The free-to-air Smithsonian Channel, which has been available in the UK since 2019, is shutting down as a linear channel, and will be removed from Freeview, Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media.
The channel is dedicated to factual programming, covering space, history, science, nature and wildlife, and is currently free to watch (depending on the TV platform you use).
Some of the Smithsonian Channel’s programmes are already available on Paramount+ in the UK, which is a paid streaming service, while some shows are also available on Channel 5’s streaming app – My5, which is owned by the same company – Paramount (see more on that below).
Furthermore, Paramount told us of plans to open a new free version of the Smithsonian Channel, on the streaming-only Pluto TV platform, which is also owned by Paramount – but the new, ad-supported channel will only come sometime in the future.
The Smithsonian Channel launched on Freeview in the UK back on February 2019, and we can now confirm it will be removed from all UK TV platforms on January 5, 2023.
Meanwhile, this week, there were several other Freeview updates, with new additions and channel closures – see below for the full list of changes.
As always, those with a Freeview device may need to retune their box/TV for the electronic programmes guide to update.
The End Of The Free Linear Smithsonian Channel
The Smithsonian Channel is based on a US channel by the same name, with some of the content coming from the US, and some of it being produced in the UK.
Some of the programmes featured on the channel (until its closure) are the popular Inside the Factory series (which comes from the BBC), which looks behind the curtains of big UK factories, along with shows like How Did They Build That?, WWII Battles in Color, Air Warriors, Ocean Super Predators and more.
The Smithsonian Channel is currently available on:
- Freeview Channel 57 (it moved there from 56 back in January)
- Freesat Channel 175
- Sky Channel 171
- Virgin Media Channel 276
The channel’s last day on the air will be January 5, 2023.
However, many of the channel’s programmes will live on via Paramount+, the streaming service that launched in the UK back in June, and on My5.
Paramount+ is a global streaming service that also offers content from CBS, Showtime and Paramount Pictures, as well as exclusive, original programmes.
Paramount+ costs £6.99/month or £69.90/year in the UK, with a free 7-day trial available to everyone (See Our Full Paramount+ UK Review).
Since its launch in the UK, Paramount+ has had a dedicated Smithsonian Channel section, where many of the channel’s programmes are available to watch – but only with a subscription, of course.
In the future, Paramount is planning to add a free, ad-supported Smithsonian channel to its Pluto TV platform, which is available via an app on streaming devices.
A Paramount spokesperson (Paramount owns The Smithsonian Channel, Paramount+ and Channel 5) told us:
“From 5th January 2023, the Smithsonian Channel in the UK will move exclusively to Paramount’s popular streaming services, to reflect the way viewers consume our specialist programming and ensure its content is available to the widest possible audience.
“Smithsonian Channel programming will continue to have a strong presence on Paramount+ and My5, and we plan to launch a new branded channel on the leading free streaming service, Pluto TV, in the near future.”
More Freeview Changes
Several other changes and channel updates took place on Freeview this week (starting from December 14).
New Freeview Channels
Three channels were added to Freeview’s connected platform this week.
Some Freeview channels, like Channel Box, Ketchup TV and more, are Freeview IP channels – meaning they can only be delivered via broadband, and do not reach your house via the aerial.
To watch these streaming Freeview channels, you need a modern Freeview device that supports the HbbTV standard – most modern Smart TVs with Freeview Play, and Freeview Play set-top boxes (like the Manhattan T3-R, Humax Aura and others) already support this standard.
Once your device is connected to the internet, you will be able to reach these IP-only Freeview channels like a normal channel through the TV Guide.
The three new broadband-connected Freeview channels, which are all dedicated to religious programming, are:
- Revelation TV, on Freeview Channel Number 281
- God TV, on Freeview Channel Number 282
- 3ABN, on Freeview Channel Number 283
Freeview Channels Moving
Two Freeview channels are trading places, but only in Scotland:
BBC Four HD is moving from Channel Number 106 to Channel Number 108.
BBC Scotland HD is moving from Channel Number 108 to Channel Number 106.
Freeview Channel Closures
And Quest Red+1, which was officially shut down back in November, has now been completely removed from some platforms where it was still visible.
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.
You can find more information on how to retune your device, on Freeview’s retuning help section.
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