Channel 4 HD by default on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media
Millions of Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media viewers in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will receive Channel 4 in High Definition by default on channel 104 following a major reconfiguration.
Currently, most viewers have Channel 4’s standard definition service on channel 104, but need to scroll down the channel list for the HD channel. Only Sky and Virgin Media customers in London have Channel 4 HD on 104.
This will change on Tuesday 27th September when additional regional versions of Channel 4’s HD service will become available to satellite and cable viewers. These will replace the current SD service on 104.
Although Channel 4 does not broadcast regional programmes, its ad breaks are regionalised, so that advertisers can target different parts of the UK. But this variation in content meant Channel 4 couldn’t widely move its HD service to channel 104.
On satellite, the upgrade is part of an agreement between Channel 4 and Sky allowing Channel 4 HD to be regionalised to match the current standard definition service. As a result, Sky is hosting the regionalised Channel 4 HD on its own satellite transponder capacity. Channel 4 previously used its own capacity for its main free-to-air channels. Freesat EPG data was attached to the test signal in the past week, as a precursor to Channel 4 HD improving its availability on the free-to-air satellite service.
The implementation of the changes was delayed by last September’s incident at Channel 4’s playout centre, which disrupted services for weeks.
In Wales, S4C is the official fourth channel. As a result, Channel 4 HD will be allocated to Sky and Virgin Media channel 108 and Freesat channel 106.
As part of the move, Sky viewers in the Republic of Ireland will see Channel 4 HD with Irish adverts, on Sky channel 135 from Tuesday 27th.
Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media receivers will automatically receive the update to the channel list during the course of the day. Receivers that miss the automatic update may require a reboot.
Channel 4 splits the UK in the following ad-regions:
Plus one feed for the Republic of Ireland.
*The South feed covers Anglia, Southern and south-western England. It also the feed that is available in Wales, where S4C is the official fourth channel. Once known as “East and South of England”