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BBC Three configuration tests begin

by RXTV-newsdesk
A zone 1 satellite dish for the reception of Sky and Freesat TV channels.

The first set of technical changes to accommodate BBC Three HD on Sky and Freesat have been observed today. It comes ahead of Ofcom’s final verdict on the return of the youth-orientated channel.

An extra ID has been added to Astra 2E transponder 50 (10847 V), which will be used for BBC Three HD when it makes its return in the new year. New Service ID 6951 currently points to CBBC HD, which BBC Three HD will timeshare with. In due course, programme guide information will be attached to this service ID.

Once BBC Three HD is ready to launch, Sky and Freesat receivers will be pointed to that Service ID, which will come live at just before 7pm. At that point, the current CBBC HD Service ID will terminate at 7pm, so that viewers watching CBBC HD on a Sky or Freesat receiver will be presented with an off-air message.


Behind the scenes, both Service IDs will point to the same video stream. Effectively, CBBC and BBC Three form one single full time channel, in the same way that CBeebies and BBC Four do now. Many non-Sky and Freesat receivers, though not widely distributed in the UK, will ignore the separate IDs once BBC Three is live, allowing the user to see CBBC switch to BBC Three on the same channel at 6:57pm.

However, for Sky and Freesat users, this method ensures that BBC Three and CBBC have separate channel numbers and programme data – one for each ID. It also prevents children accidentally stumbling across BBC Three programmes after CBBC has finished for the day.

As a consequence of BBC Three re-launching, CBBC’s broadcast hours will be cut. The channel will finish at 7pm instead of 9pm. Technical reconfigurations mean the channel’s broadcast hours will be reduced in advance of BBC Three’s launch.

Ofcom decision pending

Ofcom give its provisional green light for the service earlier this year. It is expected to confirm its final decision very shortly. It will also decide on rules determining where the new channel will appear on programme guides. Under current proposals, all platform operators must give the channel a top 24 slot within 18 months of launching.

BBC Three HD – future slot

Astra 2E, 28.2E

  • Frequency 10847
  • Polarisation Vertical
  • Symbol Rate 23000
  • FEC 3/4
  • Mode DVB-S2, 8PSK
  • Service ID 6951

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