A placeholder for the news channel is now live on Freeview, allowing viewers to add the service to their channel list ahead of its launch.
GB News is now on Freeview channel 236. Some devices will automatically add the channel, while others will need to go through a retune. Viewers with BT TV or TalkTalk TV will also be able to see the placeholder on channel 236.
A launch date hasn’t yet been announced, but is expected within the next few weeks. Under Freeview rules, the channel would not have been assigned a channel number without informing them of a proposed launch date.
The channel will also be available on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media, although channel numbers haven’t yet been announced. Channels launching on satellite typically go through a period of pre-launch tests. So far, test transmissions have not been spotted.
The arrival of GB News on Freeview comes as a rival news service from Rupert Murdoch’s News UK has been scaled back. The project was deemed financially unviable. Instead News UK will focus on developing online news programmes.
Does your TV auto-tune?
Some Freeview TVs will automatically make changes to the channel list when new services are detected. In that case, you’ll see GB News pop-up on channel 236 at some point automatically.
Other devices are triggered when you tune in to a service that’s on the same frequency. So for example, if you select Sony Movies on channel 33, count to 15, GB News will be added to 236. This is because Sony Movies and GB News share the same Freeview multiplex (COM6).
This trick won’t work for all: many older TVs and set-top-boxes will need to be retuned before they display GB News. Whatever the case, the arrival of a placeholder gives the channel enough time to appear on channel lists before it goes live.
Freeview coverage amounts to just over 90% of UK households. Viewers who receive Freeview from a small relay transmitter will not be able to receive GB News. Instead, it will be available free-to-air on satellite or cable (where available).
Who’s on GB News?
Ahead of its launch, GB News has been busy recruiting many familiar faces from across existing media outlets. These include former ITV news presenter Alistair Stewart and BBC News Channel presenter Simon McCoy. They join Colin Brazier, previously of Sky News, who was one of the first to sign-up for the channel.
Ex-Sky Sports News presenter Kirsty McGallagher will join the channel’s breakfast team, alongside Rosie Wright, who has come from Euronews. Euronews colleague Darren McCafferty joins Tom Harwood in the political reporting team.
Former Apprentice star and businesswomen Michelle Dewberry and GB News chairman Andrew Neil will present prime-time opinion shows.
Neil Oliver, who became famous as one of the presenters of BBC Two’s Coast, will present a weekly current affairs programme. Ex-Labour MP and Times Radio presenter Gloria De Piero will appear in a new weekday afternoon programme.