menuMENU    UK Free TV logo TV



Click to see updates

Why are there so many +1 channels on TV?

Freesat has 22 of them, there are 24 of them on Freeview, and Sky gives a whole 100 numbers to them. Why are there so many plus one TV channels?

A nightclub guest-list is the other place you find plus ones.  Photograph: gettyimages
A nightclub guest-list is the other place you find plus ones. Photograph: gettyimages
published on UK Free TV

People often ask why their selected digital TV service has so many +1 channels.  There are several possible reasons


Some people’s commutes are much longer than others

Not everyone in the UK is running on the same personal time-zone.  This graphic shows the percentage of people in each region who have a travel-time to (and home from) work of an hour.  Only 7% of people in Wales and the East Midlands take longer than an hour each way, but this number is five times larger in Greater London

This does mean that there are enough people who are happy to not miss a TV show.



Most people don’t use their digital TV recording device

If everyone has a digital TV recording device, why do we need +1 channels?  There are two interesting facts here.  First is that the number of homes with a Personal Video Recorder (usually Sky+ or Freeview+) peaked in 2015 and now stands at 56%.


This suggests that there are still plenty of homes without a DVR, who might welcome a simple hour time shift channel.  More alarming is this Ofcom graph which shows that two-thirds of people say they have access to a digital recorder, but only 18% of their viewing is time shifted!

This suggests that the Great British public find the pick-to-watch later digital TV systems somewhat less real-world usable in practice than when they bought (into) them. 


+1 TV stations are cheap to make

It’s a piece of cake, technically, to supply a time-shifted TV station.   In effect the output your TV channel is pumped into a computer where it is stored in memory and regurgitated (and overwritten) an hour later.

From a rights point of view, ad-funded broadcasters just extend the rights they must broadcast the content for an hour, and the advertisers who pay for the channel to run just need to add together the viewing figures for the time-shifted showing.

If the costs of the provision are less than the added revenue from the advertising income, why would a broadcaster want to go to the trouble of supplying a different channel? 



About 5% of viewing is of +1 channels

About 5% of viewing today is to +1 channels.  This is a drop over the last two years from 6%.  The graph here shows the channels that make up this 5%.      The bulk of this is from the time shifted services from ITV, ITV2, Channel 4, E4, Channel 5 and Film4.

Will the decline continue?   When Sky renumbered all the +1 channels last year, it took about two weeks for their viewing figures to be restored.     If you want to see a graph of the +1 channels figures going back to 2002, see here. 


+1 channels help keep viewers

The only TV channel that supplies public viewing figures for the standard, high definition and plus one services is ITV (meaning ITV, STV, UTV and technically ITV Breakfast).  Today 32% of time spent watching is of the HD service (from nothing) but 5.5% of viewing has been to ITV+1.  This suggests that +1 viewers are very loyal, even finding the channel when it moved many places in the Sky EPG last year. 






Long term +1 viewing graph







Help with Which system?
Can I use an existing sky dish with a freeview box? and if so can the two servic1
what is the difference between normal Co-axial cable and satellite grade? Can I2
i will never be able to get Sky reception (my house is surrounded by trees) an3
Do I need to get an aerial or can I connect my old sky dish straight to an aeri4
Why are many channels (such as TCM) on fSfS or Freesat but not on Freeview?5
In this section
BBC sets out plan to inform, educate and entertain during unprecedented times1
Channel 4 would like to turn Sky "retransmission fees" into programming2
The BBC wants to stop paying Sky ten million pounds a year for EPG listing3
BBC "Delivering Quality First" changes to transmissions4
Broadcasting territorial exclusivity with a decoder card is contrary to EU law 5
Ofcom provides Product Placement logo6

Monday, 8 January 2024
Mary Judd
1:20 PM

Have only one third of Freeview channels now I have moved a quarter
of a mile from PL12 4JR to PL124FD

link to this comment
Mary Judd's 2 posts GB flag
Mary's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Steve Donaldson

1:36 PM

Mary Judd : Which multiplexes are you missing? The full list of programme channels by multiplex ("mux") is here:

Channel listings for Industry Professionals | Freeview

There are six TV multiplexes and their designations are:

PSB1 = BBC A (carries BBC standard definition TV and radio)
PSB2 = D3&4 (carries ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and some of their sister channels)
PSB3 = BBC B (carries all HD programme channels, both BBC and non-BBC ones)
COM5 = Arq A
COM6 = Arq B

link to this comment
Steve Donaldson's 219 posts GB flag

2:15 PM

Mary Judd :

Have you retuned your TV since you moved? You might previously have been tuned to the transmitter at Plympton rather than the one at Caradon Hill, the latter should give a better signal if your aerial us pointing at it.

Roughly what compass bearing is the aerial pointing? Ideally it should be 310 degrees - that's roughly North West, and its rods (or squashed Xs) should be horizontal? Where is the aerial - outside on a pole on the roof or in the loft?

link to this comment
Chris.SE's 4,242 posts GB flag
Select more comments
Page 3

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.