No Sony on Freeview? Here's why:


Q: Why can't I get Sony Channel or Sony Movies Christmas on Freeview?

A: Following a review of the way Sony makes its channels available to viewers earlier in 2019, some of Sony's channels are being made available to a smaller proportion of Freeview viewers.

The affected Sony-branded channels are:
  • Sony Channel UK (channel 48) is only available in some towns and cities.
  • Sony Movies Christmas (channel 50) is only available in some towns and cities.
  • Additionally, Sony Movies Action (channel 40) is not broadcast from Freeview transmitters in Wales.

In order for a commercial broadcaster to make its channels available on Freeview, it has to strike carriage deals with a provider of Freeview capacity.

Sony has struck a deal that allows some of its channels to be broadcast on Freeview alongside the TV signal that delivers local TV services, rather than via the usual national Freeview network.

That means that Sony Channel and Sony Movies Christmas as well as a couple of its children's channels can only be received in an area served by a local TV service.

If you can receive a local TV channel on either Freeview channel 7 or 8, (e.g London Live, Birmingham TV, That's York or Latest TV Brighton), then you're likely to see Sony Channel on channel 48 and Sony Movies Christmas on channel 50, although you may need to retune if you haven't done so for a time.

(Due to the localised nature of coverage, some viewers may find the local TV signal carrying the Sony services is weaker than the national services available at their location.)

If you don't see a local channel on Freeview 7 or 8, then you won't see the affected Sony services. Given that only around 2/3 of UK households are technically in range of a local TV service, there's a significant proportion of viewers that will miss out.

Separately, Sony Movies Action (channel 40) is not available from Wales-based Freeview transmiters because it uses Freeview bandwidth that is used by Channel 4 in Wales to broadcast E4. This is due to a slightly different organisation of services in order to fit S4C on Freeview.

The decision to restrict coverage is solely a business decision for a commercial broadcaster to make, with a trade-off between cost of distribution and viewer reach. Securing greater UK coverage may be too expensive for some broadcasters.

Sony's channels are available on Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media for viewers outside of Freeview coverage.

YouView users - that's anyone with BT TV, TalkTalk TV or even Plusnet TV - will be affected by the same coverage issues as Freeview, as these services use the terrestrial TV signal for part of their service.

Is there a website where I can see a list of Freeview channels I should be able to receive at my address?
The Freeview website offers a reception prognosis. Visit https://www.freeview.co.uk/channels-at-your-address.
Please note that the checker makes an assuption that are you are tuned to a particular transmitter and this may not always be the correct one. It may not be able to factor in local receptions, e.g a tall tree or block of flats that may affect the number of channels you can receive.

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In this article, "Sony" refers to the Sony-branded channels that are controlled and licensed to Columbia Pictures Corporation, a division of Sony Pictures.


  • The RXclinic on The RXTV Log provides answers to viewer's TV reveption issues. All answers are correct as at the time of publication (October 2019). Look out for further articles in this series.