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Partial change for Freeview HD channel numbering system

Most HD channels on Freeview will continue to be assigned channels 101-119 for at least another 18 months. For the time being only children's and adult HD channels will be allowed to be substituted with standard definition counterparts.

Digital UK, the organisation responsible for the channel numbering system on digital terrestrial television, which affects viewers with Freeview, YouView and BT Vision+ receivers, today published its final statement on a consultation that took place earlier this year.

It noted that "many viewers would currently derive limited benefit from HD substitution, and in order to support the establishment of HD on the platform we see a benefit in continuing to aggregate HD channels together within the HD genre for the present." It belived that "this approach may aid discoverability of HD content as the platform’s HD offering expands"

Under the new policy, all current and future Freeview HD channels, with the exception of children's and adult HD channels, will be allocated a channel number between 101 and 119. Digital UK has confirmed that HD versions of Public Service Broadcaster channels listed in the Communications Act 2003 (e.g. Channel 5, BBC channels) will be offered the highest ranking, lowest available channel number at the time one of these channels applies for a number. No channel numbers will be reserved for this purpose.

Currently, the next set of channels after the HD channels are the adult channels. To avoid children's channels launching on numbers below the adult channels, these services, such as the forthcoming CBBC HD and CBeebies HD channels will be assigned channel numbers within the current children's genre on Freeview (channels 70-79). HD channel substitution will be allowed, so that CBBC HD could appear on channel 70 on Freeview HD devices and CBeebies HD on channel 71, with the standard definition versions being "parked" at a lower number toward the bottom of the channel listings. It will be up to the BBC to decide whether it wishes to do this, however in the consultation responses, the BBC indicated that it prefered substitution, also known as "SD/HD channel swaps".

There are currently no adult HD channels proposed to join Freeview HD at this stage. In the event such a channel was to be allocated a number, it would join the adult section between channels 170 and 199. Adult HD channels would be permitted to replace any SD simulcast, but unlike the children's channels, the SD version would have to be "parked" between channels 170-199.


Digital UK has confirmed that it will review the situation again in around 18 month's time (late 2014 or early 2015), once the additional Freeview HD channels planned for next year have launched.

See Also:
Broadcasters have their say on Freeview HD channel proposals >
See which broadcasters wanted to see standard definition channels substituted with HD ones... (19/07/2013)


  1. On Freeview if they want to be prehistoric about it as BBC Three and Four is between 005 and 019 they could give them 107 and 109 (however expect first numbers first e.g. 105+).

    BBC Three (7) and BBC Four (9) as "nationalised streams" (no opt outs) are equally capable along with CBeebies and CBBC HD

    BBC News HD give them on Freeview anyways LCN 106 or 108 till either ITV2 HD wants and HAS capacity to launch on 106 OR they reviewed and given more freedom so that they can enable the swap with the SD version on LCN 80 or given 180!

    Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media with 4HD and Channel 5 HD also have the channel having near zero PSB commitments except having national news and localisation to them is regional advertising! Channel 5 HD also need to embrace HD for Freesat and Freeview to be allowed 5/105!

    BBC One and ITV will also be a problem for HD due to regionalisation so got to justify the expense but unlike every other PSB channel 1-5/101-105 they actually regional!

  2. Why is Digital UK & Freeview always "reactive" instead of "proactive"?

    Tell you what, lets wait until its a mess again and then we can see if we can tidy it up.. again.. Its not rocket science.


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