Al Jazeera to go 24/7 on Freeview

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Doha-based international news channel Al Jazeera English will go 24 hours a day on Freeview channel 83 from 19th September 2012, the day of the planned Freeview EPG reshuffle. The news was confirmed earlier by Al Jazeera on Twitter.

The channel shot to fame during its coverage of the Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

Having originally joined Freeview on channel 89 in the summer of 2010, it changed channel numbers last month. For the past few weeks, the channel has been divided across on channels 83 and 84, operating on two shifts: 0600-0800 on channel 84 and 1800-2300 on channel 83. The new 24 hour service will signal the end of the second service on channel 84.

It is not known if the channel will be 24/7 in pre switchover regions. Food Network's new extended Freeview service, which launched in July, is for example, not available in pre-switchover areas. Should any anomaly occur, it would be short-lived as Tyne Tees completes switchover the following week and Northern Ireland next month.

Any other changes?
If the channel remains on its current digital multiplex, it is possible that another service will have to move to another multiplex or reduce broadcast hours, as the Arqiva B multiplex is already using full capacity. A likely candidate is Big Deal, which has traditionally filled surplus capacity on either of Arqiva's two multiplexes with teleshopping or participation TV.
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