Free channels at 28.2°E

(updated 2006/02/28 at 21:45CET)


This is a list of channels receivable from 28.2°E without requiring any sort of card or subscription. They should be watchable using any digital receiver - though I can't say I've tried other than with a Digibox. You are likely to lose the interactive component(s) though...
This document primarily lists the channels with their new channel numbers (as of 28th February 2006). If the channel was previously referenced by a different channel number, the old number is specified as "(was #<old channel>)".


You can also read my personal thoughts on a number of these channels, or you can look at a plain channel listing (ideal for printing).



I'm surprised the BBC have chosen not to include BBC World in their line-up. From my viewing of it on 19.2°E, it seems to carry some interesting programmes.
Actually - it would appear that this channel is funded by the Government and is intended for viewing outside of the United Kingdom.
If you wish to watch this channel, is it broadcast in digital form on Astra 1x (19.2°E) and analogue form on Hotbird (13°E).

It is a shame to see TV5, TVEi, Eurosport, and CNBC sell out to Sky. All of these are freely available at 19.2°E but here at 28.2°E you'll need a card...
It is especially a shame as Eurosport has evolved into Eurosport UK on SkyDigital, which perhaps justifies the decision to encrypt (perhaps they are part-funded by Sky?). I recall the days when Eurosport operated in half a dozen languages and was designed to provide freely accessible European sporting events to everybody. This was not just an attempt to counter the subsidation of sports (i.e. who can watch Test Match Cricket for free these days?) but also to provide coverage to sports that may be considered more a minority market; such as Curling. If you want to watch Eurosport, in English or German, you'll find it on Astra 1x at 19.2°E analogue. The digital version also offers English and German, but the Digibox does not have a way to choose languages, so you'll only get it in German...



Entertainment channels

101 BBC 1 London

The 'central' version of the BBC 1 service.
If you have a FreeSat or Sky card, this will be automatically set to your regional BBC1 channel instead of defaulting to London.


102 BBC 2 England

The 'central' version of the BBC 2 service.
If you have a FreeSat or Sky card, this will be automatically set to your regional BBC2 channel.


103 ITV1 Central W

Apparently the 'central' version of the ITV1 (I'm surprised they aren't using the London region).
If you have a FreeSat or Sky card, this will be automatically set to your regional ITV channel, such as Meridian North...
The interactive content - common to all ITV channels - consists of a few games (which you'll need to pay for), a summary of what was on This Morning, some dating stuff... and little of actual value as far as I could see.
On the other hand, ignore the red button on the ITV channels and instead press text. The teletext service is a lot fuller, detailed, and more interesting...
Unfortunately, the other ITV1 regions (TyneTees, Meridian, etc) are not in the EPG listing. You'll need to patch them in manually as "Other Channels". Note that accessing them as 'Other Channels' renders the interactive/text services inaccessible.



How do you describe BBC THREE? Repeats from BBC 1 and 2 and stuff so weird it wouldn't make it to BBC 1 or 2?
Only broadcasts after 7pm.



Rather akin to BBC THREE; though seems more 'deep' and 'arty' than the other BBC channels.
Only broadcasts after 7pm.


118 ITV2

This is the ITV channel aimed at twenty-somethings, so you'll find programmes like 3rd Rock From The Sun (yay!) and movies like Jurassic Park III.
Unfortunately..... as I write this, the current fixation appears to be The X-Factor, and at times it can seem as if this channel ought to be renamed "ITV X-Factor". But, on the bright side, somebody is eliminated each week, so eventually they'll declare a winner and then it'll all go away - most likely to be replaced by I'm A Dickh^WCelebrity, Get Me Out Of Here which isn't altogether different. Or more interesting...


119 ITV3

Chicago Hope, Peak Practice, LA Law, The Practice, Karen Sisco, Maigret, Quincy, Cadfael... All that sort of stuff shown all the time.
Toss 'Airwolf' and 'At Home With The Braithwaites' into the mix, I'd be tempted to classify this as 'ITV without the crap'.


120 ITV4

This new channel from ITV contains programmes such as Dream On and Alien Nation; from what (little) I have seen of this channel, things are looking interesting...


135 S4C~ Digidol (was #151)

The 'Welsh' version of Channel 4; with lots of help from the BBC apparently.
Contains mostly Welsh language programming, but some things such as Pobol Y Cwm carry English subtitles on-screen.
Other regular programmes are Planed Plant, Y Tywydd, and Penawdau Newyddion (it is like reading Polish, isn't it?).
Sorry Emlyn, can't find a trace of teletext...
Off-air between midnight and 11am (roughly).

I guess this is like the Welsh version of Corrie?
Yakee-da. Or something like that. Hagen-Daz. :-)


150 Reality TV (was #187)

All those 'fly-on-the-wall' and 'police camera' shows collected in one place. Perhaps we should also dump "Help! I'm a wannabe-celebrity and stupid enough to be here..." into this channel?
On air most of the day (about an hour of teleshopping around 6am).


151 Reality TV +1 (was #188)

The Reality TV programming, shown an hour offset. So if you enjoyed seeing that helicopter crash and hundreds of people die horribly ... you can watch it all again! Oh, the excitement... Erm, or not?
Times as for #150, only an hour delayed.


165 Bonanza (was #241)

If you like old TV programmes that must have been filmed in Glorious Technicolor (perhaps better suited to Disney's Alice In Wonderland than real people, in those days), then this is the channel for you! In between a small amount of teleshopping and 'quiz tv', you can catch up on lots of episodes of Bonanza, The Beverly Hillbillies (okay, I lie, this one's in black and white!), The Lone Ranger...


261 Travel Channel (was #148)

Mostly travel information, but presented in the form of interesting programmes. Has a teletext service.
Appears to be 'associated' with Lunn Poly travel. I don't recall seeing this on the 19.2°E listings, so the programme line-up may differ from that at 19.2°E.
Right now I'm watching 'Avventura: Italian Cuisine'. Ahhhhhh... Long sigh. Oh to taste real pasta made by a real Italian. I'm sure it'd put my efforts to shame. At least I believe in making my pasta with egg, not the wheat'n'water concoction you often read recipes for.


262 Travel Ch +1 (was #149)

This is the travel channel programming an hour delayed.


315 Film4

Great movies for free - 3pm to 3am every single day!


316 Film4 + 1

Miss a bit? Not a convenient time? Schedule clash? This is Film4, only an hour later!


321 Zone Horror (was #330; was "The Horror Channel")

Get your fix of nubile girls screaming and acting badly - yes, this is full of cheesy horror flicks for all of you that enjoyed Boris Karloff and those B movies shown in the late hours when nobody else is likely to be watching... If you should ever get the chance to see it - tape it - Asylum Night. This film must be one of their best acquisitions. I can't wait for the DVD release...
You can also read my reviews of their films.
Off-air between 5:30am and 11am.


322 Zone Thriller

I believe this was to be Zone Horror 2 or Zone Horror +1, but somewhere along the way it turned into a channel that appears to broadcast one film every night at midnight.
I wonder what this channel will evolve into, given time.


323 True Movies (was #333)

This seems to broadcast most of the day, and contains an assortment of made-for-TV fodder imported from America. Perhaps a couple of films worth watching, but...
...yes, they rescue Jessica McClure. It just had to be, didn't it?


324 True Movies 2

Even more true movies! It'd be nice if they did a Kellie Martin series?


325 Movies4Men (was #336, was "matineemovies")

For some inexplicable reason, while the films are invariably 4:3 ratio (like a normal TV set), they are presented in 16:9 framing - so you'll get to see lots of films containing short fat people. The way to fudge this is to reconfigure your Digibox to think it is connected to a 16:9 television. It'll then expand the picture to fill the frame correctly. Don't forget to set it back to 4:3 or 4:3L afterwards!


327 ACTIONMAX (was #339, was "bad movies")

The channel's own description used to read as follows:

The world's first movie channel to call it how it is - we show bad movies every night. Paul Ross is the acerbic host who ensures we never show a good movie. At least they are free!
Some movies are almost so-bad-they're-good, others are so-bad-you-scream-Why-God-Why...
This channel suffers from the same incorrect-framing weirdness as matineemovies.
It is amusing to see a number of movies from The Horror Channel receiving a final dusting off on this channel... before somebody does the decent thing and loses the reels. :-)


369 Classic FM TV (was #464)

Well... This is an interesting misture. From Andrea Boccelli to Hayley Westenra. From horrible operatic screechings to gothic rock... not to mention the various guises of Emily Ovenden!


616 CBBC Channel

Programming for older children; much like the stuff shown 4pm-6pm on BBC 1. Includes a special CBBC interactive service, which is much like the BBCi only coloured lurid green instead of lurid red. What it needs are a few simple but addictive 'free' games; you know - like a Pacman clone and maybe a game of Patience. If the target audience is smart enough, why not teach them the subtle arts of Go and Chess?
[there are games in the Digibox's 'Interactive' menu, but you only get so far before you are expected to go on-line to continue playing, and that is annoying; and I'm not just saying that 'cos I live abroad!]
Broadcasts between 7am and 7pmish.


617 CBeebies

Programming for children that still wear diapers. Or adults that'll end up in diapers after too many episodes of Tweenies. Or maybe it makes sense if you take hallucinogenic substances?
A little later on there was a furry dinosaur-like thing (Tambor?) in an egg and a cute girl called Sarah-Jane Honeywell (how's that for an equally cute name!?!?) presenting a programme going by the peculiar name of "Tikkabilla". The dinosaur had 'the grumps' in this episode so Sarah-Jane and a much larger man (Simon) tried to cheer up by jumping around a lot.

Sarah-Jane, Tambor, somebody (not Simon); and wibbly jelly...
I suppose children's television is a good outlet for hyperactive grown-ups! Though, I do wonder... Is Sarah-Jane like that when she goes home? :-)
Includes a special CBeebies interactive service where you can do fun things like make Bob the Builder's truck!
Broadcasts between 6am and 6pmish.


619 Pop

Entertainment for children that seems to consist of a large amount of colourful pop songs. I guess why this channel is called Pop.
This channel has recently gone 24hour, so if you're lost with what to do with your kids at, say, four in the morning... Mmm...


620 Tiny Pop

Like 'Pop' but for an even younger audience.


971 BBC 1 Scotland (was #941)
972 BBC 1 Wales
973 BBC 1 NI
974 BBC 1 London
(if not mapped in as channel 101)
975 BBC 1 NE & C
976 BBC 1 Yorks
977 BBC 1 Yrks&Lin
978 BBC 1 N West
979 BBC 1 W Mids
980 BBC 1 E Mids
981 BBC 1 East (E)
982 BBC 1 East (W)
983 BBC 1 S East
984 BBC 1 South
985 BBC 1 Oxford
986 BBC 1 West
987 BBC 1 S West
988 BBC 1 CI
989 BBC 2 England
(if not mapped in as channel 102)
(was #959)
990 BBC 2 Scotland
991 BBC 2W
992 BBC 2 NI

Regional versions of BBC 1 and BBC 2. Links to BBCi 'interactive'. Teletext is a more sorrowful situation, p100 says that it only carries subtitling on p888...

If you do not have any form of card, then please note that channels 944 and 959 will not be available - you access them as channel 101 and 102.
Likewise, if you do have some sort of card (Sky, FreeSat, etc), then your own regional channels will be 'missing' from this list, and available as 101 and 102...



501 Sky News

Sky's garish red'n'blue news service. Includes a reasonable interactive section - choose 'Sky News Active' for the goodies, it isn't terribly obvious. Much of the rest is either advertising or on-line stuff. Oh, and to turn off that annoying ticker, choose '7' and go left once to find the 'OFF' option.
Includes a multiscreen where you can pick one of eight newsy things to watch, with a full-screen option.


503 BBC NEWS 24 (was #507)

The more tastefully laid out BBC news service. Sadly the six-item multiscreen keeps the screen to the upper left so you can see other options. It'd be nice of there was a full screen option here too, so I can watch the weather report without squinting to figure out where Kirsty McCabe is pointing...


504 BBC PARL'MNT (was #508)

Sounds pretty boring to me! It really needs an interactive service with a game allowing you to throw rotten veg at various members of the cabinet...


506 CNN (was #513)

The global American news service that prides itself on impartiality (which I guess depends on how 'impartial' and 'balanced' you like your impartial and balanced media; it isn't bad for something American). Like BBC World, CNN carries a number of factual programmes alongside the constant news reports; things like Larry King Live and Global Challenges...
Has a comprehensive teletext service.


507 S4C~2 (was #519)

Seems to be broadcasting remarkably boring 'information' pages from 9am to 6pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Does this mean nothing happens in Wales?


509 EuroNews (was #528)



All are 24hr, as far as I can tell.

271 Performance (was #202)
355 Chart Show TV
(was #455)
356 The Vault
(was #456)
357 B4
("b 4 it's a hit") (was #457)
359 Classic FM TV
(was #464)
360 channel U
(was #467)
361 Fizz
(was #468)
368 Musicians Chnl
(was #475)
781 B4U Music



No longer listed.
Channels #760 - #771 (Christian).
"mta-muslin tv" (#787) and "Islam Channel" (#813) are both classified as 'International'.

Refer to the plain channel listing.


Non-English / Minority

No longer listed.
Channels #781 - #820.

Refer to the plain channel listing.



419 Extreme Sports (24hr; with multilingual teletext)
423 Golf Channel
425 Channel 425
(24hr; the Virtual Horse Racing has to be seen to be believed!)
427 TWC
440 Sport Nation
(was #435)



880 Teachers' TV (was #592)
885 Legal TV


996 Chl Line-up [audio only]

This audio only channel appears to be some guy reading the channel list...


Radio channels

All of the following are radio channels, and as such display a 'muted' information box on-screen. The clever person would turn off the television and pipe the sound through a hi-fi system of some sort...
Used to be channels #851 to #940.

0101 BBC R1
0102 BBC R2
0103 BBC R3
0104 BBC R4 FM
0105 BBC R5 Live
0106 Classic FM
0107 Virgin Radio
0108 talkSPORT
0109 Capital 0110 Planet Rock
0111 XFM
0112 Core
0113 Century
0114 ChoiceFM
0115 BBC WS
(WS = World Service)
0116 BBC R Scot.
0117 BBC R Wales
0118 BBC R Ulster
0119 BBC Asian N.
0120 BBC 6 Music
0121 Capital Gold
0122 WRN Europe
0123 Premier
0124 Heart
0125 UCB Europe
0126 crossrhythm
0127 Oneword
0128 smooth fm 0129 Solar Radio
0130 Panjab Radio
0131 BBC 7
0132 PrimeTime
0133 sunriseradio
0134 UCB Bible
0135 UCB Talk
0136 UCB Insp
0137 1xtra BBC
0138 TWR
0139 BBC R n Gael
("Ceòl gàire is conaltradh")
0141 Raaj Radio
0142 RTE Europe
0143 BBC R4 LW
0144 BBC 5LSport
0145 Club Asia
0146 Real Radio
0147 EWTN
0150 Sukh Sagar
0151 Asian Gold
0154 BBC R Cymru
("Rhaglen ddifyr o sgwrs a cherddoriaeth gyda Siân Thomas")
0155 Pulse Rated
0156 CC Radio
0157 GlobeCast
0158 Gaydarradio
0159 Family Radio
0160 RTE Radio 1
0161 ArrowRock
0162 FUN Radio
0163 Apple FM
0164 RTE 2FM
0165 RTE Lyric fm
0166 RTE R na G
("Clar ceoil, a chur i lathair ag Dara o Cinneide.")
0167 jazz fm
0168 Akash Radio
0169 Desi Radio
0170 The Hits
0171 Galaxy FM
0172 Smash Hits!
0173 kismatradio
0174 chill
0175 CaptlDisney
0176 Amrit Bani
0177 LBC 97.3
0178 Kiss
0179 Heat
0180 Magic
0181 Q
0182 MOJO
0183 Kerrang
0184 Radio
("None of the hits. None of the time.")
0185 Spectrum 1
0186 Liberty
0187 Yarr Radio
0188 On Air
0189 Classic Gold
0190 big L 1395


This list was last updated on 28th February 2006.

Suggestions, comments, and corrections welcome.
'heyrick' at 'merseymail' dot 'com'.


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Copyright © 2006 Richard Murray