ Two 53 54 
5 Select 54 55 

There are going to be no changes to these channels’ broadcast hours or content – the only change is the numbering.

However, depending on your Freeview box, you might need to do a manual retune, so that your electronic programmes guide is up to date.

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

Since this is a major change, there’s fear many viewers will be left in the dark, wondering where their favourite channels have gone (a similar thing happened last August, when many Freeview viewers had to do a retune).

In order to face this potential issue, Digital UK, working with Freeview, are planning to run a national retune campaign.

Activity will include a combination of on-screen retune messages, information on the Freeview website, online advertising, social media activity, and troubleshooting advice via a team of agents at the Freeview Advice Line.

Four More Channels Changed This Week

Earlier this week (on October 27), four other Freeview channels already changed their numbers – so if you’re missing them, you might need a retune for those as well:

  • ITVBe+1 moved from Channel 97 to Channel 57
  • Horror Channel moved from Channel 70 to Channel 68
  • Quest +1 moved from Channel 76 to Channel 69
  • Quest Red+1 moved from Channel 72 to Channel 70