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UK Digital switchover ends - Northern Ireland completes on 24th October 2012

If you live in the Brougher Mountain, Divis, or Limavady transmitter areas - you will need to perform a 'first time' retune on your Freeview TV or set-top box when you get up for breakfast on this Wednesday morning.

If you live in the Brougher Mountain, Divis, or Limavady  trans
published on UK Free TV
Starting just after midnight on Wednesday 24th October, the next switchover of 2012 will see the number of homes with digital-only terrestrial reception in the UK go up by 647,500 from 97.54% to completed.

Viewers in Northern Ireland who use the Brougher Mountain, Divis, or Limavady "full Freeview" transmitters (and about 43 smaller relay transmitters) will have no analogue television from Wednesday 24th October 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.

RTE One, RTE Two and TG4

Viewers with Freeview HD (DVB-T2) equipment who receive a signal from the Brougher Mountain, Black Mountain and Carnmoney Hill will also receive the "Northern Ireland Mini-Multiplex" and will receive RTE One and RTE Two and TG4. See Northern Ireland RTE1, RTE2, TG4 special mini-multiplex from 24 October. Most other viewers will be able to watch services directly from transmitters in the republic. You will need the correct equipment:

Set top box compatibility for Freeview, Freeview HD, Saorview and the NIMM

Coverage Maps

From Wednesday 24th October 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 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.

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 10th October 2012 - you will have to do it again on Wednesday 24th October 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 with no Freeview at all will now have Freeview Light

If you had no Freeview service before, you will have the BBC channels digitally from Wednesday 10th October 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 10th October 2012 then you may need a new aerial.

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

Armagh (9am), Ballintoy (3pm), Ballycastle (9am), Banbridge (noon), Bangor (noon), Belcoo (noon), Bellair (9am), Benagh (3pm), Black Mountain (6am), Buckna (noon), Bushmills (noon), Camlough (9am), Carnmoney Hill (9am), Castlederg (9am), Claudy (3pm), Conlig (6am), Cushendall (noon), Cushendun (9am), Derrygonnelly (3pm), Draperstown (9am), Dromore (3pm), Ederny (noon), Glenariff (3pm), Glenelly Valley (2pm), Glynn (2pm), Gortnageeragh (6am), Gortnalee (3pm), Kilkeel (noon), Killowen Mountain (9am), Larne (7:30am), Leitrim (3pm), Lisbellaw (9am), Londonderry (6am), Moneymore (3pm), Muldonagh (noon), Newcastle (noon), Newry North (noon), Newry South (3pm), Newtownards (9am), Plumbridge (11am), Rostrevor (9am), Strabane (7:30am), Whitehead (11am) now need, from around from 9am (unless shown otherwise) on 24th October 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 regions

Because of the location of the transmitters, some viewers 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 to get the correct signal for the desired 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.

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

Originally published on 11th October 2012 at 00:00 by Brian Butterworth

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Sunday, 28 October 2012
Dave Lindsay

4:41 PM

gerald kelly: I should add that a Freeview HD TV/box will probably be required.

There are two types of signal: DVB-T (used by Freeview standard definition and Saorview) and DVB-T2 (used by Freeview HD and the NI Mux). Carried on those signals there are two picture formats that are used: MPEG2 and the later MPEG4.

To receive the NI Mux, a Freeview HD receiver will definately be required as it uses a DVB-T2 signal. The NI Mux pictures are standard definition only.

Saorview uses MPEG4 whereas Freeview standard definition uses MPEG2. Consequently many Freeview standard definition receivers don't have the capability to resolve MPEG4 pictures. In which case you may get sound but not picture.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Monday, 29 October 2012
Mike Dimmick

1:05 PM

Simon Wynn: The HD channels have moved to 101-104 (plus 105 for S4C Clirlun in Wales) in order to put the General Entertainment section back together - it had ended up either side of the HD channels.

If the HD channels aren't there either, then we need your full postcode to offer more assistance.

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Mike Dimmick's 2,486 posts GB flag
11:49 PM

Dave I will try out what you have suggested re set top aerial, on the PSB channels the signal is 40-46% and the quality is 90-93%, so it seems the quality is the issue?

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Kerry's 6 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
Dave Lindsay

9:31 PM

Kerry : No, not a quality issue.

Is the 40-46% with the set-top aerial or the roof-top aerial?

If it is the roof-top aerial then are you very close to the transmitter?

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Wednesday, 31 October 2012
12:29 AM

Dave it is with the roof top aerial, i need to buy a set top aerial to try it. I'm not close to Brougher mountain however I note that there is a public service relay transmitter which is probably within 10 miles from me but my aerial is not facing that direction. A nearby postcode is BT457BL.

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Kerry's 6 posts GB flag
Dave Lindsay

5:14 AM

Kerry : In view of your location, scrap the idea of trying a set-top aerial if you do not have one.

Set-top aerials pick up less signal than roof-top ones owing to the fact that they are closer to the ground and smaller. The idea was a rough test to see if it is too much signal.

As you are 30-odd miles from Brougher Mountain, you must have only just picked up the 500W pre-switchover signals. You were lucky!

The Digital UK Postcode Checker gives an indication as to what might be expected to be received. It does not even mention Brougher Mountain at all but regards Divis' PSBs as being "good". I think that this pretty much wipes out any hope of receiving Brougher's COMs as they are on the same channels as Divis' PSBs, this even being the case if you are in a location where Divis isn't useable but is sufficient to severly degrade reception of signals that share the same channel.

The design of the post-switchover Freeview network is such that the PSBs are available in all the locations (i.e. have the same coverage) as the former analogue. The COMs fit in around them. For whatever reason, presumably shortage of channels, Brougher Mountain's COMs have been put co-channel with Divis' PSBs and the obvious overlap of these two main transmitters means that the former has had to be severly restricted.

Do you know why you receive from Brougher Mountain rather than Divis? Having looked at the map, I suspect that you are going to tell me that the Crockandun Hills are in the way.

If you can receive from Divis, its COMs are on lower power than its PSBs and Digital UK suggests no reception of the former, whilst good reception of the latter. For this reason the likelihood of receiving anything more than you do now is doubtful.

I must emphasise that the predictor should be used as a guide and taken with a pinch of salt and this particular being the case in hilly terrain like where you are. What can and can't be received can vary over short distances, meaning that an area the size of a postcode can vary greatly.

If it turns out that it isn't possible to receive more channels than you do now terrestrially, then the only way is via satellite, the main free-to-air service being Freesat.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Dave Lindsay

11:47 AM

Kerry : I should add that (maybe) "never say never" as far reception from Divis is concerned.

In the days of analogue (when the aerial was put up), Divis and Brougher Mountain provided the same four channels. Thus the question posed by the installer would have been one of which is best? This doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't possible to receive from Divis now it's digital.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB flag
Friday, 2 November 2012
Jim Bond
5:43 PM

In Newry i get channels from Camlough and Newry South transmitters how is is possible to blank one over the other because i have multiple duplicates of the bbc channels and the humax box constantly requires retunings?

I have televes aerial and amplifier and humax t2 box.

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Jim Bond's 1 post GB flag
Jim Bond
5:45 PM

Also i keep getting channel 28 at 45% were this from?

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Jim Bond's 1 post GB flag
Sunday, 4 November 2012
5:20 PM

Thanks for your help Dave.

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Kerry's 6 posts GB flag
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