The BBC have announced plans to close their Standard Definition (SD) channels on satellite during 2023.
This will mean that the BBC channels will only be available in High Definition (HD) via satellite.
Users with a Freesat HD or Sky HD or Sky+HD set top box should not be affected, unless you watch BBC SD channels if you cannot receive BBC HD channels.
But users with older Freesat SD and Sky digiboxes will begin to lose services.
In “early 2023” the BBC One SD channel will no longer carry regional news. As all BBC regions move to being available in HD, this will mean that local news will only be available in HD. And your BBC One region on channel 101 will change from being SD to HD. This is basically a reversal of the current situation in England (where all regions are available in SD, and only one BBC HD region is available that does not carry regional news).
The SD to HD switchover for BBC channels will be accomplished by the launch of a fully regionalised BBC One HD in all areas.
In “late 2023” all BBC SD TV channels on satellite and will close. Viewers using older SD only receivers will need to upgrade or lose access.
Checking your Freesat equipment
Freesat users will be able to check channel 799 to see if they have a compatible receiver.
Users with Freesat SD set top boxes will see a slate advising them to take action and upgrade to a HD Freesat set top box.
Users with Freesat HD receiver will see confirmation they need to take no action.
BBC’s plans Kieran Clifton, BBC Director of Distribution said:
“By Spring next year, viewers in England will be able to receive BBC One HD for their region and not have to tune away to watch their local news and programming. This, coupled with upgrades to BBC channels that aren’t currently available on some devices in HD, will mean viewers will get a more easily accessible, better quality experience when watching BBC programmes from early next year.”
From the BBC Support website:
By April 2023, we’ll be upgrading all BBC channels to HD on satellite. This means that not only will we be making available the HD versions of BBC One for the English regions, but we’ll have the rest of the BBC’s channels available in HD, including BBC Two Northern Ireland, BBC ALBA, BBC Parliament and the BBC Red Button channel.
At the same time, the red slate on BBC One HD will also be disappearing for all HD satellite viewers and we’ll put the correct versions of BBC One and BBC Two for your region at the top of the Sky and Freesat EPGs for all viewers in the UK.
Unfortunately, to roll regional versions of BBC One HD in England on satellite plans, we need to close the standard definition (or SD) versions of our channels on the digital satellite platform. This is not a decision that’s been taken lightly – indeed, it’s been one of the key reasons why we’ve held back so long in our HD rollout plans until now. However, the number of SD-only satellite devices is now at a much-reduced level so to hold back the closure of our SD channels any longer would deny the benefit of all our channels being available in HD to a much greater proportion of the audience.
We’re planning to start the satellite rollout in mid-January 2023. As we’re still finalising details, we will be releasing the timelines for each DSAT region on our own reception advice website again and also on a special help website, hdsatelliteupgrade.co.uk, that we’re setting up in association with Freesat.
The closure of our SD channels on satellite will happen regionally and in two main phases – and it will impact all SD-only satellite viewers in the UK.
The changes will take place in two steps:
Step 1 (January 2023 through to March 2023)
The current regional versions of BBC One SD will be closing over this period on a region-by-region basis. If you are still watching on an SD-only satellite device (Freesat or Sky) then you will lose access to your local programmes – all other BBC One and BBC channels programmes will be unaffected.
Your regional version of BBC One SD will be replaced with a UK-wide version of BBC One SD.
Step 2 (Early 2024)
All the standard definition versions of the BBC’s channels, including the UK- wide version of BBC One SD as described in Step 1, will be disappearing completely.
What this means for Freesat and Sky users in Spain
With the weak UK TV satellite signals here in Spain, this could mean the loss of BBC channels for some satellite users here in Spain.
Of course, until these changes take place, it is speculation as to what will be able to be received on what size satellite dish and where.
However people in my service area :
– those with a satellite dish of less than 110x120cm this could mean the loss of BBC channels, simply as your satellite dish is too small to receive the HD signals.
– those with a well aligned satellite dish of at least 110x120cm should be able to still receive BBC HD channels.
– those with a well aligned 125x135cm satellite dish should be able to still receive BBC HD channels.
– those with a well aligned 1.8m or 2.4m satellite dish should be able to still receive BBC HD channels.
So if you rely on the BBC SD channels and are unable to receive the BBC HD channels, then you may need to have your satellite dish realigned or upgraded.
If you have a Freesat SD or Sky “grey” SD digibox, then you will need to upgrade to a HD satellite receiver.