menuMENU    UK Free TV logo Archive (2002-)



Click to see updates

What would you like to see on Freeview in place of BBC three?

The BBC seems set to move BBC Three onto the BBC iPlayer. What should the BBC do with the channel's precious broadcast bits and top-page Freeview slot 7?

High up (low number) programme guide numbers are valuable - but not if you cannot sell them?   Photograph: Shutterstock
High up (low number) programme guide numbers are valuable - but not if you cannot sell them? Photograph: Shutterstock
published on UK Free TV

I have covered the whole should-they-shouldn't-they of taking BBC Three online several times, but now it looks like the BBC is going ahead with abandoning the brand as a TV station, what is going to happen to the old assets?

BBC Three has always shared it's bandwidth with the CBBC channel.  The kids channel closes just before 7pm, with BBC three getting going on the hour.   During the day on Freeview the number 120 maps onto the "slot" and in the evening it's the number 7 (it's 613/617 and 115/147 on Sky/Freesat).

The BBC are going to extend CBBC until 8pm, and there was a proposal to use the 8pm-4am for a plus one for BBC One (as this would avoid all the regional programming at 6:30pm).  This idea was met with horror by ITV (owners of ITV+1, ITV2+1, ITV3+1 and ITV4+1) who saw it – quite rightly -  as a land grab during peak time.

Looking a gift horse in the mouth?

There is a problem: on Freeview the BBCA (or PSB1 or Multiplex 1) licence was gifted to the BBC by the Broadcasting Act, but it specifically forbids the BBC from using for non-BBC output.

This isn't a problem for the Freeview BBCB (aka PSB3 aka Multiplex B) as the BBC won this in an open auction, not is a problem for the satellite capacity that the BBC rents directly from Astra of Luxembourg.

A problem, however, for the BBC is that multiplex B is broadcast to 27.8m homes but in a format that only Freeview HD boxes can use.   This means that the price is high (due to needing to be sent out from 1,190 masts) but can only be seen by a small proportion.

This compares to the COM multiplexes that only cover 19.8m homes, but can be seen by all of them.  Not the most enticing proposition.


It seems quite likely that BBC FOUR HD will move from the "extra" multiplex that is broadcast from just 30 sites (to 16m homes, perhaps) to BBCB so more people can watch it.   This will leave the "cheap slots" on Arqiva's com7 and com8 for more commercial channels.

Rules is the rules

The DMOL rules for channel number on Freeview suggests that BBC FOUR will move up to slot 7 and the BBC will have to abandon slot 9.   This means the next lucky channel to start up will be able to get it.  

This is unless the BBC can convince DMOL that it can pass it to Dave on 12, and then shuffle the UKTV channels (Really, Yesterday and Drama) along a bit.

So, what to do with the 8pm-4am slot on Mux 1?

There are other possibilities.  The BBC could move the Red Button stream to channel 9 and using the capacity only after 8pm, perhaps?

Any ideas?  

Remember the BBC can't sell the space to anyone else.

All questions
BBC Three Linear channel re-opens1
Removing all barriers to communication between diverse cultures2
How do I get a test card with Freeview3
What can I do when my Sky Digibox says 'No Signal' or 'Technical fau4
Can I receive UK TV in Ghana?5
In this section
BBC salami-slicing returns to overnight services?1
#GreatBBC campaign launched2
Goodbye BBC Red Button!3
Want to know how much the BBC spend in England, Scotland, Wales and NI per home?4
S4C and Welsh Exceptionalism?5
BBC future: make sure you make the deadline6

Saturday, 15 August 2015
6:24 AM

The BBC could move all Sport to the BBC3 channel.
Sport gets in the way of normal viewing.

link to this comment
Dunworking's 11 posts GB flag

10:44 AM

Dunworking: Much as I'd like all sport to be corralled off, so I dont have to ever see it, there are real problems with a sports only channel for the BBC.

Firstly, for lots of people (not me), 'normal viewing' does include sport.

Unless there is constant sport, that channel is going to have a lot of dead time, and since the BBC really cannot afford much in the way of sports coverage these days, whats it going to fill it with? Its the reason why 5 Live and Talksport dont just do sport. Sky can, but they are richer than God.

And sports dont come on consistantly. During Wimbledon Fortnight, great, especially if its a World Cup/Olympic Year - they will hardly be able to keep up. Other times its going to be whats happening in the Barsetshire Egg and Spoon race, because thats pretty much it. How are you going to fill the rest of the time?

Since BBC3 shares with CBBC, the slot is from 7pm until 6am. OK for football in the winter on a weekday. Weekend viewing - not going to happen. Wimbwldon diring the day - ditto. And the same goes for events outside that slot worldwide. Rio is 4 hours behind the UK, which might work if a race starts 3pm local time. On the other hand, the Winter Olympics might not work at all.

Best idea. Pretty much as it is now. BBC2 handles the day to day stuff like Wimbledeon, special stuff on 1, and overflow to BBC3 after 9pm (CBBC is being extended). Or stop sport all together....

link to this comment
MikeB's 2,579 posts GB flag
MikeB's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
10:55 PM

All those "Special occasions" the Beeb just love to wreck BBC1 scheduling for, you know, the royal ones - as well as any sports that they can afford - Wimbledon, Cricket etc...

link to this comment
hyattjon's 7 posts US flag
Sunday, 16 August 2015
Richard H

6:39 AM

I would like to see 'Film Four' go HD. If not, could the spare? HD slot be used to change the 'Red Button' channel to HD.

link to this comment
Richard H's 30 posts GB flag

4:00 PM

Richard H: I think FIlm4 HD is exclusive to Virgin Media. I don't know how long that's going to be for.

link to this comment
Briantist's 38,907 posts US flag

4:16 PM


link to this comment
sharealam's 225 posts GB flag

4:27 PM

I would like to see BBC1+1 on that spare channel. BBC is the only broadcaster that doesn't have a +1 channel.

link to this comment
MikeG's 31 posts GB flag
Nick Anderson

9:59 PM

Why cannot the BBC use Channel 7 in place of BBC3 to screen a BBC version of the commercial UKTV Gold channel featuring the best of past BBC programmes?

link to this comment
Nick Anderson's 147 posts GB flag
Brian Wright

10:37 PM

Get rid of BBC4 . This will allow the BBC to add more original programs on BBC 1 & 2 and BBC can concentrate on more outlandish programming.

That way we can hope for a reduction in the foodie /cooking programming & endless variants!!.

link to this comment
Brian Wright's 77 posts GB flag
Brian Wright

10:39 PM

Brian Wright: How can an edit be performed to a recent post.?

link to this comment
Brian Wright's 77 posts GB flag
Select more comments
Page 1

Your comment please
Please post a question, answer or commentUK Free TV is here to help people. If you are rude or disrespectful all of your posts will be deleted and you will be banned.

Privacy policy: UK Free Privacy policy.