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Full Freeview on the Winter Hill (Bolton, England) transmitter

first published this on - UK Free TV
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The symbol shows the location of the Winter Hill (Bolton, England) transmitter which serves 2,690,000 homes. The bright green areas shown where the signal from this transmitter is strong, dark green areas are poorer signals. Those parts shown in yellow may have interference on the same frequency from other masts.

Are there any planned engineering works or unexpected transmitter faults on the Winter Hill (Bolton, England) mast?

Winter Hill transmitter - Winter Hill transmitter: Possible effect on TV reception week commencing 13/05/2024 Pixelation or flickering on some or all channels Digital tick

Choose from three options: ■ List by multiplex ■ List by channel number ■ List by channel name

Which Freeview channels does the Winter Hill transmitter broadcast?

If you have any kind of Freeview fault, follow this Freeview reset procedure first.

Digital television services are broadcast on a multiplexes (or Mux) where many stations occupy a single broadcast frequency, as shown below.

 H max
C32 (562.0MHz)726mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
1 BBC One (SD) North West, 2 BBC Two England, 9 BBC Four, 23 BBC Three, 201 CBBC, 202 CBeebies, 231 BBC News, 232 BBC Parliament, plus 17 others

 H max
C34 (578.0MHz)726mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
3 ITV 1 (SD) (Granada), 4 Channel 4 (SD) North ads, 5 Channel 5, 6 ITV 2, 10 ITV3, 13 E4, 14 Film4, 15 Channel 4 +1 North ads, 18 More4, 26 ITV4, 28 ITVBe, 30 E4 +1, 35 ITV1 +1 (Granada),

 H max
C35- (585.8MHz)726mDTG-100,000W
Channel icons
46 5SELECT, 101 BBC One HD North West, 102 BBC Two HD England, 103 ITV 1 HD (ITV Granada), 104 Channel 4 HD North ads, 105 Channel 5 HD, 106 BBC Four HD, 107 BBC Three HD, 204 CBBC HD, 205 CBeebies HD, plus 1 others

 H max
C29 (538.0MHz)726mDTG-8100,000W
Channel icons
20 Drama, 21 5USA, 29 ITV2 +1, 32 5STAR, 33 5Action, 38 Channel 5 +1, 41 Legend, 42 GREAT! action, 57 Dave ja vu, 58 ITV3 +1, 59 ITV4 +1, 64 Blaze, 67 TRUE CRIME, 68 TRUE CRIME XTRA, 78 TCC, 81 Blaze +1, 83 Together TV, 91 WildEarth, 93 ITVBe +1, 209 Ketchup TV, 210 Ketchup Too, 211 YAAAS!, 267 Al Jazeera English, plus 30 others

 H max
C31 (554.0MHz)726mDTG-8100,000W
Channel icons
11 Sky Mix, 17 Really, 19 Dave, 31 E4 Extra, 36 Sky Arts, 40 Quest Red, 43 Food Network, 47 Film4 +1, 48 Challenge, 49 4seven, 60 Drama +1, 65 That's TV 2, 70 Quest +1, 74 Yesterday +1, 75 That's 90s, 233 Sky News, plus 11 others

 H max
C37 (602.0MHz)726mDTG-8100,000W
Channel icons
12 Quest, 25 W, 27 Yesterday, 34 GREAT! movies, 39 DMAX, 44 HGTV, 52 GREAT! romance, 56 That's TV (UK), 63 GREAT! romance mix, 71 That’s 60s, 73 HobbyMaker, 82 Talking Pictures TV, 84 PBS America, 235 Al Jazeera Eng, plus 18 others

 H -20dB
C40 (626.0MHz)572mDTG-121,000W
Channel icons
from 1st October 2014: 7 That's Manchester,

 H -17dB
C24 (498.0MHz)572mDTG-122,000W
Channel icons
from 30th June 2014: 7 Bay TV Liverpool,

 H -20dB
C56 (754.0MHz)572mDTG-121,000W
Channel icons
from 1st October 2014: 7 That's Lancashire,

 H -20dB
C57 (762.0MHz)572mDTG-21,000W
Channel icons
 Now 90s,  Spotlight TV,  Clubland TV,  Country Music Entertainment ,  Classic Hits MCR, 76 That's TV 2 MCR, 77 That's 60s MCR, 80 That's 80s, 86 That's 90s MCR, 88 TV Warehouse+1,

DTG-8 64QAM 8K 3/4 27.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
DTG-12 QSPK 8K 3/4 8.0Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
DTG-2 16QAM 2K 3/4 18.1Mb/s DVB-T MPEG2
H/V: aerial position (horizontal or vertical)

Which BBC and ITV regional news can I watch from the Winter Hill transmitter?

regional news image
BBC North West Tonight 3.1m homes 11.8%
from Salford M50 2QH, 22km southeast (140°)
to BBC North West region - 92 masts.
regional news image
ITV Granada Reports 3.1m homes 11.6%
from Salford M50 2EQ, 22km southeast (139°)
to ITV Granada region - 80 masts.

How will the Winter Hill (Bolton, England) transmission frequencies change over time?

1956-80s1984-971997-981998-20092009-132013-182013-1720 Feb 2020
C49tv_off ArqAArqA
C50tv_off BBCABBCA

tv_off Being removed from Freeview (for 5G use) after November 2020 / June 2022 - more
Table shows multiplexes names see this article;
green background for transmission frequencies
Notes: + and - denote 166kHz offset; aerial group are shown as A B C/D E K W T
waves denotes analogue; digital switchover was 4 Nov 09 and 2 Dec 09.

How do the old analogue and currrent digital signal levels compare?

Analogue 1-4 500kW
SDN, ARQA, ARQB, BBCA, D3+4, BBCB(-7dB) 100kW
com7(-12.9dB) 25.7kW
com8(-13.4dB) 22.6kW
Analogue 5(-16dB) 12.5kW
Mux 1*, Mux 2*, Mux A*, Mux B*, Mux C*, Mux D*(-17dB) 10kW
LL(-24dB) 2kW
GIM, LM, LPR(-27dB) 1000W

Which companies have run the Channel 3 services in the Winter Hill transmitter area

May 1956-Jul 1968Granada Television†
May 1956-Jul 1968Associated British Corporation◊
Jul 1968-Feb 2004Granada Television
Feb 2004-Dec 2014ITV plc
Feb 1983-Dec 1992TV-am•
Jan 1993-Sep 2010GMTV•
Sep 2010-Dec 2014ITV Daybreak•
• Breakfast ◊ Weekends ♦ Friday night and weekends † Weekdays only.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

8:22 PM

Andy: If other multiplexes are indicating maximum signal then the tuner may be being overloaded by too much signal (it's effectively being deafened). Try fitting an attenuator to reduce the signal strength. Also, check for any loose or damaged cables or connections.

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StevensOnln1's 3,638 posts GB flag
Sunday, 24 June 2018

8:51 AM

Invalid Codes in the Freeview EIT:

What I'm talking about here is the EIT text - the titles and descriptions of events.

There are two processing paths for the Freeview EIT.

The EIT text off DVB-T2 multiplexes is entirely Huffman coded.

The EIT text off DVB-T multiplexes is only Huffman coded for services on DVB-T2 multiplexes.

Thus a DVB-T only device will not normally encounter Huffman coded text.

Generic DVB-T2 receivers are not able to decode the Huffman coded text and will typically display gibberish - what their users often describe as Chinese.

The BBC is responsible for Huffman coding the EIT text, the objective being the ability to dictate DRM implementation requirements to manufacturers in exchange for the Huffman decode tables.

Thus the recordings made on Freeview HD certified devices are encrypted to disk and only playable on the device that they were made on.

Now that's out of the way, let's get back to the errors in the EIT text.

By observation, it has become evident that the invalid codes are the Least Significant Bytes of a group of Unicode punctuation characters.

The invalid codes seen so far are:

0x10 = LSB of Unicode Character 'HYPHEN' (U+2010)
0x13 = LSB of Unicode Character 'EN DASH' (U+2013)
0x14 = LSB of Unicode Character 'EM DASH' (U+2014)
0x18 = LSB of Unicode Character 'LEFT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK' (U+2018)
0x19 = LSB of Unicode Character 'RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK' (U+2019)
0x1C = LSB of Unicode Character 'LEFT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK' (U+201C)
0x1D = LSB of Unicode Character 'RIGHT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK' (U+201D)

The Current State:

The Freeview EIT stream, together with the NIT, SDT and TDT/TOT streams, were recorded for 360 seconds off BBC A and BBC B multiplexes.

The overall EIT cycle time is 300 seconds so recording for 360 seconds ensures all events are captured.

The file off BBC A was 33.4 MB.

The file off BBC B was 19.0 MB.

The BBC B file was much smaller because of the Huffman coding - a lossless compression.

Only the EIT text from events from services carried on DVB-T2 multiplexes is Huffman coded in the EIT off BBC A.

The files were processed by my EIT program which produced xmltv output files:

North West_BBC A__2018 06 23 041950.xml - 31.2 MB and North West_BBC B__2018 06 23 042617.xml - 31.0 MB.

Upon loading these files, the xmltv viewer app, TVGuide, reported:

"Loaded 33518 in 7.015625 seconds, spanning 23/6/2018 to 01/07/2018" for North West_BBC A__2018 06 23 041950.xml


"Loaded 33518 in 7.609375 seconds, spanning 23/6/2018 to 01/07/2018" for North West_BBC B__2018 06 23 042617.xml

The files thus contained the same number, 33518, of events.

My EIT program has a subroutine which substitutes meaningful strings for the invalid codes:

Private Sub fixbadcode(b As Byte, s As String)
Select Case b
Case &H10 'Unicode Character 'HYPHEN' (U+2010)
s = s + "{-}"
Case &H13 'Unicode Character 'EN DASH' (U+2013)
s = s + "{-}"
Case &H14 'Unicode Character 'EM DASH' (U+2014)
s = s + "{-}"
s = s + "{L'}"
s = s + "{R'}"
Case &H1C 'Unicode Character 'LEFT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK' (U+201C)
s = s + "{L''}"
Case &H1D 'Unicode Character 'RIGHT DOUBLE QUOTATION MARK' (U+201D)
s = s + "{R''}"
Case Else
s = s + "[0x" + hexbyte(b) + "]"
End Select
End Sub

So, for example, invalid code 0x19 is replaced by {R'} signifying 'RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK'.

The curly brackets that enclose the strings are not found in normal EIT text and are used to search for and locate the invalid codes in the output file.

TVGuide has the useful ability to count and display events based on text in event descriptions.

I have defined a "highlighter" in TVGuide as "{ in Description".

Thus upon loading North West_BBC A__2018 06 23 041950.xml, TVGuide shows "{ in Description(710)", indicating there are 710 events that contain invalid codes in the EIT captured off BBC A.

Clicking on the highlighter displays those events.

Upon loading North West_BBC B__2018 06 23 042617.xml, TVGuide shows "{ in Description(17)", indicating there are 17 events that contain invalid codes in the EIT captured off BBC B.

Looking at those events showed they were all off services carried on DVB-T2 multiplexes.

TVGuide also has the ability to restrict its display to categories, for example Sport or Movies.

In my EIT program, I created a "DVB-T2" category to restrict display to events on services carried on DVB-T2 multiplexes.

Upon loading North West_BBC A__2018 06 23 041950.xml and selecting the "DVB-T2" category and clicking the "highlighter" "{ in Description(710)", the same 17 events as those off BBC B were displayed.

So when the invalid codes originate in events from services carried on DVB-T2 multiplexes, they are the same whether the EIT is captured from BBC A or BBC B.

What happened to all the rest? There are 710 events containing invalid codes in the EIT off BBC A - but a mere 17 in the EIT off BBC B.

The invalid codes have simply been omitted in EIT text off BBC B.

This solution causes grammatical errors such as thats in place of that's and cant for can't.

I give a single example to illustrate here:

This event has an invalid code in its title:

Channel 5 HD, Mon 25 Jun 04:00 - 04:45: Now That{R'}s Funny

This error is present regardless of EIT origin and Huffman coded because it is off a service carried on a DVB-T2 multiplex.

The SD version of the event off the Huffman coded BBC B EIT:

Channel 5, Mon 25 Jun 04:00 - 04:45: Now Thats Funny

The invalid code for the intended apostrophe has been omitted, rendering a grammatically incorrect "thats".

The SD version of the event off the non-Huffman coded BBC A EIT:

Channel 5, Mon 25 Jun 04:00 - 04:45: Now That{R'}s Funny

The invalid code for the intended apostrophe is present.

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js's 827 posts GB flag
Sunday, 1 July 2018
Mark Jolly
3:36 PM

I have just moved to the. Bromley Cross area of Bolton BL79NY and am in line of sight of the transmitter at Winter Hill. The house does not currently have an aerial. Can you suggest a suitable aerial for my area. Regards Mark

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Mark Jolly's 2 posts GB flag

5:11 PM

Mark Jolly:

As you are just 6 km away frok the transmitter at Winter Hill, you only need a small aerial fitted, which could be in a loft or external. You need to avoid having too much signal so a high gain aerial is not needed, but it is best to have a directional aerial to avoid external interference, hence having a small aerial fitted. Note that there is no such thing as a 'digital' aerial (that's a ploy to increase the costs) as the aerial does not care how the signals are modulated on the carrier.

You should aim to have between 60% and 85% signal strength on all multipexes available. Put your post code into the Digital UK Coverage Checker at Digital UK - Coverage checker and it will tell you the channels currently being used.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Monday, 2 July 2018

3:39 PM

Rather than the above unrelated garbage, it would be timely and helpful to have
updated information on the situation of the Winter Hill with approaching moor fires.

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michael's 871 posts GB flag

4:25 PM


According to Digital UK, the Winter Hill transmitter is operating normally and is unaffected by the nearby moorland fires.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB flag
Tuesday, 3 July 2018

4:28 AM


The "unrelated garbage" is SPAM and only the site owner might be able to do something about blocking it or removing it.

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Chris.SE's 4,183 posts GB flag

4:55 AM


As I have said before, I would try talking directly to Arqiva who should have the technical knowledge to address your issues. Failing that you could try and talk to BBC engineering who might be able to help or point you in the right direction.
If there is any chance that you could receive signals from another transmitter (even perhaps if only when there is a lift on - variable at present) and see if you get the same problems. If not, this does suggest that it's an issue at Winter Hill, but I really am surprised that others aren't posting here with similar issues. There is some posts on DigitalSpy which might suggest a transmitter issue.

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Chris.SE's 4,183 posts GB flag
Andy blair
5:14 PM

I weak signal on UHV channel 31 that has BBC rd 2-6 and now 80s
From winter hill

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Andy blair's 1 post GB flag
Wednesday, 4 July 2018

1:26 PM

Andy blair: Yes, com8, uhf31, is about 7 or 8 dB down on its normal level - not usable for me.

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js's 827 posts GB flag
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