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Al Jazeera launches Arabic service on Freeview

Business report from Al Jazeera Arabic - now on Freeview
Freeview's first Arabic language TV channel has gone live today with the unexpected addition of Al Jazeera Arabic.

It is the first time a foreign language channel has been broadcast outside of Manchester on the UK's terrestrial TV network. 

The Arabic news channel is available on Freeview channel 84, next to its English language counterpart on channel 83. Although the channel is in standard definition, it is only available to viewers with a Freeview HD or YouView receiver who live in areas where BBC Four HD and BBC News HD are already available through an aerial.

Al Jazeera Arabic is carried on the new "COM7" multiplex, which uses the DVB-T2 broadcast standard that only Freeview HD certified receivers can decode. COM7 also carries the HD version of sister channel Al Jazeera English, as well as three of the new BBC HD channels.

It is the first time a standard definition channel has launched on a DVB-T2 multiplex outside of Northern Ireland.

The channel is broadcast in a so-called "3/4 resolution" of 544x576. A full resolution standard definition channel is 720x576. This is a controversial decision because the channel will generally only be seen on HD TVs, where the picture may appear soft.

COM7 was rolled out to 50% of UK homes on the 10th December, with a further roll-out scheduled in the coming months to reach 70% of homes by the start of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.

  • Al Jazeera Arabic is already available on Virgin Media channel 831, but not via Sky or Freesat.

 Briefing: Freeview channels broadcasting via DVB-T2


Al Jazeera Arabic on Freeview channel 84.