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Switchover "completes" for Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton

If you live in the Rowridge (Southampton, Portsmouth, Poole, Worthing), Salisbury and Whitehawk Hill (Brighton and Hove) transmitter areas you will need to take action on Wednesday morning as high power digital television services bring digital and high definition television to everyone.

If you live in the Rowridge (Southampton, Portsmouth, Poole, Wo
published on UK Free TV
Tonight, 21st March 2012, the next switchover of 2012 will see the number of homes with digital-only terrestrial reception in the UK goes up by 1,872,594 from 67.8% to 71.0%.

Viewers in the Hampshire, the West Sussex coast and Salisbury who use the Rowridge ortransmitter (and 24 relay transmitters) plus those in the city of Brighton and Hove (using theWhitehawk Hill and 8 relays) will have no analogue television from Wednesday 21st March 2012. Unless you use cable or satellite to watch television, if you don't use aFreeview box or set, your screen will be blank.

Do not expect ANY FREEVIEW television service from midnight until 6am - or a late as 3pm on some relay transmitters (see below for timetable).

Most people need only perform a "full retune" on their Freeview box or TV, but it would be impossible with 1,872,594 homes covered by the transmitters, for no-one to have a problem.

From Wednesday 21st March 2012 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.

From switchover, viewers in Brighton and Hove will no longer be part of the BBC "South Today" region, as the transmitters will now move to the BBC "South East Today" region (as they are already on Sky andFreesat) - see Are you really watching free TV in high definition?

Brighton and Hove move to BBC South East region

From switchover, viewers in Brighton and Hove will no longer be part of the BBC "South Today" region, as the transmitters will now move to the BBC "South East Today" region (as they are already on Sky andFreesat) - see Brighton transmitters will be in BBC South East from March 2012.

Because of the location of the transmitters, some viewers will find that they can pick up the signal from Rowridge from the "back" of their aerial and Whitehawk Hill from the front.

Those viewers will "Freeview HD" (or other so called D-Book 7) receivers will find they are presented with a menu to allow them to pick which BBC One region is shown on "button 1".

Viewers with older equipment may have to resort to doing a manual scan on C48, C51, C53, C56, C57,C60- to get the correct signal for Whitehawk Hill.

All Freeview boxes automatically scan the available broadcast frequencies looking for channels, and they do this from C21 to C69. Older Freeview boxes will, if a duplicate version of a channel is found whilst scanning, such as another BBC One region, placed it in the 800-899 channel range. With older boxes, a good technique is to do a "automatic scan" with the aerial disconnected from the television set or set-top box until it reaches the 50% mark.

Some 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".

For more details, see Digital Region Overlap

Special arrangements at Rowridge (with some service on low power on the commercial multiplexes until 18th April 2012)

The commercial multiplexes at Rowridge do not, in effect, switchover for another month.

SDN remains on C30- until 18th April 2012, when it moves to C25.
ArqB remains on C33+ until 18th April 2012, when it moves to C28.
ArqA remains on C37 until 18th April 2012, when it moves to C22+.

Rowridge will transmit both horizontally and vertically polarised signals for all six multiplexes after switchover

Rowridge's Vertical polarity commercial multiplexes (SDN, ArqA and ArqB) will come on-air on 18 April 2012 when the commercial multiplexes at Rowridge's Horizontal polarity emissions also adopt their final channel allocations. This does not affect Rowridge Vertical polarity other multiplexes, which will come on-air at switchover.

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.

Brighton Pavilion picture by Brian Butterworth

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 "full" 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 Freeview 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 (sometimes called "shipping state"), not a simple "add channels". Do the procedure you did on "national retune day", September 30th 2009, see Freeview Retune - list of manuals.

If you can't recall the procedure or find the manual, please see generic clear and rescan procedure.

If you scanned during the first phase of switchover on Wednesday 7th March 2012 - you will have to do it again on Wednesday 21st March 2012.

Using Freeview with Windows Vista

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

Boosters and amplifiers

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.

For full details, see Freeview signals: too much of a good thing is bad for you.

Homes without Freeview now have Freeview Light

If you had no Freeview service before, you will have the BBC channels digitally from Wednesday 7th March 2012. 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 on Wednesday 7th March 2012 then you may need a new aerial.

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

Bevendean (noon), Bovington (noon), Brading (noon), Brighstone (noon), Brighton (Central) (noon),Canford Heath (1pm), Cheselbourne (noon), Coldean (3pm), Corfe Castle (12:30pm), Donhead (3pm),Findon (9am), Hangleton (noon), Horndean (9am), Luccombe (9am), Lulworth (3pm), Luscombe Valley(9am), Millbrook (noon), Ovingdean (3pm), Patcham (9am), Piddletrenthide (3pm), Poole (6am),Portslade (9am), Poulner (3pm), Saltdean (9am), Shrewton (9am), Singleton (3pm), Sutton Row (9am),Till Valley (noon), Ventnor, Westbourne (3pm), Winterbourne Steepleton (9am), Winterbourne Stickland(9am), Ventnor (9am) now need, from around from 6am (unless shown otherwise) on 21st March 2012 to rescan, and you will get a second Multiplex with ITV 1, ITV 2, ITV 1 +1, Channel 4, Channel 5, Channel 4+1, E4 and More4.

And that's your lot if you have a standard Freeview receiver, see Freeview retune - poor public service transmitters.

You may wish to install Freesat for more channels, ses Compare Freeview Light and Freesat TV.

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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
10:10 AM

Hello viewers
Is anyone getting ch 21 MUX from Rowridge? In my corner of Poole I am only getting 24 and 27...

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Mike's 3 posts GB flag
Mike's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Mike Dimmick

10:20 AM

Mike: C21 is the high-definition multiplex, and it broadcasts in a mode that is not compatible with SD boxes. You will only be able to pick it up on Freeview HD-branded equipment. A TV marked 'HD Ready' is not good enough, in the UK - that just means the TV *could* display HD pictures *if* they're provided by some other piece of equipment.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag

10:54 AM

Sally: In effect, the increase in bandwidth caused by switching to 64QAM mode from 16QAM mode means that the signal level is "slightly lower".

What this means is that there will be some people who were on the fringe of the reception area (and therefore could not receive multiplex A before switchover) who will fall "off the digital cliff" with the mode change.

There's not really anything you can do about this as the problem is that the signal level compared to the background noise level (the signal-to-noise ratio) is exceeded for reception.

The best thing to do, as it is only until Crystal Palace release the final frequencies, is wait for another month.

It probably won't effect you, fingers crossed.

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Briantist's 38,899 posts GB flag
Mike Dimmick

10:54 AM

Sally: The factors that makes them slightly harder to receive are that the receiver has to distinguish between more different levels (four rather than two), and more different phases (16 rather than 8).

Anything that reduces the signal level available, or increases the noise or interference level, will increase the difficulty of reception. Reception in the UK is usually interference-limited: that is, the limit of the coverage area is down to interference from other stations, rather than due to obstructions reducing the available signal level, or the inherent thermal noise generated by the receiver's electronics. (Obstructions are largely a problem when the interfering signals are *not* obstructed.) For C33 (ArqB's temporary home), the major source of interference in the UK is Crystal Palace BBC Two, though there are also some relays in the south-east such as Eastbourne. There may also be interfering stations in France.

Because BBC Two is the first to shut down at Crystal Palace, you may see an improvement on Rowridge ArqB's reliability from 4 April.

As far as Digital UK's postcode checker is concerned, only Mux D has converted to ArqB at Rowridge; Mux C is still running in its pre-switchover mode.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
1:01 PM

Thanks Brian, and Mike. So far, so good, with ArqA and ArqB channels (Dave and Film4) showing about 80% signal strength, compared to 100% for BBC1, from a wideband, horizontal, loft aerial. Only time may tell how resilient to interference they'll be.

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Sally's 7 posts GB flag
2:33 PM

Hi there,

I have a Freeview HD TV (yes - it has the HD capability built into it) and I have been waiting for months for this switchover so I can finally receive the HD channels. I live in SO30 2AG in Southampton.

I have just retuned my set and no Freeview HD channels are showing in the EPG and none are found by scanning.

Can anyone suggest why this might be?

Thanks anyone,

Jessica x

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Jessica's 3 posts GB flag
Jessica's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
2:56 PM

Further to my query above, my TV is an LG 32LD490.


Jess x

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Jessica's 3 posts GB flag
Jessica's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
3:38 PM

Further to this again, I've tried a manual retune and am getting no signal on UHF Ch. 21, which I understand is the HD channel. Can anyone help me with any ideas?


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Jessica's 3 posts GB flag
Jessica's: mapJ's Freeview map terrainJ's terrain plot wavesJ's frequency data J's Freeview Detailed Coverage
Steve T
4:45 PM

Hi Jessica

Some possibilities:

1) Are you on a communal aerial system (block of flats or similar)? If so, the distribution system may not have been adjusted for the HD channel. It's actually on Ch 21+, which is slightly offset from the normal frequency.
2) Something in your setup is not allowing the Ch21+ signbal through properly, or it's getting mangled in the link. Try removing any aerial amplifiers, distribution amplifiers, splitters etc and connecting the TV directly to the aerial downlead, then try a retune again.
3) You must make sure that you have done a full "first time installation" when you retune - not just adding channels.
4) Check that you are getting all of the 5 standard definition multiplexes. If not, either you are not using the Rowridge transmitter, or something else is wrong with your aerial setup. Can you confirm that your aerial is pointing to the Rowridge transmitter?
5) It may be worth getting your aerial turned to vertical polarisation, but if you do this before the 18th April then you will most likely lose 3 of your existing Multiplexes, as they don't transmit in VP until then.

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Steve T's 3 posts GB flag
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