FAQ: Freeview channel changes - March 2017



On 15th March, a number of technical changes took place on Freeview, with some channels moving and some channels joining the service for the first time.

This has prompted a number of queries from readers about missing channels to questions about coverage, retuning and who is responsible for the changes. The changes also affect viewers using an EE TV box, YouView box (for BT TV, TalkTalk TV and Plusnet TV) as well as the NOW TV Smart Box, as they all piggyback on Freeview for the reception of some channels.

Here are some answers to your frequently asked Freeview questions this week including what's happening with Tiny POP, True Movies and Quest+1. We endeavour to provide some of the technical background to the changes that broadcasters don't normally elaborate on:

Why have some channels changed?
There is a limited amount of space on Freeview. Currently, new entrants either take up currently vacant capacity with low UK coverage or replace an existing channel with high UK coverage.

Freeview is not directly responsible for these changes - it is up to channel operators to obtain a carriage agreement with the multiplex operators.

Why can't I receive all Freeview channels?
Freeview consists of a service of several bundles of channels. The bundle of channels - called multiplexes - have different coverage. Some are national, some near national and there's one that only covers cities and urban areas that have a local TV channel.

Additionally, Freeview is currently transitioning to a newer technology - called DVB-T2 - meaning that some channels can only be received on the newest receivers: those that support Freeview HD, Freeview Play, EE TV or YouView, for example.

What's happened to Tiny POP?
I've retuned and I still cannot get Tiny POP?
TinyPOP has reduced its coverage on Freeview. It is advising viewers to retune. But not everyone can continue watching.

On the 15th March, it moved from a multiplex (a bundle of channels) that covers around 90% of the UK to the local TV multiplex, which reaches around two thirds of the UK. 

In layman's terms, the children's channel now piggybacks on the local TV signal. If you have a local TV service in your area on Freeview channel 7 (channel 8 in London, Wales and Scotland) you should continue to receive Tiny POP in your area. If you don't, Tiny POP won't be available.

Areas covered by the local TV multiplex include: Basingstoke, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby & Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Oxford, Preston, Reading, parts of the Solent area, Sheffield. Swansea, Teesside, Tyne and Wear, with coverage coming soon to Aberdeen, Ayr and Dundee.

(Basingstoke, Reading and Teesside will be getting a local TV service soon, the signal is already live.)

YouView box users can catch-up on TinyPOP programmes via the Kix/POP/Tiny POP on-demand service, regardless of whether or not they can still receive TinyPOP.

Why can't I watch Quest+1?
Why is Quest+1 not 24/7 anymore?

[Update- June 2017: Quest has secured capacity to broadcast Quest+1 from 7pm reversing part of the change made earlier in the year. But viewers need to retune to restore the channel.]



What's happened to CBS Drama?
CBS Drama is now available to a wider Freeview audience. It has boosted its coverage by making a frequency change to a new multiplex. Providing you are within the 90% of the UK that can receive the signal, you should now see CBS Drama on channel 71 following a retune (some devices retune automatically).

I've been told Freeview now broadcasts Hindi-language channels, but I can't receive them.
There are three Hindi-language channels now available on Freeview: Rishtey on channel 77, Rishtey Cineplex on channel 88 and Colors HD on channel 114.

Coverage of these channels reaches up to 3/4 of the UK. But you need to have a Freeview device that supports "DVB-T2" or Freeview HD broadcasts: devices supporting Freeview HD or Freeview Play as well as YouView, EE TV and NOW TV Smart Boxes all support the DVB-T2 signal.

To find out which Freeview channels are available in your area, please visit the Freeview website postcode checker.

What's happened to True Movies?
The channel, which is only available in some locations on channel 74, has reduced its broadcast hours and is now on-air between 2100 and 0500. Owner Sony Pictures Television has done this so that True Movies and children's channel Kix can share Freeview bandwidth.

Both channels originally had their own 24/7 slots, but Sony had to shuffle some of their channels to make room for Tiny POP.

True Movies is still available 24/7 on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media.

Why isn't TruTV available after midnight on Freeview?
Between 00:00 and 03:00, the channel's bandwidth is being used to carry another service, which means TruTV now goes off-air at midnight.

TruTV has gone through a troubled few months, with its previous owners putting the channel up for sale and threatening closure if a buyer was not found. During this process, all assets of the channel were reviewed, including carriage agreements and channel number allocations. While the channel has been saved - for now - following a takeover by Sony Pictures Television, it is available for fewer hours on Freeview. As Sony Pictures Television already operates True Crime, with similar content as TruTV, there are questions about the long-term future of the channel.

How do I get Quest Red?
Quest Red is now available on channel 38, but you may need to do a retune. Old Freeview receivers may need to go through a "first time installation" procedure, while newer Freeview receivers should handle the change automatically.
More about receiving Quest Red here...


Where can I go for further assistance on retuning?


a516digital is an independent service not affiliated with any platform operator or broadcaster. The information on this page has been gathered from various broadcasters and does not express the views or opinions of Freeview. The information on this page reflects the situation as of 17/03/2017 unless stated.





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4 comments:

  1. It would help if you quoted the old and new muxes on any channel change. Just saying it has reduced or increased coverage isn't anywhere near as clear as saying a channel has moved from COM4 to COM7 (for example).

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    1. Many readers who have submitted questions wouldn't know the names of the multiplexes that carry Freeview channels or know much about how Freeview channels reach their homes, so the answers do need to reflect this.

      For readers requiring a more detailed breakdown of the recent changes, please see the Freeview Updates page at http://www.a516digital.com/p/freeview-updates.html

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    2. I checked your Freeview Updates page before posting my question. It doesn't say old mux and new mux for each channel change, or at least it didn't when I checked a few days ago.

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    3. The information on that page was updated within 90 minutes of the changes happening on 15/3/2017 and clearly highlights frequency changes between muxes.

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