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BBC Olympics: Freeview update

UPDATED | The BBC has reconfigured its services on Freeview ahead of the Olympics, which start in Rio next week.

Additional Red Button streams are now available to around 70-75% of UK households and found between channels 602 and 608. A DVB-T2 compliant receiver (Freeview HD, Freeview Play, YouView, EE TV) is required. A breakdown of the changes are listed below.

On Wednesday, BBC Four HD moved to the broadcast slot previously occupied by CBBC HD in a temporary move until after the Olympics. A temporary CBBC HD channel is available on channel 97. Like the BBC Red Button channels on 602-608 and 114, the temporary CBBC HD service has reduced coverage. If you're already able to receive BBC News HD on Freeview 107, then you'll get the temporary CBBC HD channel, if not, you'll only receive CBBC in standard definition on 120 until after the Olympics.

CBeebies HD has also changed frequency. The BBC says a small number of viewers may lose the channel, although coverage is broadly similar.

Do I need to retune?
Viewers who only have standard definition Freeview do not need to retune, provding you have BBC RB 0 on channel 600. All other changes are limited to services only visible on HD compatible receivers.

You are a standard definition Freeview user if you don't have any channels between 101 and 119 in your channel list.

Viewers with Freeview HD / YouView/ EE TV:
If you can only receive HD channels 101-105, but nothing on channels 106-114, your receiver should automatically add BBC Four HD on channel 106 from Wednesday 27th July. Often you just need to select BBC One HD (channel 101), wait 10 seconds and try 106. If this fails, retune your receiver. CBBC HD on channel 123 will be temporarily unavailable until after the Olympics. But you won't be able to receive the full set of Red Button services via Freeview. You may however be able to watch extra streams if your TV brings up "Red Button+", the connected Red Button service when you press red on BBC channels.

If you receive the full set of Freeview HD channels from channel 101, including BBC News HD, Al Jazeera HD, 4seven HD and the QVC HD channels, you're in the coverage for the extra Olympic services.

Most receivers should automatically add the temporary channels in the background. If they don't, try going to QVC's HD channels on 111 or 112, wait 10 seconds and see if you can get BBC Olympics HD on channel 114.

As some channels are changing frequency, some receivers may need retuning to restore BBC Four HD, CBBC HD (which will be on a temporary channel - 97 - until after the Olympics), CBeebies HD, BBC RB2 and BBC RB3. Series links will be broken. If you don't retune, CBBC HD will be restored to its usual slot after the Olympics, but a retune may be required to regain BBC Four HD and CBeebies after Rio.

BBC Parliament Update
Earlier this year, the BBC issued a media pack indicating that BBC Parliament would be off-air for the Olympics to make room for extra coverage for standard definition Freeview users.

In a change following recent events, both BBC RB 0 and BBC RB 1 (channels 600 and 601) will run on a part-time basis, filling the bandwidth available during the downtime of the children's channels, rather than taking time from BBC Parliament's slot. This will allow a slot to be available for BBC Parliament, so that it is available to Freeview viewers in the event of a Parliamentary recall without impacting on other Olympic coverage.

BBC Channel Changes
(Multiplex details in brackets)

SD viewers - no retune needed if you already have these channels in your line-up:
  • 9    - BBC Four - extended hours 1pm - 4am during Rio 2016 (from 6th August) (PSB1/BBCA)
  • 600 - BBC RB 0 goes live - 7pm-5:30am (PSB1/BBCA)
  • 601 - BBC RB 1 reduced hours - 9pm - 5:30am (PSB1/BBCA)

HD viewers - retune may be required
As above, plus
  • 97 - CBBC HD - temporary service. Only available if you're already able to receive BBC News HD on 107. (COM7)
  • 106 - BBC Four HD - extended hours 1pm -4am and change of frequency. Will be available to all viewers from 27/07. (PSB3/BBCB)
  • 114 - BBC Olympic HD - only available if you're already able to receive QVC's HD chnanels on 111 and 112. (COM8)
  • 123 - CBBC HD - closed from 27/7 - 23/8. Temporary service on 97 for some viewers, otherwise switch to CBBC SD on 120.
  • 124 - CBeebies HD - frequency change (COM8)
  • 602 - 608 BBC RB Olympic service - including on 608 a 24 hour version of channel 601. (COM8)

First published 25/07/2016.