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Sewing Quarter makes Freeview switch


Bandwidth normally set aside for Channel 4's services on Freeview has been taken up by shopping channel Sewing Quarter.

At midday on Tuesday 3rd April 2018, the channel moved over to Channel 4's frequency from its existing part-time Freeview slot, forcing some viewers to retune, although newer Freeview devices automatically handled the change.

Sewing Quarter remains on Freeview channel 78 following the change, with the old version of the channel moving to 794 after a retune. The change also affects viewers with BT TV, Plusnet TV, TalkTalk TV, EE TV and the Now TV Smart Box.

Minutes before the noon-time switchover, presenter John Scott reminded viewers of the change and announced a special one-off eight hour live broadcast on Wednesday 4th April, running from 8am to 4pm to celebrate. Since Sewing Quarter's launch in 2017, the channel has only been live for four hours each morning.

Beyond the special one-off, the changes mean that Freeview viewers will be able to see usual Sewing Quarter programmes in the morning, followed by a re-run from noon to 4pm.

As the channel has now taken Freeview bandwidth alongside Channel 4, the Sewing Quarter has become the first shopping channel to take a near-full UK coverage slot on Freeview since the completion of digital switchover, with 98.5% UK coverage thanks to being carried on relay transmitters, compared to the around 90% coverage of most other shopping channels on Freeview.

Sewing Quarter is part of Immediate Media, the publisher of numerous craft magazines and the RadioTimes.

  • Sewing Quarter: Freeview 78. Retune if you see a retune message appearing on channel 78. Some devices automatically retune. On some devices, the menu options 'scan for new channels' or 'add new channels' will not correctly restore access and a 'full retune' or 'first time installation' may be required.
  • Online and satellite services are unaffected.




Technical insight
The Freeview capacity allocated to Sewing Quarter is part of a segment of bandwidth assigned to Channel 4, which in turn is part of a bundle or multiplex awarded to ITV and Channel 4 for distribution of their main standard definition digital channels - operated by the aptly named "D3&4".

Each broadcaster historically has had an equal share of the multiplex bandwidth. In 2009, ITV surrendered a slot to Channel 5 and Channel 4 a slot to S4C in Wales as part of the digital TV switchover programme as agreed with Ofcom.

The capacity is sometimes referred to as "gifted", because the holders of Channel 3 and Channel 4 broadcasting licences are guaranteed their own capacity to broadcast their main service as part of their licence stipulations.

As technical changes, and the removal of Teletext, have facilitated an increase in the number of services that can be carried in the bundle over the last few years, ITV and Channel 4 have taken turns in moving their services from other commercial multiplexes onto their own capacity. On ITV's side, ITV4 and now ITV3. On Channel 4's side, Film4.

This is the first time since switchover that Channel 4 have not immediately taken up new capacity on what is their half of the multiplex. Channel 4 operates other channels including 4seven using commercially acquired capacity on other multiplexes. The terms of the carriage deal are not known.



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