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PBS America goes live on Freeview

UPDATE | The UK offshoot of American public service channel PBS has made its debut on the UK's digital terrestrial TV platform Freeview.

PBS America, which showcases factual programming, including current and archive content from its US service, has been allocated Freeview channel 94. Programme strands include multi-award-winning Nova, Frontline and American Experience.

The signal carrying the channel is available to around 3/4 of UK households, but requires the latest Freeview equipment to receive the channel, such as Freeview Play and Freeview HD compatible devices.



Originally launched as a pay TV service in the UK in 2011, it went free-to-air via satellite in October 2015, when it joined Freesat. Earlier this year, it launched an on-demand service in the UK via Amazon Channels.

PBS America operates much like BBC Worldwide, a profit-making enterprise managed separately from the main non-profit, publicly financed arm, that will ideally generate money for its parent. Unlike PBS in the United States it does not solicit donations from viewers.

Commenting on the arrival of the channel, Freeview Managing director Guy North said:
“PBS America is an excellent addition to the Freeview channel line-up, and will offer our viewers an even wider choice of quality factual programming. This announcement concludes a busy year of launches for Freeview, marking the twelfth and final channel launch of 2017*”.

Richard Kingsbury, PBS America’s General Manager, said:
“Launching on Freeview channel 94 will bring PBS America to millions of new homes for the first time. Viewers who were recently engrossed by Ken Burns’ The Vietnam War on BBC Four, which was commissioned by PBS, will find a lot more to enjoy on the channel.

Details of the channel's launch on Freeview were first leaked over the weekend after a listings magazine published PBS's new Freeview channel number.


Technical data:
PBS America
  • Freeview multiplex COM8
  • Broadcast in standard definition
  • Around 3/4 of UK households covered
  • Requires users to have a newer DVB-T2 compatible device (e.g. Freeview HD, Freeview Play, YouView, EE TV)
  • Viewers can check Freeview channel coverage at www.digitaluk.co.uk/coveragechecker




*12 channel launches, according to Freeview's press release: Asia TV (streamed), Bollywood HD (streamed), BT Showcase HD (at the cost of BT Showcase SD), CBS Action +1, Forces TV, FreeSports, More4+1, Quest Red, Quest Red+1, QVC HD (replacing QVC+1), Rocks and Co (streamed channel version), Sports Channel Network (streamed). (The majority of the services have reduced UK coverage; The Vault [local TV coverage areas] as well as NOW 80s/NOW XMAS [Manchester only] are omitted from Freeview's list, as is Sony Movies+1, which has appeared in local TV coverage areas today.)


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