COM7 Closure Implications

The temporary terrestrial (Freeview) multiplex COM7 is set to close in June, to allow for the frequencies to be used for mobile phone networks. The frequency is one of those in the 700 MHz band that has now largely been cleared for %G mobile phone use, with the closure of COM7 to complete the process.

This will mean some Freeview viewers will lose some channels. I say some, as COM7 currently broadcasts to a limited area, and by using the DVB-T2 transmission method is only available those with compatible equipment (usually branded Freeview HD or Freeview Play).

COM7 currently broadcasts a mix of HD (high definition) and standard definition channels, largely HD simulcasts and plus 1 timeshifts. However, Freesports, Now 80s, That’s TV (UK version), ‘pop-up’ temporary service That’s Music, Forces TV, and the recently moved Together TV are all ‘unique’ to this multiplex.

In total, some viewers may lose up to 15 channels, on the assumption that no channels will be re-accommodated on other multiplexes. Exact changes are yet to be revealed (or at least to reach me), so the exact number of closures may change.  There is not enough spare capacity to accommodate all services on other multiplexes, so at least some will close.

It is up to the channel owners and transmitter network providers to decide who gets available vacant capacity. There is only one remaining DVB-T2 multiplex (BBC B/PSB3), and that is current full. This means the HD simulcasts will close, but may appear in the future if an existing multiplex converts to DVB-T2.

That leaves the standard definition channels, of which 3 are time shift versions of existing channels so are unlikely to be retained. That’s Music is a pop-up service, so will also close, leaving 6 channels needing capacity. It is unlikely that there is enough national capacity to keep all 6 on-air.

Time will tell if any of the services affected by the COM7 closure will continue broadcasting on Freeview, but most are available on other platforms such as satellite which are unaffected by the terrestrial changes.

That’s 60s For Valentines

Apologies for the delay in this post due to personal commitments.

Over the Valentines weekend of February 13th/14th, music service That’s TV re-branded as That’s 60s for the occasion, temporarily flipping to an advert free format of 60s music.

Traditionally showing music videos from the 1970s and 80s, the channel is introducing music from the 40s, 50s, and 60s for the first time, alongside local news provision.

Localised versions of That’s TV are available in some areas on Freeview channel 7 or 8, with national streamed version of the channel available on the Vision TV portal on channel number 264.

That’s TV Goes Festive

That’s TV, a network of 20 local and regional TV stations has temporarily become That’s Christmas. The seasonal service is offering a festive mix of classic drama and music.

That’s TV has recently become a music led service, maintaining local news and information during weeks, albeit in reduce amounts compared to when the channel first launched. Music is from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, with the channel found in some areas on Freeview, either on channel number 7 or 8.

This format appears to be successful, as in October 2020, the combined network attracted 4 million viewers. This is it’s highest ever reach, with the channel currently the most popular music based TV channel in the UK.