Our HD channels on Freeview are moving to a new home! From 17 October 2012 you will find BBC One HD at 101 and next door at 102 there will be BBC HD, which will become BBC Two HD next year. They will be followed by ITV1 HD at 103 and Channel 4 HD at 104 (except for viewers in Wales who receive S4C’s Clirlun at 105).

I think these new numbers make a lot of sense because they are much more memorable than the BBC’s HD channels current numbers of “50” and “54”. It also allows the standard definition General Entertainment channels to be restored to one single block, because the growth in channels had led to it becoming split and sandwiching the HD genre. If you’d like to understand more about how decisions are made about channel numbering on digital terrestrial television you can read about it on the DMOL website.

What will I need to do?

This change does not affect viewers who use Sky, Virgin Media or Freesat. The BBC’s HD channels will remain at the numbers shown in the table below.  

Although none of the BBC’s other channels are moving on 17 October there will be other changes to Freeview, so if you have Freeview or Freeview + then you would probably need to do a retune later that afternoon or the following day in order to ensure you are receiving all the available channels and that they are sitting at the right numbers in the listing.If you currently are able to watch our HD channels on Freeview HD then it is very likely that your receiver will perform an auto-retune and you shouldn’t need to do anything except remember to use the new channel numbers from 17 October.

There will be “pop-up” messages on your TV screen in the week or so before and after the change, just like the ones that have been used successfully during digital switchover to help viewers retune at the right time. We’ll be putting some messages about this on BBC One HD and BBC HD and on Freeview BBC Red Button page 998. The Radio Times will also have some information in its Digital Doctor column during the run up to this change.

Now that the country is approaching the end of digital switchover – there is only Northern Ireland left to switch as the last region in England switched last week – most people are becoming more familiar with retuning their Freeview TV or box. But I know that some people still find it a bit involved. A good source of advice for retuning specific digital TV and boxes is tvretune.co.uk.

I hope this post helps you to know what to expect later this month and that you can retune successfully if you need to and continue to enjoy BBC One HD and BBC HD in their new homes.

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