Free to Air Premier League

With the remaining Premier League football matches to be held behind closed doors, a number of broadcasters have announced they will showing games free to air.

The BBC will broadcast four games live, in addition to its Match of the Day highlights programmes. The channel to show these matches is not known, but is likely to be BBC One or the BBC Red Button service.

Sky owned free-to-air channel Pick will be showing 25 games live, with the first being Everton v Liverpool, which will also be simulcast on Sky Sports.

Amazon will be streaming 4 matches on its platform Amazon Prime platform, without the need for subscription. The exact matches are yet to be announced.

This leaves BT Sport as the only rights holder to have not announced any free to air coverage.

Including the free to air matches and those as part of subscription services, all remaining Premier League games will be televised live.

BBC to Resume Production

The BBC is to resume production of Top Gear and EastEnders, two of its popular entertainment shows. Both are expected to resume at the end of the month.

Strict social distancing measures will be in force, complying with current government guidelines. Crews will be limited, with cast members responsible for their own hair and make up.

Additionally, ITV panel show Loose Women has also resumed production. Following social distancing, there are only three panel members at the table. The remaining fourth member contributes via video link. For obvious reasons, there is no studio audience.

Sewing Street Launches

A sewing channel themed shopping channel has returned to Freeview channel 73, under the name Sewing Street. Sewing Street launched on Friday and is being operated by Gemporia who reacquired the Jewellery Maker channel from Immediate Media, after the latter decided to exit the TV market.

Channel 73 was previously home to Sewing Quarter which has now closed. Gemporia took over the Freeview slot, but not the Sky slot or the Sewing Quarter website. However, a Sky launch for Sewing Street is planned.

Sewing Quarter itself has now closed, but the management behind the channel have transferred to Sewing Street.

Retro Movies Removed from Satellite

Retro Movies appears to have stopped broadcasting on satellite. Although still listed on Sky and Freesat EPGs, the satellite feed has went ‘dark’ with no programmes or other content being broadcast.

According to website RXTV Log, Retro Movies is still available as part of Channelbox on Freeview 271, as a streamed channel on devices connected to the internet.

There has been no official word from Retro Movies. Their website (at time of publication) is still live, but the schedule doesn’t list any programmes beyond Friday 24th January.

Talking Pictures, Sony Movies Classic and TCM Movies are alternative channels for those wishing to view older films.

Freeview Updates

There have been a number of changes to the Freeview service over the past few days, which are summarised below.

Taking effect from yesterday (Wednesday 8th January 2020), arts and craft channel Hochanda has reverted to broadcasting between 7am and 7pm on Freeview. The channel started broadcasting 24 hours a day in Autumn 2019, but the cost of extended hours of carriage on Freeview has proven unsustainable.

PBS America has now completely its frequency move, and is now available to 90% of the population on channel 91. As previously announced Paramount Network and 5Spike have now merged into the new version of Paramount Network. Sony Movies Classic has replaced seasonal channel Sony Movies Christmas, with a corresponding change to the +1 channel.

Paramount Network +1 has launched on channel 94, and CBS Justice +1 has launched on channel 69. Both are on the soon to close temporary multiplexes, so have limited coverage and are only available on DVB-T2 (HD, Freeview Play etc) equipment.

Smithsonian Channel (Smithsonian and ViacomCBS joint venture) has changed channel number to 57, and also frequency, meaning the channel now reaches 90% of the population. 5Select has moved up 1 slot to become channel 54, with similar moves for 5Star +1 (now on 55), and 5USA +1 (now on 56).

Upcoming Freeview Changes

There will be changes to Freeview services on 6th/7th January. Some services will only be moving to a new channel number, whilst others will be moving to new frequencies.

As some channels are moving frequency, a retune will be required to restore missing channel. Viewers receiving Freeview from a relay are not expected to be affected, as the changes only affect channels on the commercial frequencies (Arqiva A & B, SDN, COM7 & 8).

Full details of channel changes have been difficult to pin down, as reports have been rather conflicting. As such, a summary of the changes will be posted here after the event.

Sewing Quarter to Close TV Channel

Shopping channel Sewing Quarter is to close, following its owner Immediate Media’s decision to exit from the TV business. Sister channel Jewellery Maker is being sold to Gemporia, who originally launched the channel.

The Sewing Quarter TV channel will close later this month, with discussions regarding the sale of the remaining business ongoing. The website will continue to take orders. Customers that have gift cards, vouchers, or credit will need to use these before 17th January 2020.

Sewing Quarter was only launched in 2017, and is currently available Freeview 73, Sky 687, and online.

5Spike to Merge with Paramount Network

ViacomCBS owned 5Spike and Paramount Network are set to merge. 5Spike will close, with Paramount Network becoming a male skewed action and reality channel. The changes will take place on Tuesday 7th January 2020.

On platforms where Paramount Network occupies a lower channel number than 5Spike, Paramount Network will take over 5Spikes channel number.

On satellite, Paramount Network is moving to Channel 5’s main transponder. The changes will take effect automatically, and viewers should not need to take any action to continue watching Paramount Network.

5Spike first launched as Spike in 2015, with Paramount Network appearing on UK screens in 2018.

TBN Moves on Freeview

TBN UK has moved to the BBC B HD multiplex, giving the channel a near UK wider coverage on Freeview. The channel broadcasts religious programming, and is available on channel number 65.

Although not in HD, Freeview HD (DVB-T2) equipement is required to view the channel.

Freeview Reshuffle

A number of changes have taken place on Freeview recently.

Starting with Channel 4, Film 4 +1, E4 +1, and More 4 +1 have moved to different frequencies. E4 +1 and Film 4 +1 have swapped places. E4 +1 now has expanded coverage, and is now available on PSB2 (D3&4), meaning the channel is now available from all transmitters. Film 4 +1 has made the opposite move, and can now be found on COM4. As a consequence, this channel can only be found on main transmitters, with around 90% coverage.

More 4 +1 has been moved from PSB3 (BBC B), the HD multiplex, to COM7. COM7 is one of two temporary multiplexes, currently being phased out to make way for 5G mobile phone services. The space vacated is currently vacant, with a suggestion that the capacity might be used for another HD service (More 4 +1 is standard definition only).

PBS America has also moved from temporary multiplex COM8 to COM6, expanding its coverage area. The channel is available from 1pm to 11pm, and can be found on channel 91. PBS America +1 has launched using the vacated capacity on COM8, and is available 24 hours a day on channel 93.

Together TV has made a less dramatic move. Frequencies have stayed the same, but the channel has moved slightly up the list, and is now on channel 88. Together TV+1 can now be found on channel 89.