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Watching the London 2012 Olympics - a guide (part 2)

The will be 26 television channels dedicated to the Olympics during the games, as well as an extra radio station. And you will need to ensure you have the right boxes and cables if you want to watch in High Definition.

The will be 26 television channels dedicated to the Olympics du
published on UK Free TV

Following on from Watching the London 2012 Olympics - a guide (part 1) - , here is some additional useful information about watching the Olympics in the UK.

BBC Radio 5 Live Olympics Extra

Starting at 11pm on Wednesday 25th July 2012, the BBC will have a "pop up" radio station on DAB and online. You can tune to this station now on any DAB radio. It is called BBC R5L Olympics (or BBC R5O). This station is in addition to Radio 5 Live and Radio 5 Live Sports Extra.

There are two suggested tuning methods:

• 1) Press Auto Tune or Auto Scan button on your radio; the display screen will show Autotune Quick scan / Fast Scanning; as new stations are found the station counter on the right hand side of the display will increase and new stations will be added to this list - It may take a couple of minutes for your radio to update the station list.

• 2) Press ‘menu’ button on your DAB radio; rotate the ‘Tune’ button until you see ‘Autotune’ in the display; select Autotune; s new stations are found the station counter on the right hand side of the display will increase and new stations will be added to the list; this should only take a couple of minutes.

Or you can listen online at

BBC Olympic channels on Freeview, Freeesat and Freesat-from-Sky

BBC One (and BBC One HD) will be dedicated to the Olympics, and BBC three will broadcast all day (with the BBC HD channel carrying the high defintion version of BBC three), in addition there will be up to two dozen more, making 26 channels in all.

If you have a generic satellite receiver (or use Windows Media Centre) you will need to look at the instructions provided in the previous article to tune to the extra 24 channels.

All the BBC Olympic channel number for watching on free television

If you use Freeview, BBC One is 1, BBC three is 7, the first two interactive channels are on 301 and 302. 302 only broadcasts on Freeview from 7pm.

On Freeview HD, BBC One HD is 50, BBC HD is 54, the first interactive channel provided in HD on 304 - you can also watch 302 (from 7pm) in standard defintion.

If you use Freesat HD, BBC One HD is 108, BBC HD is 109, and you can now view the 24 extra channels on channels 150-173 all in HD.

If you use Freesat SD BBC One is 101, BBC three is 106, and the SD extra channels will use 150-173.

On Freesat-from-Sky, BBC One HD is 143, BBC HD is 169 and the extra 24 channels will appear on 450 onwards from today (23rd July).

Be sure you are watching in high definition

Here is a five-point checklist to ensure that you are watching the Olympic Games in high definition.

Q1 Do you have a high definition television set?

You need to check that your television is actually high definition. Almost all HDTVs are flat screen, but it does not follow that all flat screen televisions are high definition.

The best two clues to look for are the "HD Ready" or "Full HD Ready" logos, and also that the television set has HDMI connectors.

If you have the manual for your television set, it may describe HD as "720 line" or "1080 line". If these are not mentioned, you don't have HD and you will need a new television set.

See also What does "Full HD Ready" actually mean? - - independent free digital TV advice

Q2 Does your HDTV have built in Freeview HD or Freesat HD?

Most HD televisions sold in the UK are "HD Ready", which means that they are capable of showing high definition pictures, but only from an external box.

Some, more expensive, TV sets have Freeview HD or Freesat HD built in.

If your TV set has the Freeview HD logo, it can receive what are known as "DVB-T2" transmissions, which means you get HD direct from the TV aerial connection. If this is the case, see Q4. If the set is "HD Ready with Freeview" it means you can't.

Some high end sets have Freesat HD built in, where you can watch the free high definition channels from satellite. For this to work you will have to use the satellite connection on the set. Remember that set will also have standard definition Freeview, so pictures from the normal TV aerial will not be in high definition.

Q3 If your HDTV doesn't have built-in reception - do you have a Freeview HD or Freesat HD box and the correct cables?

If you have an HD Ready television, you can connect it to an external set-top box to receive either Freeview HD or Freesat HD.

You must make sure that you connect the box to the television set using an HDMI cable. If you use a SCART lead you won't have HD.

Q4 If you want to use Freeview HD, does it transmit in your area yet?

Whilst most of the country has now has Freeview HD transmissions, as they are introduced on the last day of digital switchover, some notable areas do not, in particular Northern Ireland. In the North East (Pontop Pike) a pre-switchover Freeview HD service operates before switchover on low-power.

Q5 Do you remember to switch to the HD versions of BBC One

You do not automatically get to watch BBC One in high defintion, you will need to select the correct channel number.

On Freeview HD, 50 must be selected for BBC One HD, 54 for BBC HD.

On Freesat HD, you must choose 108 for BBC One HD, 109 for BBC HD.

On Freesat-from-Sky HD, you have to choose 143 for BBC One HD, 169 for BBC HD.

Help with TV/radio stations?
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In this section
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Wednesday, 25 July 2012
Mark Agius

8:09 AM
Haywards Heath

Sky also has the following channels in high def for prescription viewers:
474 - 497 (BBC Olympic 1 HD - BBC Olympic 24 HD)

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Mark Agius's 374 posts GB flag
Mark's: mapM's Freeview map terrainM's terrain plot wavesM's frequency data M's Freeview Detailed Coverage

8:51 AM

Mark Agius: I understood that the HD EPG has the HD channels first, followed by the SD ones, in the normal way.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
10:16 AM

Hello, I'm having problems receiving 8 of the 24 BBC Olympics HD channels (on satellite frequencies 11914 H and 12304 H). Channels memorize fine but report "no signal". I use a TechniStar S2 receiver. Does someone have similar experience or could someone help? Thanks!

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Chris's 1 post FR flag
Trevor Harris

10:45 AM

BBC Olym 14 is showing the torch going through Brent. Unfortunatly in SD and awfull quality.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB flag

11:50 AM

Trevor Harris: I'm not sure what technology the BBC are using for the Torch relay, but I don't recall seeing a satellite truck when it went past here...

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
12:26 PM

Excellent summary of the services, Briantist!

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StuartPlymouth's 14 posts GB flag

12:37 PM

StuartPlymouth: Very kind of you to say so!

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag

12:45 PM

Chris: Are you using the correct parameters?

- transponder 11 is 11914MHz Horizontal at 29500-3/4

- transponder 31 is 12304 MHz Horizontal at 29500-3/4

The full list is on the Watching the London 2012 Olympics - a guide (part 1) | - 10 years of independent, free digital TV advice page.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
Trevor Harris

12:48 PM

This is how they should have done it.

Eyes In The Sky – How the Tour de France is Broadcast To the World | Cycling Tips

It has always amaized me how the Tour De France is broadcast in top quality HD from the back of motorbikes.

I guess it was too expensive for the BBC.

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Trevor Harris's 367 posts GB flag

12:51 PM

Trevor Harris: To be fair, it was some people carrying a torch carried online and on an interactive TV channel, with limited interest, rather than an international sporting event.

I suspect spending lots of money was not on the cards.

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Briantist's 38,915 posts GB flag
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