Freeview is asking viewers to do an unprecedented two retunes in two days. But do you really need to retune twice and what happens if you don’t bother?
Around midday on Wednesday 29th June, there will be seven Freeview channel changes. Then, just 24 hours later, on Thursday 30th, there are a further 14 changes.
Freeview says you’ll need to retune on both days to continue watching all available channels.
You’ll also be affected if you use a YouView TV or box, such as a BT or TalkTalk TV receiver, as they rely on the Freeview signal for some channels.
Do I really need to retune twice or is there a life hack to get around this?
Click or touch on the following headers to see what your options are:
I only receive a few Freeview channels, mostly BBC, ITV, C4 & C5
Only retune if you’ve got an HD TV or box. Retune once, any time after midday Wednesday 29th June 2022.
Why? Just under 10% of UK households are covered by a relay transmitter. Relays only carry a small selection of Freeview channels, including the main BBC channels, plus ITV, Channel 4 and 5. Beyond the UK, this includes all households in the Channel Islands and many homes in the Isle of Man.
What changes when I retune? BBC Four HD (106) and CBeebies HD (205) will become available.
Every other change announced by Freeview affect channels that aren’t available on relay transmitters.
I am retuning an older non-HD Freeview TV or box
Retune once, any time after midday Thursday 30th June 2022.
Why? If you’ve got, or have been asked to retune on behalf of someone with an older device that doesn’t do HD, the good news is that most of the Freeview changes are irrelevant. Older boxes couldn’t receive many of the affected channels.
4Music will automatically turn into E4 Extra and Horror will automatically turn in to Legend, regardless of when you retune.
What happens when I retune? If it’s a hassle to retune, just retune once after midday Thursday 30th June 2022. This will:
- correct channel labels, e.g. 4Music > E4 Extra if the receiver doesn’t do it automatically
- ensure all available channels are on the correct channel numbers
- add the following channels: That’s TV (UK) on channel 65, Quest Red+1 (71) Together (83), Classic Hits (91) – subject to local coverage.
- remove the following channels: CBS Justice (69) [the channel is closing], Craft Extra (95) [the channel already has closed]. For some viewers, CBS Drama/Reality Xtra will disappear (channel 68), due to reductions in coverage: that’s nothing to do with your TV or aerial!
Retuning if none of the above apply
If you don’t want to retune twice, retuning anytime after midday on Thursday 30th June 2022 should do the trick for most viewers.
You’ll temporarily lose Quest Red+1 if you don’t retune.
Together, That’s TV UK, BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD continue broadcasting on their old capacity until 11:00 30th June. If you do retune, they’ll disappear down to channels 790-795 until 30th June.
What happens if I don’t bother with the Freeview retune?
That depends on which channels were available at your address and if your TV automatically adds channels in the background.
You may find:
- ‘dead’ channels that stay blank or trigger a ‘channel not available’ message as you browse through the channels.
- live versions of Freeview channels in the 800s in your channel list, instead of on their proper channel number. This includes any channels that are newly available in your area.
- channels may have the wrong label (depending on device). For example, E4 Extra might still appear as ‘4 Music’ on your channel list.
What exactly is changing on Freeview?
- HD versions of BBC Four and CBeebies become available to all Freeview HD/Freeview Play users on channels 106 and 205. See more…
- The following channels are closing: FreeSports, CBS Justice, More4+1, PBS America+1, Forces TV, BBC News HD, QVC HD, QVC Beauty HD, Quest HD.
- The following channel is being removed after ceasing broadcasts in February: Craft Extra
- Horror is being replaced by Legend.
- 4Music is being replaced by E4 Extra. 4Music won’t be available on Freeview anymore, but will continue on cable and satellite.
- CBS Drama is being replaced by Reality Xtra. But Reality Xtra won’t be as widely available, so you may not be able to receive it anymore.
- That’s TV UK will move to channel 65 and become more widely available.
Why are these changes taking place?
Most changes are occurring because one of the frequencies used for Freeview is being cleared to make way for 5G services. Affected channels have had to move or close.
Additionally, some broadcasters have taken the decision to reduce the number of services they offer on Freeview. BFBS, which operates Forces TV, has opted to close its channel down everywhere.
Will I lose some channels?
Yes. 4Music, FreeSports, CBS Justice, More4+1, PBS America+1, Forces TV, BBC News HD, QVC HD, QVC Beauty HD, Quest HD will no longer be available.
- Channels highlighted in bold above are closing everywhere, not just Freeview.
- QVC Beauty will only be available in SD, not just on Freeview, but also on cable and satellite.
- 4Music’s entertainment programmes continue on the new E4 Extra channel. 4Music continues as a pure music channel on cable and satellite.
- CBS Drama becomes Reality Xtra, but it will have lower UK coverage, so you may lose the channel – it’s not your TV or aerial!
What about series links / recordings?
If you have scheduled recordings for any of the above channels, you’ll need to review them after retuning to ensure they still work. Recordings for channels that are closing won’t work after the end of the month. This is despite the fact that the Freeview Guide still lists some services beyond 30th June.
TOP TIP: If you’re away over the retune period, but have recordings set for BBC Four HD or CBeebies HD after 29th June, you may wish to set them to record from the SD channels, as they aren’t changing. Retune when you get back to restore BBC Four HD and CBeebies HD.
Help with the Freeview retune
It’s important that the correct instructions are followed, as some TVs or boxes have multiple rescan or retune options designed for adding new channels. When existing channels are either closing or moving, a full rescan or retune is needed.
The Freeview Advice Line will offer support over the phone. Call 03456 505050. Lines are open Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00.
Will the changes affect me if I have Freesat, Sky or Virgin Media?
A number of changes will also affect Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media viewers.
- Forces TV is closing everywhere, so no-one will be able to watch the channel after 30th June.
- E4 Extra is taking over 4Music’s current channel number on all platforms on 29th June. 4Music will, in turn, take over from Box Hits.
- Legend is taking over from CBS Justice on cable and satellite. (On Freeview, it’s the Horror Channel it’s taking over from.)
- Reality Xtra will replace CBS Drama.
Unlike the Freeview retune, the changes on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media won’t require you to do any retuning.
By Aidan Smith & Iain Hatton, RXTV
Updated 29/06/2022 14:33