UK public service broadcasters BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 are planning to integrate Digital UK and Freesat. Digital UK facilitates the provision of Freeview TV services, whilst Freesat is the UK’s main subscription free satellite TV platform (not to be confused with the entirely separate Freesat from Sky).
This proposed move is intended to help ensure viewers continue to have access to a range of free to view TV platforms. Additionally, the move is also intended to help viewers benefit from technological innovations and developments across the two services.
The move requires regulatory approval, and should complete a few months after approval is given.
The Amazon Prime Video app is to be added to the latest generation of Freesat boxes, providing another way for Prime Video customers to access the service. New customers will be able to sign-up via the app, and receive a 30 day free trial. The addition will enhance the hybrid offering, which includes a large selection of free-to-air channels delivered via satellite.
Sky and Amazon have also unveiled a new partnership, which will see Prime Video added to Sky and Now TV devices across Europe, including the UK and Ireland. In a return move, Now TV will be added to selected Fire TV devices and Smart TVs.
This means that Sky customers will be able to access all Premier League football matches shown live via their Sky Q box, with matches from BT Sport, Prime Video, and Sky Sports all being available via the platform. However, to do this a subscription will be required to all three services, which may be a costly exercise.
All ITV regions will soon be available in HD (high definition) on the Sky and Freesat satellite platforms. The official launch of new regional HD service takes place on the Tuesday 20th October (2020).
This means a fully regionalised ITV HD service will soon be available to viewers in England, the Scottish Borders, and Wales. Until now, only some regions had a HD version of ITV on satellite.
As a result, ITV HD will move to the more prominent channel number 103 on HD compatible equipment.. On Freesat, ITV HD is currently on channel 111, whilst on Sky in regions with a HD feed ITV HD is on channel 176.
Viewers with older SD (standard definition) equipment will continue to find the SD version of ITV on 103.
Information TV, owned by now collapsed parent company Carlauren Group Ltd, has been in financial difficulties since 2019. This has now led to channel changes.
Sports channel Front Runner has now closed. The channel was home to Greyhound Racing, which has moved to Live 360. Live 360 is available on Sky channel 175, and can be streamed on compatible Freeview boxes via Vision TV on channel 264.
Meanwhile, sister channel Showcase TV is transitioning to new satellite capacity, and is currently unavailable on Sky and Freesat, but is expected to return. Showcase TV allows smaller, niche broadcasters to book out blocks of time on the channel, enabling part time broadcasting.
Discovery’s Quest +1 has changed frequency on Freeview, and is now broadcasting 24 hours a day. The timeshift of Quest now occupies space released by Sony following reductions in their TV portfolio. Viewers will need to retune in order to continue watching Quest +1 on channel number 76.
The move will allow arts and crafts channel Hochanda to broadcast 24 hours a day on Freeview channel 86, from the 2nd of October. Hochanda had been slot sharing with Quest since 2017, handing over to Quest at 7pm. On connected devices, Hochanda continued to be available as an online stream after 7pm.
Meanwhile, on Sky and Freesat, Ideal World is switching to HD broadcasts. Ideal World HD and sister channel Create & Craft HD will be available on the existing channel numbers. As the services are switching to HD, the old standard definition feeds will be switched off. This means users of old non-HD equipment will no longer be able to view these channels
The CBS AMC UK Channels Partnership has launched new on demand players on the Freesat platform. Horror Bites and CBS Catchup Channels UK allow viewers to view content from Horror Channel, CBS Reality, CBS Justice and CBS Drama through their compatible Freesat set top box.
Viewers can catch up on programmes for up to 30 days from when first broadcast on the linear channels. Box sets and CBS Reality original programming are also available to stream.
The CBS AMC UK Channels Partnership is a joint venture between AMC Networks International and CBS Studios International.
Retro Movies has now joined Freesat, and can now be found on channel 307. The channel shows movies from the early to mid 20th century, and was previously on available on Sky channel 327.
Retro Movies is now also available on Freeview streamed channel Channelbox, which can be found on channel 271. Viewers will need a compatible device connected to the internet in order to access Retro Movies through Channelbox.
Retro Movies is not currently available on Virgin Media (cable).
Freesports has confirmed that it will launch a HD version of its channel on Freesat. The HD version of the channel will take over the number of the current standard definition channel, with the standard definition version to move to a lower channel number.
The Freesat HD service will launch shortly after Freesports HD launches on Sky on the 15th July.
Freesports HD first launched last year on the Virgin Media cable platform.