THE BBC has started switching off channels to pave way for HD.
It means anyone with an old SD-only satellite set-top box will soon lose all BBC channels unless they upgrade.
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Why is the BBC switching off some channels?
SD stands for “standard definition” and it’s long been the main way channels are broadcast.
But times have changed and modern TVs are at least HD (high definition) – many have actually moved on beyond that already to UHD (ultra high definition).
You may notice that your local news on BBC One at present is not available in HD, which requires you to change channel to the old SD version.
The BBC is now planning to make every channel HD by default – but the only way it can do that is by switching off the SD ones.
SD-only satellite boxes aren’t equipped to handle HD channels, so once the SD channels are switched off anyone with an SD-box won’t be able to view them.
So how do I check if I have the right set-top box?
If you’re unsure whether you’re affected, there is a special channel that allows you to check.
Freesat customers can go to channel 799 on your TV.
If your set-top box is fine, it’ll show a “Good news!’ message.
But if it says “Sorry, your satellite set-top box is not capable of receiving high definition services” then you’ll need to get a replacement to continue receiving BBC channels in future.
Old Sky SD-only devices can check by going to channel 105.
If you see “Channel 5 HD” then you’re fine, but if it’s just “Channel 5” then you can only receive SD channels.
When will the BBC channels switch?
The switch started this week with BBC One South, BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC Two Northern Ireland.
Regional and nation channel variations of BBC One and BBC Two (as well as BBC ALBA and BBC Parliament) will change from now until February.
All the SD versions of the BBC channels on satellite, including BBC One, will be closing in early 2024.
23 January (Freesat) / 24 January (Sky)
- BBC One South
- BBC One Northern Ireland
- BBC Two Northern Ireland
30 January (Freesat) / 31 January (Sky)
- BBC One East
- BBC One East Midlands
6 February (Freesat) / 7 February (Sky)
- BBC ALBA
- BBC One West Midlands
- BBC One East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire
- BBC One Wales
- BBC Two Wales
13 February (Freesat) / 14 February (Sky)
- BBC Red Button (RB1)
- BBC One West
- BBC One South West
- BBC One Channel Islands
- BBC One London
20 February (Freesat) / 21 February (Sky)
- BBC Parliament
- BBC One North East and Cumbria
- BBC One North West
- BBC One Yorkshire
- BBC One Scotland
22 February (Freesat) / 23 February (Sky)
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