Sky channel changes: Everything you need to know about the new TV listings

Find out where the +1 channels have moved to, where the documentary networks have gone and what happened to ITV Encore

A woman uses a Sky remote control in Romford, U.K., on Tuesday, June 15, 2010. British Sky Broadcasting Plc, the U.K.'s largest pay-TV provider, spurned a 7.8 billion-pound ($11.5 billion) offer from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., asking for the bid to be raised by at least 14 percent. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Can’t find your favourite Sky channels all of a sudden? Don’t worry: they’re still there, simply listed under another number.

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On 1st May Sky’s TV listings had a bit of a spring clean, with the aim of making channels easier to find in the future. However, for viewers who have become used to the channel numbers in the TV guide, it can be a tad confusing.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new Sky TV numbers below…

But before we start, there’s a key point we need to nail down: none of the changes below have affected your series links, your favourites or recordings…


+1 channels have moved into a new section

From ITV+1 to E4+1, all entertainment and documentary channels that give viewers a chance to watch programmes that originally aired an hour earlier have been moved. They’re now in a new section starting at channel 201.

Why? The idea is to make all +1 channels easier to find by making all main channel numbers align with their +1 number. For instance, as Sky 1 is on channel 106, Sky One+1 is on 206. And since E4 is on channel 135, E4+1 is on 235. Easy, right?

And just to make things even easier, Sky has introduced a dedicated +1 menu in the TV guide, listing all +1 channels from every genre.

Key +1 new channel numbers:

– ITV+1 – 203

– C4+1 – 204

– Sky Atlantic +1 – 208

– Comedy Central +1 − 212

– Nat Geo +1 − 229

– Good Food +1 − 233

-E4 +1 – 235


Documentary channels have moved up the TV Guide

In fact, channels like Nat Geo HD, History HD and Discovery HD now sit alongside regular entertainment channels, making them easier to see in the All Channels menu.

The channels will still be listed in the documentaries menu within your TV Guide.

Why the change? “As viewing habits and the types of programmes scheduled across all channels change over time, we need to review how we list channels in the TV Guide,” a statement from Sky explained.

“The distinction between the programming on Documentaries channels and general entertainment programming has become less defined as more factual and factual-entertainment programmes are shown on the mainstream channels.”

Key +1 new channel numbers:

– Discovery HD − 125

– Nat Geo HD − 129

– History HD – 130

– Yesterday – 155

– Lifetime HD – 164


Duplicated HD/SD channels have moved to a new section

Remember how most HD channels in the TV Guide were listed alongside a standard definition version? Not anymore. Sky’s new channel swapping means you’ll always receive the best quality version of a channel at the higher position in the TV Guide, with the other version automatically moving to the 800s.

This means that if you have access to the HD version of a channel, you’ll now see it higher up the TV guide automatically – the standard version of that channel with be in the 800s. And, vice versa, if you only have access to SD stations then those versions will appear on your TV guide automatically, with the HD versions regulated to the 800s.

This gets a little complicated by channels BBC1, ITV and Channel 4’s regional opt-outs, with programming such as local news and adverts currently only broadcast in SD. In regions where an HD opt-out is unavailable, then the SD channels will retain their positions at 101, 103 and 104, while their HD versions will also remain unaffected.

But basically, if you can get a HD version of a channel you’ll find it at the top end of the channel listings.

“Our HD Channel Swap feature ensures you always receive the best quality version of a channel at the higher position in the TV Guide − if you have access to the HD version, we give you the HD version first by default,” explains Sky.


Any other Sky channel changes?

Here are the minor alterations that you’ll encounter on your TV Guide…

  • ITV Encore is no longer listed, with the station closing and transforming into a solely on demand service
  • International (foreign language) channels have been moved and now start at channel 701
  • To “create more space” Sky has re-arranged a selection of channels in the Movies, Music, Sports, News, Kids and Religion sections
  • VICELAND has been rebranded as ‘VICE’ and moved to 183
  • Some channels have changed genres: 4Music moves to the entertainment section and channel 139. Plus, VH-1 moves from 357 to 174.
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You can explore the new channel listings here.