[ARCHIVE] BBC HD channel information: Freeview and YouView

The BBC launches five new HD channels on Freeview HD and YouView on the 10th December, but some viewers will need to take action to receive some or all of these services.

Availability is subject to coverage from local transmitters. YouView users receive the HD channels via the Freeview platform.

All viewers with Freeview HD and YouView will be able to receive BBC Three HD and CBBC HD on channels 105 and 73 respectively from tomorrow. Since October, the BBC has broadcast "coming soon slates" on these channels, and any viewer that has retuned their Freeview HD or YouView receiver since then will see the channels appear in the line-up.

  • ACTION REQUIRED: If you have Freeview HD or YouView, and do not have channels 73 or 105 in the line up, you should retune.

Some viewers with Freeview HD and YouView will also be able to receive BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and BBC News HD, but coverage is limited.

  • See "Why is coverage limited for some of the BBC HD channels?" below for more details.


* limited coverage
Find out more about Freeview HD here >

Will there be an HD/SD channel swap, like on Sky and (in 2014) on Freesat?
The Freeview service is managed by Digital UK, who earlier this year confirmed that it will not allow HD services to swap or replace their standard definition counterparts. This policy is set to be reviewed in 2015. The BBC wanted to be able to swap or substitute channels.

Why is coverage limited for some of the BBC HD channels?
The BBC has now filled all of its own slots on Freeview HD. BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and BBC News HD are using capacity on commercial operator Arqiva's new Freeview HD service.

The new, Arqiva-operated service, began roll-out on the 26th November. By the end of the 10th December, the signal will cover around 50% of UK households.

By mid-2014, the service will cover around 70% of UK households.

You can check if your area is served, or will be served at www.digitaluk.co.uk/coveragechecker 
Once you've entered your postcode, look at the "channels" section.

A list showing where this extra service is being rolled out is found here >

You will be able to retune your Freeview HD device once the service has gone live (or retune now if already available in your area). 2014 dates are still not confirmed, but the Digital UK coverage checker linked to above will be updated when exact dates are known.

For viewers outside of the proposed coverage area:
  • There are currently no plans to increase coverage above 70% of households.
  • This is because Ofcom is reviewing proposals to clear further TV frequencies for mobile broadband later this decade.
  • Ofcom permitted the Arqiva-operated Freeview HD service on the basis that it was a temporary use of frequencies until final plans for the TV frequency band are confirmed.
  • Further announcements about this possible clearance will follow in 2014 and 2015.
  • The situation is deterring terrestrial TV infrastructure owners from spending substantial amounts increasing coverage, until more is known.
  • Should Ofcom order a clearance of more terrestrial TV frequencies, a second "digital switchover" may occur when all services move to the Freeview HD technical standard within the next 10 years. At this point, it is possible that the new BBC HD channels will be switched to frequencies covering more of the population.
  • The BBC is offering its HD channels through Freesat, Sky, cable and via BT Vision+ to viewers outside of the Freeview HD coverage area, and HD programmes will appear on the iPlayer.
More information:
Sky and Virgin Media HD viewers >
Freesat HD viewers >
BT Vision+ viewers >

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