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Ofcom announces 700 MHz clearance schedule 2017-20

To make way for new and better 4G data services for everyone's mobile devices, Ofcom has decided to change the Freeview system around starting in 2017.

More big changes are coming to Freeview.  Photograph: Shutterstock
More big changes are coming to Freeview. Photograph: Shutterstock
published on UK Free TV

Following on from the When will I get a new Freeview aerial because of even more mobile broadband?  article, this week Ofcom have published the dates for the “700MHz clearance”.[1]

 

New “Switchover” dates

The dates are for the transmitter regions (these main transmitters and the relays of them):

July-December 2017: Bressay, Eitshal (Lewis), Keelylang Hill, Knock More, Rosemarkie, Rumster Forest, Skriaig.

January-June 2018: Bromsgrove, Crystal Palace, Hannington, Lark Stoke, Midhurst, Oxford, Ridge Hill, Rowridge, Sandy Heath, Sutton Coldfield, Tacolneston, The Wrekin, Tunbridge Wells.

July -December 2018: Black Hill, Blaenplwyf, Bluebell Hill, Craigkelly, Darvel, Durris, Hastings, Heathfield, Llanddona, Long Mountain, Moel-Y-Parc, Preseli, Rosneath, Sudbury, Torosay, Whitehawk Hill.

January-June 2019: Beacon Hill, Caradon Hill, Fremont Point, Huntshaw Cross, Kilvey Hill, Mendip, Redruth, Stockland Hill, Wenvoe.

July -December 2019: Angus, Bilsdale, Brougher Mountain, Caldbeck, Caldbeck Scotland, Carmel, Chatton, Divis, Dover, Limavady, Pontop Pike, Selkirk.

January-June 2020: Belmont, Douglas, Emley Moor, Nottingham, Olivers Mount, Waltham, Winter Hill.

 

I have created an interactive map showing these regions and the dates:

 

Freeview HD allocations

 

Channel 55 and 56 will be used for the “interim” HD multiplex com7 and com8:

 

 

[1] Maximising the benefits of 700 MHz clearance Enabling acceleration of 700 MHz clearance and use of the 700 MHz centre gap 17th October 2016



Help with TV/radio stations?
Can I receive British Eurosport for free?1
What has happened to TCM?2
How do I receive all of uktv+ channels (gold, style, food etc) using my Freeview3
Can I watch for free Financial channels such as CNBC or Bloomberg?4
Is sky|one going on Freeview?5
In this section
When will I get a new Freeview aerial because of even more mobile broadband? 1
Do not forget that 4G starting soon in 20 cities and towns really soon2
Using UHF channels C61 to C69? Time to retune3
Two final Freeview retunes in Scotland on 24 and 31 July 20134
800MHz band cleared by Digital UK - ready for nationwide 4G use5
Expecting 4G interference? Tests now show that you have a one in 300 chance6

Comments
Monday, 28 November 2016
N
Nigelj
8:27 PM

Will the modulation of all the rearranged channels change from DVB-T to DVB-T2?
After rearrangement will any transmit DVB-T?

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Nigelj's 8 posts GB
S
StevensOnln1
11:11 PM

Nigelj: There hasn't been any announcement yet of a complete switch to DVB-T2, although the BBC have previously said they want their channels to be HD only in future but no date has been announced yet.

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StevensOnln1's 253 posts Silver Silver GB
Tuesday, 29 November 2016
N
Nigelj
12:56 PM

StevensOnln1: I have noticed that a number of channels have already moved. On investigation, it appears that a least one of those that have moved to DVB-T2 is not actually transmitting in HD.
Do you know if DVB-T2 can be used to reduce the channel bandwidth if not transmitting in full HD?
Is DVB-T2 equipment compatible with the new higher contrast ratio transmissions or will some receivers need a further upgrade: A) or lose the signal completely.
B) just not be able to see the enhanced contrast resolution.

I have an number of televisions, none very old, but some do not decode DVB-T2. The question is when is the best time to replace the older receivers? I am sure that other will be in a similar position and some may not realise that their televisions may soon be obsolete.

There are a couple of general observations to be made:
1) this constant upgrade process of relatively expensive home equipment such as televisions will put a strain on many household budgets and given that this equipment is almost certainly imported, it will also put a strain on the UK economy, not to mention the environmental damage of the huge pile of electronic waste it will generate.
2) These frequency changes are being made to provide spectrum for G4 mobile telephone services. The replacement G5 replacement is already being tested and will soon start to be rolled out. G5 cannot use the frequencies being cleared as it requires a much higher carrier frequency to accommodate the much higher modulation bandwidth. What will happen to the G4 spectrum that will no longer be required?

I understand that there plans to use G5 as a method of broadcasting 8k internet based television, so in the long term all the current TV spectrum maybe free again, something I find rather ironic given the amount of consumer money that is going to be wasted on all these changes.


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Nigelj's 8 posts GB
M
MikeB
2:14 PM

Nigelj:
'On investigation, it appears that a least one of those that have moved to DVB-T2 is not actually transmitting in HD. ' - yes - using a T2 tuner does not mean it has to be in HD, but without using one, you can't get HD at all.

'Do you know if DVB-T2 can be used to reduce the channel bandwidth if not transmitting in full HD? '
Does it matter? Once T2 tuners are univerally used, the higher frequencies can be used for mobile signals, and the remaining spectrum be used more efficently.

'Is DVB-T2 equipment compatible with the new higher contrast ratio transmissions or will some receivers need a further upgrade: A) or lose the signal completely.
B) just not be able to see the enhanced contrast resolution. '

There is no such thing as 'enhanced contrast resolution' - what you mean is 4K/UHD - which is 4 times HD's screen resolution. In theory, a T2 tuner could take 4K (and the Koreans have experiemented with that), but even if everyone goes to T2 tuners, the fact that 4K in theory means 4 times the bandwidth means a single 4K channel where there were 4 HD channels. Compression will help, but the moment, its via a dish, cable or the net for 4K.

'I have an number of televisions, none very old, but some do not decode DVB-T2. The question is when is the best time to replace the older receivers? I am sure that other will be in a similar position and some may not realise that their televisions may soon be obsolete. '

If your TV was more than 4-5 years old, it simply would not have had a T2 tuner, and TV's with just a DVB-T tuner are still legally allowed to be sold (I've long argued it s a con, but there you are). However, as I said over and over again, the TV is not 'obsolete'. As long as you can fit a T2 receiver into a TV, your good. Even the cheapo HD box I have has a scart on the back, and the latest Humax has RCA's, so there is no great problem fitting it to a 20 year old CRT.

However, if the TV has an HDMI input, you just connect via that, and thats it. 44 quid at present, and of course PVR's do exactly the same thing. And you only need to replace when the old TV dies, is too small, gets struck by lightening, etc - exactly the same way you would normally decide to replace or upgrade a set. I sell TV's, so I'm happy if people do buy new, but I get annoyed when people think they are compelled to - they are not. And of course there has been no announcement as to when DVB-T only transmissions would be stopped anyway.

'1) this constant upgrade process of relatively expensive home equipment such as televisions will put a strain on many household budgets and given that this equipment is almost certainly imported, it will also put a strain on the UK economy, not to mention the environmental damage of the huge pile of electronic waste it will generate.

No - if people want to dump TV's, thats up to them. And they dont need to do any more in essence than buy a small relatively inexpensive box. And since the average time cycle for upgrading a TV is roughly 5-7 years, they are buying something perfectly usable well into the future even 4 years ago. And those older TV's just normally end up in another room, with a relative, etc - they get used, not just dumped.

'What will happen to the G4 spectrum that will no longer be required? ' - I can bet the mobile companies are not going to let that go - what you have you hold.

I understand that there plans to use G5 as a method of broadcasting 8k internet based television,' - good luck with that. The amount of bandwidth needed for a single episode of Corrie on a Tuesday night if even half of its audience wanted to watch it live is huge. Broadcasting via 5G is just inefficient and expensive.

Pretty much all the above points have been rehashed again and again on this site - look around the archives. In reality, how we watch, and the resolution in which we watch it has changed a lot less than anyone thinks - most TV is still watched live (only 25% is even recorded), and most of it is still in SD, and that includes BBC1 etc, even when people have a T2 tuner, etc.
'



'

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MikeB's 1,938 posts Gold Gold GB
N
Nick Anderson
2:38 PM

I have a Sony Brava 26 inch flat screen purchased in 2008 and the picture with regular use is still as clear and sharp as when first purchased. I do not relish having to replace it before it eventually wears out due to the advancement of the mobile phone network.

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Nick Anderson's 58 posts Bronze Bronze GB
N
Nigelj
6:54 PM

MikeB: My concerns relating to the High Dynamic Range contrast improvement not UHD.
It is my understanding that HDR increases the lumance range from 8 to 10 bit and this can be transmitted using a version of DVB-T2 and is a feature being added to the latest freeview televisions.
Any comment?

The problem with upgrading using low cost add on boxes is that it involves yet another remote control and a loss of many of the integrated features of the television set.

FYI. I am aware of some of the archive comments. I contributed to some of them using the ID of NJ. After a long time I returned to the site and mistyped my ID and am stuck with the new name.

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Nigelj's 8 posts GB
N
Nigelj
7:19 PM

Nick Anderson: I sympathise with your comments. Those that invested in very expensive plasma screen televisions a few years ago must be rather depressed at the way their investment has been devalued. There was a time that TVs could be expected to remain in service for 10 or more years. There appears to be a move to reduce the replacement time to that similar to a computer or worse still a mobile phone.
It strange that the inclusion or programmable parts such as microprocessors, digital signal processors and field programmable gate arrays have failed to prolong the working life of the receiver hardware. I suspect that televisions are begining to follow the Microsoft built in obsolescence model, where they are made obsolete, not by failure of the hardware but by upgrades to the software. In my view, as these technologies converge, television, computer, and mobile phone replacement cycles will converge to the shortest common denominator.

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Nigelj's 8 posts GB
M
MikeB
7:29 PM

Nick Anderson: And you dont have to replace it at all, unless you want to (BTW - if you are, I suspect you'll probably be roughly a 40in). Your TV has HDMI slots, and all you need to do is to attach a 44 pound HD receiver to it, and problem solved. Since your TV will be HD ready anyway, its worth it just for that. And when you replace your OVR, that will have two HD tuners, so that you can watch in HD in one and record on the other. As I said before, any upgrade is minor, easy and cheap.

Nigelj: HDR gives you a better colour palate in 4K, but doesn't really do anything for SD or HD, and not all providers are showing material with HDR yet anyway. And yes, most 4K TV's from the big 4 brands have it, and its nice to have, but since the chances of broadcasting any time soon in 4K on terrestial are zero (even if we all change to T2 tuners is going to be limited), it makes little odds for most in terms of the main channels.

Yes, you end up with extra boxes, and thus remotes (I've got 6 currently) but if you've got Sky, your largely using the Sky remote, and if you've a non-digital TV (which I had until last year), your just using the remote to switch it on and off, change the input and the volume (and the last can be done via the addon box). And of course those new boxes tend to replace older boxes - the blu ray replaces the DVD, the new PVR replaces the old one, etc.

Frankly, the only reason I use the remote on my Freeview TV is to change the inputs and the volume, and switching it on - the rest is done via the other boxes. And if I had a more up to date set, the HD box, and Now TV box would disappear (although I did buy a Chromecast really cheap on Monday, so I'd add that!), and I'd probably retire the old multi region DVD.

Your TV is largely a panel, and stick whatever you like into it. In fact a decent TV will have enough inputs to allow you to do this, replacing or supplanting boxes as and when. You can even get universal remotes.

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MikeB's 1,938 posts Gold Gold GB
Sunday, 4 December 2016
A
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4:59 PM

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