Consultation to determine future Freeview channel numbering system published today

(update 22:12)
Today saw the publication of the second phase of a consultation on the channel numbering system on Digital Terrestrial Television, predominately used by Freeview services. The first phase took place last year.

The numbering system is administered by DMOL - Digital Multiplex Operators Limited, with Arqiva, ITV plc and the BBC the main stakeholders - but run as an independant organisation.

The channel numbering system has been under the spotlight recently, as shopping channels have appeared irregularly throughout the general entertainment section, and regular services such as Food Network are hidden down the channel list. DMOL has said it is not proposing  to launch a dedicated shopping genre following stiff opposition from shopping channels. Meanwhile, there has been criticism about the location of adult services on Freeview.

Local TV providers have complained about their allocation on channel 200, which looks set to be changed to channels 8 and 45, pending the outcome of the consultation.

Interim reshuffle in April
In the meantime, it appears that the only existing local TV service on Freeview, Channel M of Manchester will move to channel 75, between the childrens and news channels from mid-April, when an interim reshuffle of the adult channels will also take place. (For more information on the interim changes click here)

HD and IPTV services from Autumn
The consultation proposes the moving of HD channels to channel 100 upward, with IPTV channels located channel 400-499. This segment of channel numbers would also be used by new YouView services. IPTV channels would not be allocated by DMOL, but individual smart TV platforms such as YouView would be free to use this range for their IPTV channels, and as such only smart TVs and boxes would find channels in the 400s.

1-99 General Entertainment including Teleshopping and local TV channels
100-109 HD channels 
110-119 Children's channels
120-139 News channels
200-299 Text and MHEG channels
300-349 Adult
350-399 Interactive (red button) services
400-499 IPTV services
700-750 Radio

The exact line up of individual channel numbers will be confirmed closer to the time, and will be subject to the responses of the current consultation, and dependant on which channels launch or leave digital terrestrial television / Freeview / Top Up TV between now and the autumn. Any channel lists showing proposed numbering from the Autumn are speculative.

To accompany the consultation, DMOL has published the following documents , and has welcomed responses from all stakeholders by 5:00 pm, Thursday 24th May 2012. The outcome of the consultation is expected end of June/early July.

Documents (hosted by DMOL website):
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  1. It should be nboted that 8 & 45 are reserved solely for the "Channel 6" local services. Other local services (such as Channel M, RTÉ1) will be allocated as per national channels, but might get a "reused" LCN.

    Also Connect will be in the MHEG-IC block starting at 225, not in the 400s which is a proposed (IMHO unnecessary) non-DMOL administered range for services such as YouView (still haven't figured out why YouView can't use the 900s)

  2. Hi Chris. Thanks for the clarification - although I wouldn't call RTE1 on the Northern Ireland Mini Mux a local service :)

    Channel 900 upward is receiver specific: Some receivers allocate (or used to allocate) analogue TV on channel 900 upward, and some receivers use the 900 range as spillover from the 800 duplicates* , so the use of channel 900-999 would be inappropriate

    *I've encounted a receiver that stored Waltham transmitter services in the normal slots and then Sutton Coldfield, Nottingham and some Belmont from 800 onward - over 150 duplicates received going well into the 900s!!!