All (Or at Least Most) Freeview Updates

A large number of Freeview changes are happening, either on the 29th or 30th June (2022). I hope that this article will be a round up of them all, but there may be changes to what’s planned.

As already mentioned, 4 Music will switch over to E4 Extra on the 29th. See the previous article for more details. On the same date, BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD will be added to the PSB3 (HD/DVB-T2) multiplex, and will become available to those who receive signals from a relay transmitter for the first time. Quest Red +1, Together TV, and That’s TV (UK version) will also move, but to permanent commercial multiplexes. Not all viewers will be able to receive these channels, but the channels will benefit from improved coverage. The placeholder for Craft Extra on channel 95 will also be removed.

The following day sees the second part of the changes. Now 80’s will reduce coverage to being available in Manchester only (on the Greater Manchester multiplex). CBS Drama will rebrand to Reality Extra (see previous article, and will also reduce coverage by moving to the COMUX multiplex which is used to broadcast locally licensed TV services.

Also on the 30th, That’s TV will change channel number, and will take over channel number 65 from Freesports, as that channel is leaving Freeview. Sister channel That’s Music will increase coverage (presumed to be also moving to a commercial multiplex), and will move up slightly, from channel 92 to 91.

Freesports has opted to leave Freeview entirely, and will rely predominantly on Sky and Virgin Media, but is also available free-to-air on satellite, so can be manually tuned into Freesat and other satellite receivers. CBS Justice is closing entirely, and will not be replaced on Freeview (but is becoming Legend on other platforms). Forces TV is closing on all platforms, and will no longer be available.

BBC News HD, QVC HD, QVC Beauty HD, Quest HD, and More 4 +1 will also leave Freeview on the 30th, but will remain on other platforms (where applicable). Standard versions also remain available on Freeview. PBS America +1 (itself only available on Freeview), will close, but it is understood that the normal version of the channel will be extending its broadcast hours.

The above is not exhaustive, and other changes may be made, triggered by the closure of the temporary multiplex COM7. If you can live without some channels for a few hours, re-tune once from around late morning onwards on the 30th to capture all of the changes. If you receive signals from a relay transmitter, re-tune on the 29th, as you will be only affected by the changes on this day (and you only need to re-tune if you have a HD compatible device).

You may need to re-set your scheduled recordings, so may a note of any programmes you has set to record before re-tuning. Consult your device instructions/handbook or manufacturer if you are unsure of how to re-tune.

CBS Dropped from UK Channels

The CBS name is being dropped from UK channels, as the former AMC Networks and CBS UK joint venture disbands. There will still be four channels, but CBS Drama and CBS Justice will come to an end. A precursor to the more widespread changes came earlier this year, when CBS Justice and Horror swapped channel numbers on Freeview. Horror moved from channel number 69 to 41, with CBS Justice making the opposite move.

Now, widespread changes are being made, with the CBS name being dropped, as Paramount Global (owners of CBS and other brands) gradually restructures. The changes have been timed to coincide with the closure of the COM7 Freeview multiplex on the 30th June (2022).

Horror, which already shows sci-fi programmes, will be replaced by Legend and Horror Extra. Legend will broaden Horrors reach to complimentary genres such as action, and increased amount of sci-fi programmes. Horror Extra will be a part time channel, focusing on horror movies and TV shows post watershed. On Freeview, Legend will take over the slot currently occupied by Horror, but on Freesat, Sky, Virgin Media, will replace CBS Justice when it closes.

Horror Extra will take over Horror’s existing slots on satellite (Sky/Freesat) and cable (Virgin Media), but is not expected to be available on Freeview. Horror currently has a +1 version on these platforms, which Horror Extra will inherit.

CBS Reality will continue unchanged initially, but is expected to become Reality in due course. CBS Drama, itself no longer solely devoted to drama shows, will become Reality Extra. It is understood, that there will be no schedule changes, beyond the name change, but Reality Extra will have reduced coverage on Freeview.

The changes have been timed to coincide with the closure of the COM7 Freeview multiplex on the 30th June (2022).

Note: I became aware of the changes to the above channels a week or so ago, but have only recently had sufficient sources (and time) to be able to adequately cross reference the changes.

COM8 Closure and Freeview Reshuffle

Temporary Freeview multiplex is to close on the 22nd of June, as part of the clearance of frequencies for future 5G mobile phone services. Some services are moving to the other temporary multiplex, COM7, whilst some +1 and HD (high definition) channels are closing.

Due to the nature of the channels closing, most viewers will be unaffected, as there is already and alternative version of the channel available. Additionally, the temporary multiplexes offer limited coverage on newer DVB-T2 devices only, further reducing the number of viewers affected.

Although some recievers may make some of the changes automatically, a re-tune is required in most cases, due to channels moving frequencies. A full re-tune will ensure you are viewing the correct version of the channel, as dual-transmission of some services will take place for a short amount of time.

The table below shows the full changes.

Channel (No.) Current Multiplex Expected Change
5 Star +1 (55) COM8 To close on 22nd June
5 USA +1 (56) COM7 To close on 22nd June
Freesports (64) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June
CBS Reality +1 (67) COM7 To close on 22nd June
CBS Justice +1 (69) COM8 To close on 22nd June
CBS Drama (71) COM6 To be renumbered to 67 on 22nd June
Shopping Quarter (74) COM7 Moving to PSB3 (BBC B) on 22nd June (replacing TBN UK?)
Now 80s (83) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June
Togther TV +1 (89) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June
PBS America +1 (93) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June
Forces TV (96) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June
BBC Four HD (106) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June
Channel 4 +1 HD (109) COM7 To close on 22nd June
4 Seven HD (110) COM7 To close on 22nd June
QVC HD (111) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June
QVC Beauty HD (112) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June
TJC HD (115) COM7 To close on 22nd June
Cbeebies HD (205) COM8 Moving to COM7 on 22nd June

As can be seen, CBS Drama is being promoted further up the channel list, taking over channel number 67 from CBS Reality +1 when that service closes.

Other platforms are unaffected by the changes.

CBS Drama to be Upgraded on Freeview

CBS Drama will return to 24 hour broadcasting on Freeview from 1st November, expanding from the current arrangement of broadcasts from 1pm to 11pm.

The improvement has been made possible by Sony’s service reductions earlier in the summer. The change will also benefit YouView users, which piggyback of Freeview for some of the channels. If you are a BT, TalkTalk or Plusnet TV customer, your service will delivered through YouView.

CBS Drama has previously been a full time service on Freeview, but had its hours reduced in November 2017.