After the joys of the big TV events of Christmas, from Miranda to Downton, January is a good time for a fresh look at your TV guide. Whether it is different perspectives on current affairs from Arise News (Channel 136) or something for the rug rats on Tiny Pop (126), there is in fact a unique range of specialist programmes and high quality entertainment that is readily available (along with some guilty pleasures).
As tempting as it is to stop browsing past Channel 5, you may just miss a plethora of untapped potential, so flex your fingers, grab the remote and begin your perusal of undiscovered channels to discover what’s on now…
Entertainment and Reality Shows
If you’re a game show enthusiast or a reality TV fiend who loves to get a sneaky insight into the lives of others, there are tonnes of programmes to meet your needs. CBS Reality (66) keeps it (relatively) real with a mixture of courtroom dramas, medical shows and good old Jerry Springer. Challenge TV (46) is the home of cult shows and quizzes including Deal or No Deal, Wheel of Fortune and The Crystal Maze, and for something more daring, Tru TV (68) offers thrilling reality shows straight from the shores of America with Fear Factor, Redneck Island and Impractical Jokers. If you’re a fan of factual and lifestyle programmes, these can be found on Quest (37) with Salvage Hunters, Baggage Battles and Nomad Chef along with outdoor adventure series, stunt shows and documentaries including Industrial Junkie.
Action and Drama
Getting your fix of high-octane drama doesn’t need to be restricted to cinema visits or boundary-related disputes with your neighbours. For die-hard thriller fans, CBS Action (70) is home to fast-paced films and sci-fi shows with favourites such as Dexter, Star Trek and NCIS. True Entertainment (61) fulfils viewers nostalgic needs with classic American dramas such as The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie as well as retro thrillers such as M*A*S*H and The Knock. Movie Mix (32) provides a broad selection of films and drama series from the UK and US.
You can’t please everyone all of the time, so rather than appeal to the masses, specialist channels provide programs that cater to specific interests. If you’re a keen baker, motor enthusiast or eager globetrotter, you can indulge in your favourite kind of entertainment all the time rather than idly procrastinate until the next instalment of Bake Off/Top Gear/Vacation Vacation Vacation. Whether you enjoy caravanning holidays in Bognor Regis or jungle treks in darkest Peru, The Travel Channel (42) offers all kinds of holiday inspiration with programmes such as Castles, Secrets and Legends, Dangerous Grounds and even Booze Traveller. The Food Network (41) offers budding chefs and general appreciators of food a range of cooking-related entertainment with shows such as Kitchen Superheroes and Baking Made Easy while other specialist options include Motors UK (71) and Create and Craft (36).
Streaming Channels and Local TV
If have a new Freeview HD Smart TV then once you start uncovering channel gems lurking in the depths of your TV guide, you’ll find that there’s even more on offer. With a Smart TV from 2012 onwards, you can access specialist free and pay streaming channels (once you connect to the internet). These include Chinese programming from the Chinese state broadcaster, CCTV (226) or by contrast live racing on pay service Racing TV (231). Much like opening doors to another world, some channels are in fact portals to yet another selection of channels such as TV Player (241) which is home to Fashion TV, France 24 and more. Or for a small fee you can VuTV (238) gives you access to 13 channels including the likes of MTV and the History Channel along with Nickelodeon.
For something a little closer to home you can also check out local TV channels in your area for news, features and interactive shows.