Viewers in Essex and parts of Suffolk will have no analogue television from Wednesday 20th July 2011. Unless you use cable or satellite to watch television, if you don't use a Freeview box or set, your screen will be blank.
Most people need only perform a "full retune" on their Freeview box or TV, but it would be impossible with 460,700 homes covered by the transmitters, for no-one to have a problem.
From Wednesday 20th July 2011 you MUST have a digital television device to watch TV. If you do not have a digital receiver, from Wednesday will have a blank screen.
Do not expect a terrestrial television service from midnight until 6am - or a late as lunchtime on relay transmitters.
Switchover help scheme
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.
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.
If you scanned during the first phase of switchover on Wednesday 6th July 2011 - you will have to do it again on Wednesday 20th July 2011.
Restrictions on SDN, Arqiva A and Arqiva B multiplexes
The SDN multiplex will temporarily operate on channel 49 (at 14kW ERP) from the first stage of Sudbury's switchover until mid-2012. Arqiva A will remain on its pre-switchover channel (C54) from switchover until mid-2012. Arqiva B will remain on its pre-switchover channel (C50+) until late 2011, and then temporarily move to channel 63 (at 2.2kW ERP), before adopting its final allocation of channel 56 during mid-2012.
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 now have Freeview Light
If you had no Freeview service before, you will have the BBC channels digitally from Wednesday 6th July 2011. This is a single multiplex of the BBC channels (radio, television and text) for most people.
Everyone who has digital-only terrestrial TV now has the ability to receive Freeview HD, see below.
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.
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. Most older Freeview boxes will, if a duplicate version of a channel is found whilst scanning, such as another BBC Oneregion, placed it in the 800-899 channel range.
Some of the latest Freeview boxes will pick the strongest signals for the "primary" number positions, and some will detect the different regions providing a choice when you perform a "scan for channels".
The 800-899 is easy to access by pressing CH- from 1, and in most programme guides is just a single scroll up.
Freeview HD will start on Wednesday 20th July 2011 from Sudbury and all the relay transmitters. You will need a Freeview HD - DVB-T2 receiver to watch the channels. An HD TV set with Freeview is not enough.
I live in Harwich and we have Dat45 arial and a mastbooster. The line ends in weak amp. From there are 4 lines to different rooms. The signal very good, but some channels are blocky at times (pick TV, yesterday etc.) Is Sudbury improve the signal or do I need to make changes to our setup?
Brian: Sorry but I was offline for the last few days, but I am now back. Thanks for your answer and I will try to bypass the amplifier and retune the TV's from factory default. Hope that will help.
Thank you very much for your help.
I am using freeview and it is fine - but I understand that more retuning will be needed soon when other changes are made.
When should I retune to accomodate the changes and what stations are affected please.
I also understand other changes will be made next year - again when and what services are affected please.