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BBC Red Button service on Freeview could move to make way for more YouView channels

Digital UK is consulting on proposals to move BBC Red Button streams down the Freeview channel list, in order to make way for a larger range of channel numbers reserved for YouView channels.

Freeview and YouView share the same channel numbering system for terrestrially delivered services. Digital UK is responsible for allocating channel numbers for services that use terrestrial bandwidth.

Currently, Digital UK has reserved channels 400 to 599 for YouView's internet delivered channels, available to viewers with either BT TV or TalkTalk TV, and reserved for local YouView providers such as Hull's KC Home for potential future use. YouView allocates channel numbers within this range.

Channels 1-399 and 600-799 are currently reserved for terrestrial broadcast services, mostly those that are part of the Freeview service. Neither YouView or Digital UK can allocate numbers outside of their own ranges so as to avoid channel number clashes.

YouView has requested that it be allocated more channels as it says that the current channel number allocation is near capacity as a result of a quicker than anticipated rise in demand for internet channel numbers. YouView says it expects to run out of channel numbers in its "general entertainment genre" (channels 400-499) in the next few months.

As a consequence, the interactive/red button service section of the Freeview and YouView TV guide - of which the BBC is currently the only user - would be assigned channels 600-620. BBC Red Button 301 could, according to the proposals, move to channel 600, or 601.

The BBC has confirmed it is supportive of Digital UK consulting on moving its red button services to the proposed new position.

The consultation runs until the 17th June. Digital UK has already announced a reshuffle of Freeview channel numbers on the 3rd September 2014. Depending on the outcome of the consultation, red button streams could join news and children's channels in changing Freeview channel numbers in a single big reshuffle.


  1. Why can't Youview take the 600s rather than the 300s, especially as they're supposed to be disassociating themselves from Freeview.

    Indeed surely the best solution would be to let them have 1001+. If Youview boxes can't handle it that's their problem, not Freeviews!

  2. BT and TalkTalk have greater control over the development of YouView under the new arrangement, but the broadcasters behind Digital UK still have stakes in YouView.

  3. It seems that it is well past the time when all broadcasters need to get together to agree a British Standard Channel Numbering scheme under which each program has a unique channel number, be it Freeview. Freesat, Virgin, Sky or any other platform. The 999 slots should be sufficient for our needs for years to come. This would be a long awaited simplification for us befuddled viewers.


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