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Freeview merry-go-round as channels move

New year, new carriage contracts: a number of Freeview channels are on the move this week.

Teleshopping channel Sewing Quarter is advising its viewers to retune from 1pm Monday 7th January 2019, as its service is moving to new capacity. At the same time, its new red button service will go live, which will mean that those with compatible connected Freeview devices will be able to stream the channel during the hours it doesn't broadcast terrestrially. 

Sewing Quarter has been temporarily broadcast alongside Channel 4’s Freeview signal, giving it universal coverage from all Freeview transmitters. Now it has moved to multiplex COM6, which in layman's terms means it's no longer available on smaller relay transmitters.

Sony Crime Channel meanwhile, is advising viewers that on Tuesday 8th January 2019, it will be reducing Freeview coverage. The service, broadcast on channel 40, will only be viewable in areas where local TV channels, such as London Live, Notts TV and NVTV are broadcast, as the channel moves to piggyback on the local TV signal. Sister channel TruTV did this last year with next to no notice, annoying many viewers who had suddenly lost access to the channel. TruTV has now been axed from Freeview in all areas except Manchester.

On Thursday 10th January 2019, Film4+1 will take up Sewing Quarter's vacated capacity alongside Channel 4’s Freeview signal, meaning all Freeview viewers will be able to watch the channel after retuning. Until now, only newer devices have been able to tune in to the signal.

More4+1, currently only broadcast to around 75% of the UK on Freeview, will in turn move to Film4+1's former capacity on the BBC-B multiplex. Following the change, any viewer with a Freeview HD/Freeview Play device as well as those with a YouView or EE TV receiver will be able to receive the channel, as coverage will increase to around 98.5% of UK households. Older Freeview receivers will still not be able to tune in to the channel.

The merry-go-round of changes are a result of new carriage contracts with multiplex operators, requiring adjustments to how the channels are broadcast in Freeview and whose capacity they will be using to make their services available on digital terrestrial television. The changes affect Freeview viewers alongside users of platforms that piggyback on terrestrial signals, including YouView (BT, TalkTalk and Plusnet TV), EE TV and Now TV Smart Box users.

Full coverage of these changes will appear on the Freeview channel updates page throughout the week, alongside full technical details, plus the latest on some as yet unannounced changes.

Updated: 07/01/2019 16:15 with an update from Channel 4 on the changes taking place on 10th January 2019 and 08/01/2019 21:17 confirming that TruTV UK is no longer available on Freeview except in Manchester.