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Manchester and North West - switch off ends Wednesday 2nd December

The second-biggest city in the country will have no analogue television from Wednesday. If you don't have a Freeview box, your screen will be blank. Most people need only retune their Freeview box or TV, but it would be impossible with 2,690,000 homes covered for there to be no problems.

The second-biggest city in the country will have no analogue te
published on UK Free TV

If you live in Granadaland - Manchester, Liverpool, Macclesfield, Warrington, St Helens, Lancaster, Blackpool, Preston, Blackburn, Chester, Wrexham and the North West of England, you will receive your television signals from the Winter Hill transmitter, or one of its relays.

From 2nd December 2009 you MUST have a digital television device to watch TV. If you do not you will have a blank screen.

Do not expect a terrestrial television service from midnight until 6am - or a late as lunchtime on Freeview Lite transmitters.

If you are over 75, get (or could get) Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or mobility supplement; or have lived in a care home for six months or more; or are registered blind or partially sighted and need assistance, please see The Switchover Help Scheme.

Winter Hill transmitter and relays

After 19,571 days (over 53 years), Winter Hill will no longer broadcast analogue television signals.

Cable and satellite

Cable (Virgin Media) and satellite (Sky, Freesat, fSfS) viewers are not affected by the changes. Remember, however, that you may be using analogue TV to watch on a second or third set and it might need a Freeview box.

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.

If you are not on the list, you should scan your box from around 6am.

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 scanned before December 2nd - you will have 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.

Boosters

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 boxes, set back amplifiers, bypass Amplifiers, hidden masthead amps in a loft space and any dodgy active splitters.

Homes without Freeview

If you had no Freeview service before, you will have the BBC channels digitally from November 2nd. This is a single multiplex of the BBC channels (radio, television and text) for most people.

However, if you were on the fringes of reception from one of the main Freeview transmitters, you will now get all the Freeview channels.

If you didn't get this limited Freeview service in November then you may need a new aerial.

If you are served by a public service (relay) transmitter


You now need, from lunchtime on December 2nd to rescan, and you will get a second Multiplex with ITV1, ITV2, ITV2+1, FIVE, Channel 4, Channel 4+1, E4 and More4. And that's your lot, see Freeview retune - poor public service transmitters .

You will be able, soon to get Freeview HD, but not yet.

Digital regional overlap

The old analogue TV signals provided lots of nations and regions for the public service channels, and these have large areas of overlap. Places like Yeovil, Basingstoke, Colwyn Bay, King's Lynn, York and Berwick could choose the BBC and ITV services they watched.

The old low power digital TV signals were at very low levels and reception of signals from more than one transmitter was a rare event.

All Freeview boxes automatically scan the available broadcast frequencies looking for channels, and they do this from C21 to C69. Whilst scanning, if a duplicate version of a channel is found, such as another BBC One region, they are placed in the 800-899 channel range.

The 800-899 is easy to access by pressing CH- from 1, and in most programme guides is just a single scroll up.

The transmitters in Wales also put Channel 4 on "logical channel number" 8, because the fourth position is reserved for S4/C.

Quite a few people that use Winter Hill or a relay transmitter will probably find that they will now have:

  • 1 BBC One Wales
  • 2 BBC Two Wales
  • 3 ITV1 Wales
  • 4 S4/C
  • 8 Channel 4
  • 16 QVC
  • 72 CITV
  • 86 S4/2
  • 801 BBC One North West
  • 802 BBC Two England
  • 803 ITV1 Northwest
- or -
  • 1 BBC One North West
  • 2 BBC Two England
  • 3 ITV1 Northwest
  • 4 Channel 4
  • 16 QVC
  • 72 CITV
  • 86 S4/2
  • 801 BBC One Wales
  • 802 BBC Two Wales
  • 803 ITV1 Wales
  • 804 S4/C


What can I do about this?


There are basically three options.

OPTION 1: Live with it. If the signals are strong enough you get a few extra channels (S4/C has English subtitles). There are techniques for sorting out the channel numbers below, but any future automatic scan will restore the channels to the order you now find them in.

OPTION 2: You can clear the all of the channels from the box and manually scan for the multiplex from only one transmitter. For the details, see the transmitter pages



OPTION 3: If the Freeview box has no "manual add" option, the only technique left is to pull out the aerial, start the automatic scan and insert the aerial just before the lowest channel number appears. For Winter Hill this is C54.

Some Freeview boxes will show a "percentage complete" as they scan, under this scheme C21 is "0%", C22 is "2%", C42 is "42%", C54 is about "66%".

Even if you manual scan, many boxes will scan during the night for new channels and may still add channels in the 800-899 range.

Freeview HD

Freeview HD will start on December 2nd from Winter Hill, March 2010 for the relay transmitters. You will need a DVB-T2 receiver, which will probably not be on the market before the New Year. However, expect to see demonstrations on the day.

For more, please see Freeview HD will be 1080p25 and 1080i25 Freeview HD - final dates BBC R&I demonstrates Freeview HD ITV boss demands Freeview HDTV The "secret" Ofcom plan for Freeview HDTV: DVB-T2





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

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