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BBC Freeview switch-back after Olympics

The BBC has today turned back the clock on its Freeview HD configuration, returning services back to how they were before the Rio Olympics.

The reconfiguration changes took place over several hours, completing around 4pm, and saw CBBC HD, CBeebies HD and BBC Four HD move back to their original Freeview slots. The reconfiguration allowed the BBC to expand BBC Four's broadcast hours to cover the events at Rio 2016 and make the service available to more viewers.

For Freeview HD viewers, the changes mean BBC Four HD is back to its former reduced coverage of just over 70% of households, down from the 98.5% coverage it enjoyed for in its temporary slot during the Olympics. However, affected users with connected TVs with access to the iPlayer may be able to watch BBC Four in HD via their internet connection, subject to their connection speed. Following a retune, the active version of BBC Four HD should be on channel 106, and the old version on channel 790.

CBBC HD's temporary slot on channel 97 was turned off during the late afternoon after a brief simulcast with channel 123, where the channel is now available again as normal.

CBeebies HD has moved back to its old slot: following a retune, the active version should be on channel 124 and the old version on channel 792. CBeebies HD is only available to just over 70% of the UK via Freeview HD.

BBC Olympics HD was removed from service earlier in the day, and is now no longer active on channel 114. The extra BBC Red Button streams on channels 602-608 are, at the time of publication, still waiting to be turned off.

As part of the switch-back for standard definition viewers, BBC RB1 on channel 601 is being restored back to a 24/7 service, currently with highlights of the Olympics. This is expected to complete shortly, until then the full 24/7 service continues on 608.

BBC Reception Advice originally posted that the changes would happen on Monday (22nd) at teatime, with some viewers spotting an on-screen retune prompt. However, it had been previously confirmed that the changes would happen on the 23rd August.

Before the Olympic reconfiguration had even took place, BBC Director of Distribution and Business Development, Kieran Clifton wrote on his BBC blog that "After the Olympics period, we’ll be returning things back to normal – whilst CBeebies HD and BBC Four HD will also be moving to a different slot of broadcast capacity from where they are now, and so may require a retune, for the majority there should be no material impact from the current Freeview reception of these channels." In fact, both channels have now reappeared on their old broadcast capacity on COM7, exactly where they were when those words were published on the 22nd July.

Reception trouble
High pressure is currently affecting Freeview signals in parts of England and Wales, and the BBC earlier advised viewers to avoid retuning if they are having trouble receiving services. The current atmospheric conditions can lead to temporary break-up or pixellation of channels until the weather changes.

Standard definition Freeview viewers don't need to retune as a result of today's changes, and many HD viewers, also including viewers with YouView and EE TV boxes, should see today's BBC Freeview changes implemented automatically.