Film4+1 has returned to Freeview after a six year gap.
The channel has now launched on Freeview channel 45, where for the past four weeks a caption announcing its return has appeared. Film4+1 will allow Freeviewers to timeshift a movie by one hour, potentially helping avoid programme clashes at 9pm. Recent films on the channel include the award-winning Avatar.
Film4+1 is using the former Film4 capacity. The main Film4 service has changed multiplexes following technical changes rolled out across the UK in July, allowing the channel to use capacity next to parent station Channel 4. This means that everyone with Freeview, even in areas with a reduced basic channel line-up, is able to watch Film4 on channel 15 after a retune. Film4+1 is available to around 90% of the UK population on Freeview, but is also carried on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media.
As a consequence of the changes, viewers had been advised by the channel since 1st August 2013 to retune in order to continue watching Film4 on channel 15. Viewers who did not retune found an on-screen message about the changes cover part of the screen. Following a retune the version of Film4 with the message moved to channel 791, with the new version taking over channel 15. Some viewers needed to do a full first time installation to restore Film4, while some newer receivers automatically swapped to the new version of Film4.
It is understood that the return of Film4+1 is due to an ongoing carriage contract between Channel 4 and multiplex operator Arqiva for capacity on the "COM6/Arqiva B" digital multiplex, previously used for the main Film4 service. Whether Channel 4 has long-term plans for that Freeview slot, or whether Film4+1 will vanish when the carriage contact ends remains to be seen.
Film4+1 was last on Freeview between 2006 and 2007. It was removed in August 2007 to provide capacity for the launch of Channel 4+1.