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Manchester and North West - switch off starts Wednesday 4th November

The day before Bonfire Night sees the start of digital switchover for the North West of England.

The day before Bonfire Night sees the start of digital switchov
published on UK Free TV

If you were once used to seeing that most famous of ITV logos, the G-with-arrow device on your button three, you will be taking part in the biggest digital switch-over so far, starting Wednesday 4th November 2009.

If you live in Manchester or the North West of England, you will receive your television signals from the Winter Hill transmitter, or one of its relays.

Winter Hill transmitter and relays

Cable and satellite

Cable and satellite viewers are not effected by the changes. Remember, however, that you may be using analogue TV to watch on a second or third set.

Existing Freeview users

If you already use Freeview, and can receive all the channels now, check your TV or box is not listed here - TVs and boxes that do not support the 8k-mode. If it is, you will need a new box in the next four weeks.

If you are not on the list, you can wait until December to retune. Your box may also have a background scan facility. You may find that channels are moved into the 800-899 range during this time.

When you now rescan, you MUST do a "first time installation" or "factory reset" scan, not an "add channels". Do the procedure you did on September 30th 2009. If you can't recall what this was, please see List of manuals for Freeview retune, or try the generic clear and rescan procedure.

If you rescan before December 2nd, you will need to do it again ON December 2nd.

Using Freeview with Windows Vista

Please see Switch over and PC-based systems because you need some updates for your system to work.


If you live close to the transmitter, you may have to disconnect any "boosters" from your aerial system. The new, more powerful digital signals may overload any amplifiers and result in no reception! When looking for them include a check for Distribution Amplifiers, Loft box's, set back amplifiers, Bypass Amps, hidden masthead amps in a loft space and any dodgy active splitters. (Jordy)

Homes without Freeview

If you had no Freeview service at all, you will have from tomorrow lunchtime. This will be a single multiplex of the BBC channels (radio, television and text).

If you can't get this limited Freeview service, then you may need a new aerial.

Once you can receive the BBC Freeview channels, the rest will follow when analogue closes in four weeks time.

Freeview HD

Freeview HD will start on December 2nd. You will need a DVB-T2 receiver, which will probably not be on the market before the new year.

Jordy adds...

Just a few important points...

At around midnight analogue BBC Two will stop broadcasting permanently at the Winter Hill transmitter and its 70 relays. The remaining analogue services, BBC One, ITV and Channel 4, will continue to be available but are subject to breaks in service.

During the morning, some Freeview services will be available for the first time BBC Two digital, as well as BBC One, BBC Three (from 7pm), BBC Four (from 7pm), CBBC Channel (until 7pm), CBeebies (until 7pm), BBC News, BBC Parliament and BBC Red Button services.

Services at the Winter Hill, Lancaster, Pendle Forest, Storeton, Saddleworth, Austwick, Bacup, Barrow Town Hall, Bidston, Birch Vale, Bollington, Broadbottom, Cartmel, Chaigley, Chatburn, Congleton, Dalton, Delph, Dog Hill, Elton, Haughton Green, Langley, Lees, Macclesfield, Manchester Hulme, Middleton, Millom Park, Moss Bank, Mottram in Longdendale, Newchurch, North Oldham, Oakenhead, Over Biddulph, Parbold, Penny Bridge, Portwood, Prestbury, Ribblesdale, Romiley, Stavely in Cartmel, Stockport, Urswick, Walton le Dale, Wardle, West Kirby, Whaley Bridge, Whalley, Whitworth and Woodnook relay transmitters are expected to be restored by 6am.

Services at the Haslingden, Darwen, Littleborough, Trawden, Glossop, Roose VP, Roose HP, Ramsbottom and Buxton transmitters are expected to be restored by mid-morning. Services at the Skelmersdale, Ladder Hill, New Church, Blackburn, Brook Bottom, Backbarrow, Far Highfield, Middleton, Burbage, Whitewell, Melling HP, Melling VP, Brinscall, and Chinley relay transmitters are expected to be restored by mid-afternoon.

Services at the NORDEN relay transmitter are expected to be restored by early evening.

IMPORTANT:- Viewers of the MELLING relay transmitter will find analogue BBC One will be on button 2 on the remote control in between the two stages of switchover. Viewers of the Burbage and RAMSBOTTOM relay transmitter will find analogue Channel 4 will be on button 2 on the remote control between the two stages of switchover.

Those on the South Down coast of Northern Ireland who have aerials pointing out to sea and take their analogue signals from Winter Hill are going to wake up tomorrow and find out they have no television...

Let the fun begin...

Help with Freeview, aerials?
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