2 become 1: Final countdown for the new look Sony Movie Channel
Sony Pictures Television is making final preparations ahead of Tuesday's launch of a new look Sony Movie Channel, which absorbs the Movie Mix channel carried on Freeview and Virgin Media to create a single multi-platform service.
The new look for the channel (pictured above), which is currently distributed on Sky and TVPlayer, brings the branding and logo in line with other Sony-branded channels and also marks the culmination of a four year move to launch a Sony-branded TV channel on Freeview.
Ahead of the switch, which was confirmed by Sony in December, Movie Mix and Sony Movie Channel are sharing a large bulk of their schedules, with a record number of films this week going out on both channels at the same time. From the 10th January, a new enhanced schedule goes live, featuring the 1998 film Godzilla at 9pm. The first weekend of the new schedule on 14th and 15th January features a strand of romantic comedies, dramas and fantasies through Saturday, including Maid in Manhattan, My Best Friend's Wedding and Twilight, while Sunday daytime features back-to-back family films including Muppets From Space, Matilda and Jumanji.
How to watch
The Sony Movie Channel is currently available on Sky channel 323 and via TVPlayer Plus.
From 10th January 2017, the channel absorbs the Movie Mix slots on Freeview channel 32 and Virgin 425. Through the Freeview tuner in YouView and EE TV receivers, the channel will become widely available to users of BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk and EE TV from the 10th on channel 32. The channel's Freeview signal has just over 90% population coverage.
Change long time coming
Sony first made its move on Freeview on the 17th January 2013, when the recently renamed MovieMix channel started simulcasting the now defunct Sony satellite channel More>Movies, on the same day that channel was rebranded from Men & Movies (not to be confused with Movies4Men, which still exists). Following a series of licence ownership changes from former owner Square 1 to a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television, ending with the Movie Mix Freeview licence being changed to Sony Movie Channel late last year, the scene was set for the end of Movie Mix, although both channels had been showing similar content since late March last year, when More>Movies was axed on satellite. The move was phased over a long period of time, allowing the channel to keep its Freeview channel number under Freeview channel allocation rules, which are now being relaxed in 2017 to make such channel changes easier.