Sky Arts on Freeview, What We Know So Far

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.

Further Freeview Changes

Pick +1 has been removed from Freeview (around 12pm), and was broadcast on COM7, one of the temporary multiplexes.

I also have further information, though not yet confirmed by other news sites, that Freesports, Forces TV, and Now 80s are also moving from the temporary multiplexes. The expect changes are summarised below, and are due to take place on the 22nd June.

Channel (No.) Current Multiplex Expected Change
Forces TV (93) COM8 Move to COM6
Freesports (64) COM8 Move to COM5
Now 80s (86) COM8 Move to COM6

All three channels had expected to move to temp. multiplex COM7 when COM8 closes. However, these channels are one of only a few non +1 of HD channels broadcast on COM7/COM8, and the move to permanent multiplexes suggest that COM7 is also expected to close soon.

Changes for Pick Ahead of Live Football

Sky owned Pick has made a few changes ahead of the broadcast of live football from Friday.

The most noticeable change is a tweak to the brand, with the Sky Pick name being adopted, along with a new logo in the corporate Sky style. This is likely to be the first time viewers will have been made aware of the channel’s owners.

New high-definition (HD) feeds have appeared. On satellite, a new HD outlet has opened, and is available on both Sky and Freesat on a UK spot beam, without encryption.

The use of a UK spot beam is crucial, as the Premier League (and other sports) have carriage deals with other broadcasters in other countries. Therefore, if the channel was carried on a Europe wide beam, it would need to be encrypted to protect the rights of other broadcasters.

This means that the standard definition version on Freesat will not carry football, as the channel is available on a Europe wide footprint. Additionally, the +1 timeshifts on both Sky and Freesat will also not carry football, neither will the Irish versions of the channel.

On Virgin Media, Sky Pick has switched to HD, although viewers may not immediately be aware as the HD suffix has not been added to the channel name.

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.