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HD only channels on Freeview reserved new channel numbers in preparation for future HD changes

UPDATE | It's been decided that HD-only channels on Freeview will in future be allocated channel numbers among standard definition channels on the platform.

Following a consultation on the matter, Digital UK, the organisation responsible for allocating Freeview channel numbers, confirmed that a rule change had taken place allowing channels that broadcast in HD only be reserved channel numbers within the ranges previously only allocated to standard definition channels.

QVC+1 HD, the first HD-only channel to arrive on Freeview will benefit from the rule change, and has been reserved channel 75. But viewers won't see the channel move to 75 just yet:

A Digital UK spokesperson explained that the reservations will apply in the news and general entertainment sections in preparation for a possible HD/SD substitution in the future, which in itself will require a further consultation.

This means, contrary to the earlier version of this article, that any HD-only channels on Freeview will remain in the 101-119 channel range, but will also have slots reserved in the 1-99 and 130-149 range so that if the HD section is closed they will migrate to their reserved channel numbers.

The arrangement will ensure that HD-only channels aren't disadvantaged - without this arrangement they would have been tagged onto the end of the SD channel list in the event of the HD section closing.

For viewers it means that some channel numbers in the General Entertainment and News sections will remain empty until a further decision is made on the future of the HD section of the Freeview channel list.


  1. That's great. U usually delete SD versions & put HD ones in their place anyway. So the announced new line up I've already arranged! But it'll be good to not have to re-order some. 4seven HD should b included though and BBC's.

  2. Very good news and possibly SD/HD swapps planned in the future too!

  3. It would also be a good idea for the BBC to have Local Programming on there HD Channels like ITV does!

  4. Who broadcasts in HD only then other than QVC+1?

    To my mind this is a load of tosh. If anyone wants to watch an HD channel they just do, it doesn't matter where it is in the channel range of numbers does it?

    And where are all these channels going to go if ever they appear? When COM7/8 close down where's the capacity coming from? I can only assume that broadcasters will be forced to shut down SD transmissions and replace them with HD. Is that how it's going to work?

    I feel sorry for someone like TalkingPicuresTv because who wants to watch vintage films in HD? They'll look terrible as such stuff was never meant to be shown on modern technology.

    Seems to me this just means a number of re-tunes come the time just to move a few HD channels up the listings which to me is a Freeview waste of time because my box can do it manually already without putting up with blessed re-tunes.

    I think I need the Sky Freeview platform all of a sudden sigh.

    I've had a bad day but you'd hardly guess it, would you? Lol!

    1. It's important to stress that, for the time being, there's no change to actual channel numbers for viewers. Al Jazeera English is now also HD only, but their won't be any obligation for channels to switch to HD (although clearly many will in time, because that's the way things are moving).

  5. Still not convince a slot towards the end of the main EPG is better than being tagged on to the end of a dozen or so channels in the HD section. I think it would be better if rather than new HD only channels being able to launch in the main EPG that any channel switching to HD in the main section was allowed to keep their LCN should they close their SD stream.

    Really though what Freeview needs is a long term full plan rather than a series of short term decisions. HD does seem to be stuck in limbo at the moment thanks to the constant battle to keep hold of the spectrum, and Freeview needs to move quicker in converting more channels to HD and staking their claim on it as otherwise we're just going to end up with a couple of DVB-T2 muxes crammed with 30 odd SD channels and not much more HD wise than we have now.

    1. It's all driven by cost. SD channels are cheaper to make and broadcast than HD ones. Even if made in HD for satellite or cable, it's still cheaper to broadcast that in SD rather than HD. So we end up with an EPG full of low bit rate SD channels showing pointless rubbish programming. I watch about 5 channels with any kind of regularity, there's a lot of junk being broadcast.

  6. Ofcom has to say all channel on all platforms hass to minimum of 1080p full HD by 2021 and all the five psb broadcasters to have a 4k uhd channel going BBC itv channel 4 and 5

  7. Ofcom has to say all channel on all platforms hass to minimum of 1080p full HD by 2021 and all the five psb broadcasters to have a 4k uhd channel going BBC itv channel 4 and 5


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