The BBC has removed standard definition (SD) simulcasts of its TV channels on Freesat ahead of the complete closure of SD on satellite in January.
- Freesat HD users could previously choose between HD or SD versions of channels including BBC Three, BBC News and CBBC.
- The BBC is closing SD channels completely on 8th January 2024.
SD copies of BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC Scotland, BBC News, CBBC and CBeebies have been removed from the Freesat channel list.
The move took place during Tuesday afternoon. Older Freesat HD receivers, which update overnight will have deleted the channels early on Wednesday. The move occurs two months before the BBC completely closes SD channels on satellite.
As a consequence, Freesat viewers will now only see HD versions of these channels on their channel list. Previously, if you had a Freesat HD or 4K receiver, the BBC listed SD copies of BBC Three, BBC Four and BBC Scotland in the 170s on Freesat. BBC News SD appeared on channel 212, while CBBC and CBeebies SD were on 607 and 608. BBC RB1 SD is now a hidden channel.
The BBC’s practice of listing both SD and HD variants of the channel no longer applied to BBC One and BBC Two HD, following changes to HD services earlier in the year. Most commercial broadcasters have in the meantime opted not to simulcast in both formats.
The change does not apply to users of older Freesat boxes, where the SD channels continue to be available (on different numbers to the ones mentioned above). However, they will lose access to them on the 8th January 2024.
Sky’s satellite channel guide continues to list both SD and HD versions of the BBC’s channels.
The BBC brought forward the removal of SD channels after it reported a very low response to its on-screen messaging. The BBC thinks there are far fewer viewers still reliant on SD-only receivers than previously thought.
Freesat boxes manufactured over the last decade support HD by default. Similarly, Sky HD, Sky+HD and Sky Q will display BBC HD channels by default on their primary channel numbers. Sky viewers currently have seek the SD versions lower down the channel list. As a result, many viewers won’t notice when they’ve gone.