BBC TV channels are changing in 2023. Are you prepared?
In late 2022, the BBC announced that it will be changing its TV channels (see my post from November 2022 here when this was announced)
From the early 2023, the BBC will start closing down its Standard Definition (SD) channels. This includes all the SD regional variation of BBC One.
To replace the closed SD channels, the BBC will will be launching HD versions of these channels.
This will mean that the BBC will, at last, be making all the BBC 1 regions available in HD via satellite (Sky Glass, Sky Stream and most Virgin Media customers already have access to these BBC1 HD regional versions).
In addition HD versions of BBC ALBA, BBC Parliament and the BBC Red Button channel will also be created.
Freesat and Sky users will have the correct regional HD versions of BBC One and BBC Two at the top of the programme guides. Basically, this will simply mean that your BBC 1 on channel 101, on Freesat or Sky, will become BBC 1 HD as default.
No longer will you need to move to Freesat channel 106, or Sky channel 115 to watch BBC One in HD.
Nor will you have to flick back to 101 to watch your local BBC regional news when faced with the “BBC cannot yet show your region in HD) red screen.
Due to the amount of BBC 1 SD regions involved, this process will be done from mid January, and is expected to be completed by April 2023.
The process is expected to be done on a region by region basis (probably frequency by frequency) and not in bulk, to limit any problems. The SD channels currently on one BBC frequency (eg 10818 V 22000 5/6) will be moved to a temporary frequency (current thinking is this will be 12422 H 27500 2/3). The old frequency will then be converted to accommodate HD channels. Then this frequency will have a number of BBC HD channels set up. Once set up and tested, the SD channels on the temporary frequency will be removed, and the process started again for another BBC frequency.
Most Sky and Freesat users will not have to do anything, as the changes should happen automatically to their Sky and Freesat set top boxes.
But satellite viewers using other make and models of satellite receivers, such as Ariva, Strong, GI, Opticum, Vue, or TVs with built in satellite receivers, will have to manually rescan for the channels on their new frequencies.
What happens if I am using an SD Freesat box or Sky digibox?
If you are using older Freesat SD boxes, or older Sky SD digiboxes, like the ones in the image below, then you may find that you will lose some BBC channels when they move to being exclusively HD.
On a region-by-region basis, SD-only satellite viewers will start to lose their local programming on BBC One and BBC Two. These users will be automatically switched to a pan-UK version of each of these channels – these special versions of BBC One and BBC Two will not feature any local or Nations programmes. And will show the red banner asking you to upgrade to HD receiver to watch your local news.
Although these pan-UK channels will be closed by April 2024, meaning you will lose access to BBC channels if you have not upgraded to a HD satellite receiver.
What does this mean for Freesat users?
If you are using a Freesat box, then simply go to channel 799 , and it will tell you if your Freesat box needs to be replaced.
What does this mean for Sky users?
To see of your Sky box is affected, either:
A) Select channel 105 on your remote. If you see Channel 5 HD, you’re not affected. If you see Channel 5 in SD, you are and you’ll need to upgrade your Sky box.
Press Services on your Sky remote
Press 4 then 5
Check the version number
If your version number is one listed below, then you will need to upgrade your digibox:
4F01 to 4F06 (Amstrad)
4E01 to 4E05 (Grundig)
9F01 to 9F08 and 9F0A (Pace)
0F01 to 0F05 (Panasonic)
4E06 to 4E08 (Thomson)
4F2001 to 4F2006 (Amstrad)
4F2101 to 4F2118 and 9F2101 to 9F2137 (Amstrad or Pace)
9F2001 to 9F2024, PVR2, 9F2201 to 9F2235, 9F2301 to 9F2339 (Pace)
4E2101 to 4E2141 (Thomson)
Generally, if you have a “grey” coloured Sky digibox, or Sky+HD digibox, like the ones pictured below, then you will need to upgrade to a Freesat HD or Sky HD or Sky+HD digibox should you wish to continue watching BBC channels past 2023.
It is also worth noting that this change from SD to HD that the BBC will be doing will also affect the BBC radio station reception via satellite also.
I shall try and keep you updated with these changes as they happen. But even today, things are being set up on the satellites in readiness for these changes.
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