4 Music Returns to Freesat

Follow the return of Channel 4 HD and Box Plus Channels to Freesat, 4 Music has done the same. Due to the large proportion of entertainment programmes, 4 Music has been allocated a number in the general entertainment section and can now be found on channel number 181.

Technical changes needed to be made to facilitate the return. 4 Music was previously broadcast on a satellite transponder with a largely Europe wide beam. This led to the channel being encrypted, to protect the rights of broadcasters on continental Europe who show the same programmes as 4 Music. 4 Music has now moved to a transponder with a more restricted UK spotbeam, meaning that the encryption is no longer required. Following a brief period of testing, 4 Music has now been added to the Freesat EPG, a process which should be automatic for most viewers.

4 Music was last on Freesat in early 2018, when the channel was removed following a dispute over carriage fees between Freesat and Channel 4. Shortly after, all Box Plus Channels switched to a Europe wide transponder, and whilst most remained free-to-air, 4 Music became encrypted preventing that channel from being manually tuned in. Generic satellite box users will also now benefit from the return to Freesat, as the removal of encryption means the channel can now be viewed, although will need to be scanned in manually.

Channel 4 HD and Box Plus Channels return to Freesat

Page last updated on January 4th, 2022 at 01:51 pm

Back in February 2018, a dispute between Channel 4 and Freesat over fees for inclusion on the platform saw the removal of Channel 4 HD and the Box Plus network of music channels from the Freesat satellite platform. All except 4 Music remained free-to-air, meaning they could still be manually tuned into Fressat boxes. However, 4 Music became encrypted due to rights issues and a move to a transponder with a wider footprint beyond the UK. The other Box Plus music channels also moved transponder, but as there were no rights issues to overcome, they were able to remain free-to-air.

Fast forward to today, and structural changes at Freesat have led to this decision being broadly reversed. Freesat, which oversees the free-to-air satellite platform, has been merged with Freeview, which performs a similar role for UK terrestrial TV. Channel 4 held a shareholding in Freeview, and has now gained a similar shareholding in Freesat, creating a more favourable position for the broadcaster.

This has seen Channel 4 HD return to the Freesat EPG, along with The Box, Box Hits, Kerrang, Kiss, and Magic which form part of the Box Plus Network, which is wholly owned by Channel 4. 4 Music remains encrypted, so cannot be included for the time being, though this may change.

Channel 4 HD appears further down the on the EPG, as not all advertising regions are available for the channel, with the standard definition version remaining on channel no. 104. The new EPG numbers for the re-added services are in the table below.

Channel Freesat Channel No.
Channel 4 HD 126
The Box 502
Box Hits 501
Kerrang 505
Kiss 503
Magic 504

Slow Recovery for 4 Music

Music/entertainment channel 4 Music has now resumed normal programming following disruption caused by playout provider Red Bee Media.

With efforts having focused on the main Channel 4 services, the music based channels (including 4 Music) in the Box Plus Network were at a lower priority, and took longer to return.

The Box was the first of these channels to return, followed by Box Hits. 4 Music simulcast The Box as a temporary measure for a few weeks, following this with a shorter simulcast of Box Hits.

When 4 Music finally returned, it carried a full 24 hour service of music videos, instead of the hybrid music and entertainment format that the channel normally broadcasts.

This finally ended on Tuesday (9th November 2021), when the channel resumed normal broadcasts, with shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch returning to the schedule. Rick and Morty, and The Goldbergs have also joined the schedule, with these having previously been shown on E4. In most cases, 4 Music are showing each series in order, starting with the very first episode of each.

In total 4 Music has faced around 7 weeks of disruption. It is understood that rock music channel Kerrang is still yet to return, and the launch of festive service Boxmas (which temporarily replaces Box Hits) is delayed. All other Box Plus Network channels have resumed broadcasts.

Freeview Changes – Channel 4 Number Shuffle

Channel numbers on several Channel 4 channels on Freeview will be changing on 13th May, following Channel 4s full acquisition of the Box Plus Network that was previously a joint venture.

E4 will move from 28 to 13 which is currently home to Channel 4+1. Film 4 moves to 14, with Channel 4+1 taking over 15. More 4 moves from 14 to 4 Music’s current number of 18.

E4+1 will move up slightly to 28, with 4 Music being pushed down to 29.

These changes will also affect Youview powered services from BT and TalkTalk, as these rely on Freeview from some of their channels.

The table below shows all of the old and new channel numbers.

Channel Old Number New Number
Channel 4 + 1 13 15
E4 28 13
E4+1 29 28
Film 4 15 14
More 4 14 18
4 Music 18 29