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Digital TV Switchover: After The Switchover

The Switchover is Complete - Now what?

If your area has just completed the Digital Switchover, here's what you should notice:

  • The old analogue TV service will have been switched off, and to get TV channels you will need to be using a digital TV service such as Freeview, Sky, Freesat or BT Vision
  • If you are using Freeview, you will need to re-tune your Freeview TV set or set-top box on the day of switchover, to make sure that you get all of the Freeview channels.
  • After your local analogue TV service switches off, it's common for the Freeview power to be increased, which means if you didn't get a strong signal before the switchover, you may find that your signal strength has improved as a result

More: What happens on Switchover Day?

 

Problem: I've just switched, but my signal has got worse!

 

This message from Lizzie is representative of some of the messages we've received from a few people that have completed the switchover:

I have lots of channels missing including ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. I could receive these channels prior to the changeover date but now they have vanished! How do I get them back?

Also the reception is terrible - For the first time ever, there is interference. I was under the impression digital is going to be better?  

In general, most people should see an improvement in picture quality when the digital switchover has been completed in their area - this is because the transmitter power for Freeview has been increased as part of the switchover. For a small percentage, there can be problems, and we'll try to give some advice here:

 

Perform a re-scan:

If you have lost channels, you should perform a channel re-scan on your Freeview TV or set-top box. This should remove old channels and add new channels to your Freeview line-up. As a part of the switchover, several channels move to new channel blocks, called Multiplexes. You need to get your box or TV to scan for these channels, to make sure you have the full set of channels.

Signal too strong, or too weak?

Those experiencing poor Freeview signal before the switchover may have opted for a signal booster to pull in a weak signal. After the switchover, it could be that your Freeview receiver no longer needs that booster - in fact, if the signal is too strong, it could be overloading the tuner, causing problems. If you're using a booster, try turning it off to see if there's an improvement.

Your Freeview receiver should have an on-screen Signal Strength meter - use this on a channels that's problematic, and see what signal strength you get.

Are your neighbours affected?

If others in your area aren't having a problem with their Freeview reception, that could indicate that there is a problem with your aerial, or your aerial cabling.

Transmitter?

Now that the switchover is complete in your area, it could be that there is a more suitable transmitter for you. Before the switchover, only the large transmitter sites were Freeview-enabled, with many of the smaller 'relay' sites offering analogue only. It could be that your aerial is no longer pointing at the most appropriate transmitter.

Aerial

To get a good Freeview signal, you need an appropriate TV aerial, normally on the roof, pointing at the most appropriate transmitter. The aerial and the downlead need to be undamaged.

Also, now that the switchover is complete, your aerial may no longer be pointing at the best transmitter.

Again - are people in your area affected? If not, where are their aerials pointing?

Splitting the signal

UHF signal boosterIf you have two or more Freeview receivers - perhaps a TV and a recorder, and one can't get a good signal, that could indicate that you need to look at the way you are splitting your aerial feed - you may be adding some "loss" by feeding one aerial to two devices. In this situation, a signal booster often helps - get a booster with one input and multiple outputs - one for each Freeview receiver.

For more on this, see our Freeview Signal Booster Advice

Other things to check

  • Make sure the aerial lead is connected correctly - check there are no breaks, and that nothing has become unplugged accidentally somewhere between the aerial and your Freeview receiver
  • Try re-booting your Freeview box / resetting your TV, just in case there's not a problem with the receiver. A Factory Reset is also worth a try
  • Weather - High winds can cause damage to your aerial. Heavy rain can affect your reception too.
  • Interference. Your receiver may be picking up interference - perhaps from a computer, washing machine, or even an illegal broadcaster

Still having problems?

You may need to seek the advice of an aerial installer - they can test your aerial to make sure it is not damaged, is connected correctly, and is pointing in the right direction. Check the Yellow Pages or online for a CAI-approved aerial installer, and get them to take a look. It's always a good idea to get a second opinion before commissioning any work.

 

Alternatives to Freeview?

If you're in an area where good Freeview reception is not possible, there are some alternatives:

  • Satellite TV - Either Sky (on subscription) or Freesat (no subscription)
  • Cable TV - Available in parts of the UK

More information:


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