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At a glance: Freeview HD and YouView channel allocation changes

Digital UK today outlined how it would allocate channel numbers to Freeview HD channels in the future, ahead of new HD channels launching on Freeview early 2014. It also confirmed it would keep channels 400-599 clear for internet delivered channels to YouView boxes, such as those offered by BT TV and TalkTalk.

Here's what it means at a glance:

Main points at a glance
Children’s channels
CBBC HD and CBeebies HD will be allowed to launch in this section. 

The new Digital UK rules allow the BBC to request standard definition substitution, meaning CBBC HD could launch on channel 70. The standard definition version would then be “parked” near the bottom of your channel line-up.

Current Freeview HD channels
These won’t be changing. Digital UK notes that at the moment, it can’t swap most of the services, as the HD channels do not have the same level of regionality. 

This section will be reviewed in around 18 months’ time.

Future Freeview HD channels (not adult or children’s HD channels)
These channels will be assigned a channel number in this range. PSB HD channels (including BBC channels and C5HD) will be assigned the highest ranking, lowest available number at the time they apply for a number, but numbers will not be reserved specifically for them in advance. 

a516digital understands that this decision means that Channel 5 HD can’t be guaranteed 105 if another PSB HD channel launches beforehand.

HD channels in this section won’t be allowed to swap with, or substitute any standard definition counterparts.

For example, if 4seven HD launches (it has an Ofcom licence to broadcast on Freeview), it can’t swap with 4seven on channel 47, or substitute 4seven in any way.

Other channels destined for this section are: BBC Three HD,  BBC Four HD and BBC News HD.

This section will be reviewed in around 18 months’ time.

Adult channels
Should any HD Adult channels launch (none have been confirmed), these will be confined to this area of the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG).

HD channels will be allowed to swap with any standard definition simulcasts. All swapping will be done in this channel range.

IP (YouView) channels
Channels exclusive to YouView, or to BT TV / TalkTalk TV via YouView have now been assigned this channel range. Already BT TV via Infinity uses this channel range for BT Sport.

In essence, YouView viewers get Freeview channels - i.e. services between channels 1 and 399 as well as 700-799, plus any extra channels that YouView/BT/TalkTalk provide between channels 400-599. This is to ensure that Freeview channel numbers do not clash with YouView/BT/TalkTalk exclusive channels.


  1. The Adult Genre if David Cameron gets it own way will be removed as "Adult" is harmful!

    Gambling hours as far as I concerned is morally wrong when it goes too far!

    BBC News should be allowed to SD/HD swap or allow LCN 180. Cameron could get his own way 170-199 could vanish!

  2. On BT TV/Vision, Sky Sports 2 is on 42 still (IPTV delivered) and thus we are unable to receive Travel Channel.

    BT TV/Vision should also use 101-104 for the HD versions of the PSB channels, as the broadcast versions are not available with the BT box (non Freeview HD). Currently they are on 851-854.

    The BT Sports (and ESPN) channels are the only ones in the 400-599 range (507-512). The IP-devilvered subscription channels on BT TV/Vision are on channels from 855. There are large gaps in the LCN's.


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