The BBC Sounds app, allowing users to access radio, podcasts, and playlists from the BBC, is now available on some Freeview Play devices.
Humax have confirmed that the FVP-4000T and FVP-5000T Freeview Play recorders can access the app via the Explore Freeview Play interface, which can be found on channel 100 when the device is connected to the internet.
It has not been confirmed if other Humax devices, or devices from other manufacturers, can access the app.
As previously reported, Sky Arts has now gone free-to-air. The channel is available on Sky, Freesat, Freeview, and Virgin Media, and shows arts and culture based programmes.
Sky Arts is now available on Freeview channel 11, and has achieved a prominent position on the EPG due to number swapping with other Sky owned channels.
This means that the channel is close to channels from public service broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, who already show arts and culture based programmes.
Helpfully, information has been rather drip fed, but more details have now been confirmed for Sky’s Freeview channels.
On Freeview, Sky Arts will be available on channel number 11, and will be broadcast on the COM5 multiplex, from the 17th September (2020) Sky Pick will move from channel 11 to channel 34, but will remain on the same multiplex. Depending on your equipment, a re-tune may be required.
It appears that Challenge is continuing, at the least for the time being. There is currently capacity on the COM5 multiplex, meaning that Sky Arts can be added without the need to close another channel.
Merit appears likely to close, once it has given Sky Pick the 34 channel number, but this has not been confirmed. Additionally, Sky Arts will also be available on Freesat channel 147.
Following the Freeview re-tune event on 12th August (2020), as part of the clearance of frequencies for 5G mobile networks, the BBC is reporting that some viewers have hit difficulties.
Despite re-tuning, some viewers have been unable to restore all channels. The exact number of viewers affected is not available, but has been described as ‘many’. The areas and channels affected are also unknown.
Freeview, who oversee the terrestrial TV network in the UK, has said that anybody experiencing issues should contact them. The problem causing the issues is unknown.
I’m making a one off exception to the recently introduced news update schedule (i.e. new updates should occur on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays), as the Merit channel has thrown up a new development. The channel has moved to temporary multiplex COM7.
An onscreen message reveals the channel is back at 9pm, suggesting the originally reported broadcast hours of 9pm to midnight are in fact correct. The logo consists of orange text in a handwritten script font style, and does not follow the ITV corporate style, or feature the ITV logo.
I’m sure there will be more developments to this channel to report on in the near future.
The clearance of Freeview terrestrial TV frequencies has resumed, in order to make way for 5G mobile phone signals. YouView users (inlcuding BT TV, Plusnet TV, and Talk Talk TV) are also affected, as these sevices incorporate Freeview services.
Viewers in North East Wales, North West England, and the Creetown, Gosforth and St Bees areas of the ITV Border region will need to retune on the 12th August (2020). Viewers in the Isle of Man and Kendal area will need to retune on 19th August.
In general, viewers receiving TV from a main transmitter (eg. those who recieve channels such as Dave and Quest) will need to retune from 6am. Viewers who receive a relay service (ie. only BBC, and the main ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 channels), will need to wait until early afternoon before attempting a retune.
In some areas, only some of the relays are affected, although short interruptions may still occur.
The exact method for retuning will vary depending on the device, although as the frequencies are changing, a first time installation, or full scan may be required. Consult the instruction manual or manufacturer for information on how to do this.
If you use a Freeview recorder or YouView device with recording capabilities, it is worth noting down what programmes are set to record, as some devices may reset series links (although previously recorded programmes are safe).
Normally, I would list the full details of the transmitters affected, but I don’t currently have this information.
ITV’s new channel Merit is now expected to launch at 8pm on Wednesday 29th July 2020, earlier than some expectations.
Details of the channel are still thin on the ground, but the channel is still expected to be a part time service. The 8pm launch time indicates that this is the regular start time, which is earlier than the 9pm to midnight timings previously reported.
Availability of the service beyond Freeview is still not known, although programmes should be available on the ITV Hub catch-up platform.
ITV are launching a new part time channel tomorrow (8th July), triggering a channel number reshuffle.
Merit will broadcast from 9pm to midnight on Freeview channel number 34. ITV3 +1, currently on channel 34, will move to channel 58, in turn forcing ITV Be +1 down to channel 97. Both ITV3 +1 and ITV Be +1 are part time channels, which are likely to reduce hours to accommodate Merit.
The exact programme line-up is currently unknown, but Merit will specialise on cookery and gardening programmes. It is also unclear if the channel will join other platforms.
Additionally, Now 70s is returning to Freeview, still on channel 78, but coverage is limited to the Manchester area.
The Freeview COM7 and COM8 multiplex reshuffle has now been completed, with the COM8 multiplex now switched off. Both multiplexes were temporary multiplexes, to provide additional Freeview capacity between the digital switchover and launch of 5G services.
As a result of the COM8 closure, some +1 and HD services have left Freeview, although the normal versions of the channels continue. COM7 continues for the time being, accommodating services such as Forces TV and Freesports, along with Quest HD and additional BBC HD services.
CCXTV (channel 23) has moved frequencies on Freeview, from the COM5 multiplex to COM4. Hochanda (channel 85) has made the opposite move. A re-tune may be required to re-instate the channels, with the old version temporarily available on channel numbers 784 and 785.
Hochanda is also extending its broadcast hours from 7am to 7pm, to 7am to 10pm. As the channel time shares, the frequency move is likely to be required in order to facilitate the broadcast hours extension.
Additionally, I understand that Yesterday +1 is likely to be extending its broadcast hours to full time, but this is unconfirmed.