Partial change for Freeview HD channel numbering system
Digital UK, the organisation responsible for the channel numbering system on digital terrestrial television, which affects viewers with Freeview, YouView and BT Vision+ receivers, today published its final statement on a consultation that took place earlier this year.
It noted that "many viewers would currently derive limited benefit from HD substitution, and in order to support the establishment of HD on the platform we see a benefit in continuing to aggregate HD channels together within the HD genre for the present." It belived that "this approach may aid discoverability of HD content as the platform’s HD offering expands"
Under the new policy, all current and future Freeview HD channels, with the exception of children's and adult HD channels, will be allocated a channel number between 101 and 119. Digital UK has confirmed that HD versions of Public Service Broadcaster channels listed in the Communications Act 2003 (e.g. Channel 5, BBC channels) will be offered the highest ranking, lowest available channel number at the time one of these channels applies for a number. No channel numbers will be reserved for this purpose.
Currently, the next set of channels after the HD channels are the adult channels. To avoid children's channels launching on numbers below the adult channels, these services, such as the forthcoming CBBC HD and CBeebies HD channels will be assigned channel numbers within the current children's genre on Freeview (channels 70-79). HD channel substitution will be allowed, so that CBBC HD could appear on channel 70 on Freeview HD devices and CBeebies HD on channel 71, with the standard definition versions being "parked" at a lower number toward the bottom of the channel listings. It will be up to the BBC to decide whether it wishes to do this, however in the consultation responses, the BBC indicated that it prefered substitution, also known as "SD/HD channel swaps".
There are currently no adult HD channels proposed to join Freeview HD at this stage. In the event such a channel was to be allocated a number, it would join the adult section between channels 170 and 199. Adult HD channels would be permitted to replace any SD simulcast, but unlike the children's channels, the SD version would have to be "parked" between channels 170-199.
CHANNEL NUMBER ALLOCATION CHANGES: At a glance >
Digital UK has confirmed that it will review the situation again in around 18 month's time (late 2014 or early 2015), once the additional Freeview HD channels planned for next year have launched.
Broadcasters have their say on Freeview HD channel proposals >
See which broadcasters wanted to see standard definition channels substituted with HD ones... (19/07/2013)