Viewers with the latest Freeview Play kit will now find the main BBC HD channels moving to the top of their channel list.
Many Freeview Play TVs manufactured in the past two years support the new functionality, which receives an enhanced channel list via the internet, overriding the channel number system transmitted over the air.
As a result, regional BBC One HD will now appear on channel 1 and BBC Two HD on channel 2 on compatible devices. BBC Three HD (where available on Freeview), BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD and CBBC HD all move up to the channel numbers previously used for standard defintion.
But many viewers, BBC HD channels will remain in their current position, starting at channel 101. That’s because most Freeview TVs and boxes in use today don’t support the functionality and can’t be upgraded to support it.
▶ Overview: Freeview HD channel swap
|SD channel location
|BBC One HD
|1 and 101
|BBC Two HD
|2 and 102
|BBC Three HD
|23 and 109*
|BBC Four HD
|9 and 106
24 and 108 (Scotland)
|205 (204 from 2/24)
|204 (203 from 2/24)
According to the BBC, the implementation of the HD/SD swap is also being used to move CBeebies HD up the list on compatible devices. The CBBC channel is earmarked for closure next year.
The BBC has previously trialled HD swaps on a small number of channels.
▶ How does it work?
The latest Freeview Play device specifications include a requirement for devices to support Channel List Management (CLM). This enables Freeview to broadcast an alternative channel list to smart TVs via the internet that doesn’t affect older TVs and non-HD devices.
As long as a device is connected to the internet, HD channels will remain at the top of the channel list. If a device is disconnected, then it will revert to the standard Freeview channel list, delivered over the airwaves.
▶ How can I check if my device is compatible?
- Go to Freeview channel 100 on a Freeview Play device. This will load the Freeview Explore portal.
- Select Help and Settings.
- In the bottom right hand corner, the TV will display a collection of numbers and letters. This is the Freeview Play platform ID. If it matches one of the following, your device should be compatible.
Devices with the Freeview Play platform ID marked with an asterisk will only display the BBC HD channels in one position on the TV list. For example, BBC One HD will only appear on channel 1, not on channel 101. On all other devices, BBC One HD is duplicated on both channel 1 and 101.
Updated 21/02/2024 with details of CBBC/CBeebies channel changes