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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.
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.
After 19,571 days (over 53 years), Winter Hill will no longer broadcast analogue television signals.
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 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 ITVservices 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 Oneregion, 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:
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
If you specifically want the Welsh services use Moel-Y-Parc the values are C42, C45, C48-, C49+, C51-, C52+.
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 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.