Five million London homes must 'full retune' when switchover ends on 18th April
Brian Butterworth published on UK Free TV
Starting at moments after Big Ben strikes midnight on Wednesday 18th April, the next switchover of 2012 will see the number of homes with digital-only terrestrial reception in the UK go up by 4,853,500 from 71.0% to 89.4%.
Viewers in Greater London and around the M25 who use the Crystal Palace, Hemel Hempstead, Guildford and Reigate "full Freeview" transmitters (and about 50 smaller relay transmitters) will have no analogue television from Wednesday 18th April 2012. Unless you use cable or satellite to watch television, if you don't use a Freeview box or set, your screen will be blank.
Do not expect ANY FREEVIEW television service from midnight until 6am - or a late as mid-afternoon on some relay transmitters (see below for timetable). This means you will not be able to record Freeview programmes overnight. --- but you can watch online here - Watch live UK TV channels and listen to live radio now.
Most people need only perform a "full retune" (or "factory reset" or "shipping condition") on their Freeview box or TV, but it would be impossible with five million homes covered by the transmitters, for no-one to have a problem.
From Wednesday 18th April 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.
You will be served by the Freeview HD service from Wednesday, but please see this six-point checklist to ensure you really are watching in high definition: Are you really watching free TV in high definition?
Switchover help schemeIf 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 satelliteCable (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 usersIf 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 4th April 2012 - you will have to do it again on Wednesday 18th April 2012.
Using Freeview with Windows VistaPlease see Switch over and PC-based systems because you need some updates for your system to work.
Boosters and amplifiersIf 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 LightIf you had no Freeview service before, you will have the BBC channels digitally from Wednesday 4th April2012. 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 4th April 2012 then you may need a new aerial.
If you are served by a public service (relay) transmitter, which are:
Alexandra Palace, Assendon (noon), Biggin Hill (noon), Bishops Stortford, Cane Hill (11am), Caterham (noon), Chepping Wycombe, Chesham, Chingford (11am), Croydon (Old Town) (noon), Dorking (noon), East Grinstead (noon), Edmonton (3pm), Farningham (noon), Finchley (1pm), Forest Row, Gravesend, Great Missenden (noon), Greenwich (4pm), Hammersmith (1pm), Hampstead Heath (3pm), Hemel Hempstead Town, Henley-on-Thames, Hertford, High Wycombe, Hughenden (3pm), Kenley, Kensal Town, Lea Bridge (3pm), Marlow Bottom (3pm), Micklefield (noon), Mickleham (3pm), New Addington (4pm), New Barnet (11am), Old Coulsdon (2pm), Orpington (3pm), Otford (3pm), Poplar (1pm), Skirmett (3pm), St Albans (noon), Sutton, Walthamstow North (11am), Welwyn, West Wycombe (3pm), Wonersh, Wooburn (noon), Woolwich, Worlds End (4pm)
...you now need, from around from 9am (unless shown otherwise) on 18th April 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, see Compare Freeview Light and Freesat TV.
Overlap with other regionsBecause of the location of the transmitters, some viewers away from Central London will find that they can pick up the signal from other BBC and ITV 1 regional studios.
Those viewers with "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", and which ITV 1 regions appears as channel 3.
Viewers with older equipment may have to resort to doing a manual scan C22, C23, C25, C26, C28 and C30- to get the correct signal for the Crystal Palace transmitter.
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. br>
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
Help with Freeview, aerials?
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