Your Sky TV guide has just been treated to a makeover. On May 1, Sky automatically reordered a big chunk of channels, and rolled out a handful of brand new sections.
The changes actually make a lot of sense and, in the long-term, they should make channels easier to find. But let’s face it, early on they’re going to cause a lot of confusion.
Here’s everything you need to know to avoid getting really frustrated and throwing your remote across the room.
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One of the biggest changes concerns Documentaries channels. Sky has moved the likes of Nat Geo HD, History HD and Discovery HD to the main section of the TV guide, where they now sit alongside regular Entertainment channels and are (hopefully) easier to find from the All Channels menu.
What’s more, Sky hasn’t ditched the dedicated Documentaries menu, so you’ve always got that to fall back on when you’re struggling to track down what you want.
Why has Sky made the change? It’s essentially because the likes of David Attenborough and Chris Packham have succeeded in making documentaries sexy.
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“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,” Sky says.
“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.”
Even better, any series links you’ve set will continue to record as normal, and when you visit your favourite channels they’ll be listed as normal, only updated with their new numbers.
Key new Documentary channel numbers:
- Discovery HD − 125
- Nat Geo HD − 129
- History HD − 130
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The easiest changes to get your head around are the ones that have been made to +1 channels. Sky has introduced a dedicated +1 menu in the TV guide, which lists all +1 channels from every genre.
In a deeply satisfying show of common sense, it has also aligned the channel numbers for Entertainment and Documentaries channels and their corresponding +1 channel on both Sky+ and Sky Q. It’s essentially a case of adding 100 to access the +1, so while you’ll find Sky One at 106, you’ll find Sky One +1 at 206.
“+1 channels provide viewers with a second chance to view their favourite programmes,” Sky explains. “Over time the channels have become increasingly difficult to find, the changes we’re making will make it far easier for viewers to find their favourite +1 channel.” Simple.
Once again, series links and favourite channels are unaffected.
Key +1 channel numbers:
- ComedyCent+1 − 212
- Nat Geo+1 − 229
- Good Food+1 − 233
HD/SD channel swaps
To free up space and get more variety into the TV guide, Sky has also split up the HD and SD versions of channels. Simply put, if you have access to the HD version of a channel, you’ll now see that in the main TV guide by default, with the SD version of it relegated to a new section in the 800s.
If you only have access to SD channels, the opposite applies (with the SD versions of channels appearing in the main TV guide and the HD versions automatically moving to the 800s).
“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,” says Sky.
“Where a channel is unable to present HD first due to regionalised programming, we’ll continue to present the standard definition version first and list the HD version in the main section of the TV Guide. In regions where we’re able to list the HD versions of these channels at the top of the TV Guide, we’ll move the duplicate standard definition channel to the 800s.”
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Sky has also bumped International channels slightly higher up the TV guide, and shifted a selection of channels in the Movies, Music, Sports, News, Kids and Religion sections.
Furthermore, the ITV Encore channel is no longer available, but you can carry on watching the likes of Broadchurch, Vera and The Frankenstein Chronicles on-demand.
You can learn more about Sky’s new TV guide here.
What do you think of the changes? are you pleased or do you think they’re unnecessary? Share your thoughts @TrustedReviews.