Nuts TV will closedown on the Freeview platform in early 2009 and will be replaced by CNN International. Nuts TV will become a dedicated broadband and mobile service so will no longer be on Freeview. CNN International will air between 9pm and 1am on Freeview to allow audiences to watch CNN’s European primetime shows. No channel number has been given for CNN International yet. So that means there are at least two channel launches in 2009 planned at the moment – these will be the new channel from Discovery (which will probably replace Bid TV on Freeview) and CNN International (replacing Nuts TV).
Motors TV is now available for Virgin Media customers living in ex-Telewest areas of the network. Motors TV has been available in ex-NTL areas for some time now. The launch in ex-Telewest areas is part of Virgin Media’s plan to make both lineups (ex-NTL and ex-Telewest) exactly the same eventually. Motors TV can be found on Virgin TV channel 545.
High definition will be available on Freeview for the first time from the end of next year. It has been announced that three HD channels will be launching on Freeview next year – one will be BBC HD, the second will be ITV HD and the third is Channel 4 HD. These HD channels will only appear in regions that are digital only, so this is why only certain areas will get the HD channels in 2009 and it will be staggered across the country as and when digital switchover completes in each region, finishing off with the London area in 2012.
The BBC isn’t sure on what content will appear on the Freeview version of the BBC HD channel but it’s thought to either be exactly the same as the BBC HD service on satellite & Virgin Media cable, or a variation of it – it’s not known what the broadcast hours will be on Freeview. The ITV HD channel on Freeview will air an exact simulcast of the normal ITV1 schedule and The Register says ITV will “sub-let the channel to others outside prime time”. Channel 4 HD on Freeview will also air the same as schedule as the normal Channel 4 – it’s not known if Channel 4 HD will be on air for 24 hours a day. An as-yet unnamed fourth HD channel will be announced at a later date. You will need to buy a new Freeview HD set top box to watch the high definition channels. Click here to see the Ofcom news article.
Discovery has won the new slot on the Freeview platform. The channel is not yet named but it will likely be a completely new channel and Variety.com are reporting it “will not be branded as a Discovery entity”. Discovery has bought the new Freeview slot from SDN for an undisclosed sum.
Variety.com also report Dan Brooke from Discovery Networks has said the new Freeview channel will be “based on the Discovery library encompassing history, factual, lifestyle and entertainment, alongside third-party acquisitions, but declined to say precisely which demographic it would be aimed at”. The new Discovery channel should be launching on Freeview in early 2009.
Following on from the other rebrands of UKTV channels, UKTV People and UKTV Documentary will rebrand in early 2009 to become Blighty and Eden. The decision to rebrand these channels follows on from the other quirky channel names that launched recently including UKTV G2 becoming Dave, UKTV Drama becoming Alibi, UKTV Gold becoming G.O.L.D. and a new channel called Watch that launched earlier this week (with Alibi and G.O.L.D.).
The changes to the UKTV channel lineup have taken place today.
Virgin TV: Watch is available on channel 124, Watch +1 is on channel 125, GOLD (the new name for UKTV Gold) on channel 126 and GOLD +1 is available on channel 127. Watch (and Watch +1) is only available in the XL package. Dave has moved to channel 128 and Dave +1 has moved to channel 129. Alibi (the new name for UKTV Drama) is on channel 130 and Alibi +1 is on channel 131. UKTV History +1 (from channel 204) and UKTV Documentary +1 (from channel 209) are both no longer available on Virgin TV.
Top Up TV: UKTV Gold is now broadcasting the new GOLD.
Post updated 8th October.