Freeview TV guide overhaul

Following an industry-wide consultation, DTT Multiplex Operators Limited (DMOL) – the body licensed by Ofcom as the programme guide provider for Freeview which manages the central functions of the platform – has published the findings of its review of Freeview channel numbering and plans to update the on-screen programme guide.

The reorganisation is designed to create extra capacity for new services and make the guide easier to navigate. The changes will take place on September 19th.

The September update includes:
– Provision for up to 100 General Entertainment channels
– Reserved channel numbers for new public service local TV channels. These will be carried at 8 (England and Northern Ireland) and 45 (Wales and Scotland)
– Twenty spaces for HD services, which will now start at 101
– A dedicated section for the development of Internet-delivered TV services
– An information page at channel 100 for viewers with Freeview HD

While some channel numbers will change, genres will retain their relative positions. DMOL – which is jointly owned and funded by the operators of the digital terrestrial multiplexes (BBC, Digital 3&4, SDN and Arqiva Services) – says it has steered a middle course with these changes, allowing for the development of the Freeview channel listing over the next three to four years, while moderating any disruption to viewers and channel providers.

To benefit from the update, viewers need to retune their Freeview TVs and digital boxes where equipment does not pick up the changes automatically. On-screen messages will prompt viewers to retune on or after September 19th.

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