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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
12:05 AM

Dave Lindsay:no video/dvd combo doesn't have freeview built in.I'm assuming the video/dvd is now useless and she needs to invest in a freeview digital recorder?

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Linda's 5 posts GB
Dave Lindsay

12:20 AM

Linda: It can be used to play DVDs and videos. To record from Freeview it will need a separate set-top box receiver, but this will mean that setting it to record would require the set-top box to be turned on and set to the correct channel as well as the video/DVD being set to come on at the correct time. Previously it was possible to set on the recorder's timer screen what channel to record. With the set-top box option it will just be a case of setting it to record the scart input that the set-top box is connected to. The channel is selected on the set-top box. It is easier to get a Freeview recorder, if you think that your mother will be able to operate it. One with a hard drive will mean no tapes and better quality pictures.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
10:19 AM

Dave Lindsay:Thank you very much for all your help.My Mum used to have a digital recorder,but she had it set up in the conservatory and it was too hot,so she never replaced it when it stopped working!Have been trying to persuade her to go back to sky[which we have]but she won't so we'll sort her out with either a new freeview box or a digital recorder.Thanks again!!

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Linda's 5 posts GB
Dave Lindsay

10:29 AM

Linda: Sky is principally a subscription service (it does offer its own "Freesat from Sky"), but for free-to-air satellite there is Freesat for which recorders are available.

Two feeds/cables are required from the dish. If there is only one then cable and twin or quad LNBs are available and their installation can be undertaken by competant DIYers. The LNB is the bit on the arm of the dish that the cable(s) connect to. A twin/2-port LNB allows two cables, a quad/4-port LNB allows four cables to be connected etc.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
gerald kelly
1:08 PM

hi ..can i recieve rte from the newcastle relay transmitter? or do i need to align my aerial to another transmitter? many thanks.

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gerald kelly's 2 posts GB
Dave Lindsay

1:20 PM

gerald kelly: No, Newcastle doesn't broadcast RT. You can align your aerial on a transmitter that does broadcast it "if" you can receive from such a transmitter.

Knowledge of your location, preferably in the form of postcode or nearby postcode (e.g. that of a shop) will allow an assessment of what may be possibilities at your location.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
gerald kelly
1:25 PM

thanks dave!.. my postcode is bt31 9pn..where would i need to align to? kind regards.

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gerald kelly's 2 posts GB
Simon Wynn
3:45 PM


Just bought a new TV with Freeview HD built in. The auto tune found the RTE channels plus TG4 at channels Nos 51, 52, 53. No HD channels were found. The channel numbers for the above are supposed to be for the seemingly absent HD feeds. Anyone any idea what's going on?

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Simon Wynn's 1 post GB
Peter Henderson

4:01 PM

Freeview HD is now on channels 101,102,103,104.

Can't see any reason why you shouldn't be getting Feeview HD there Simon.

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Peter Henderson's 240 posts GB
Dave Lindsay

4:35 PM

gerald kelly: It's certainly not a given what you can receive because of the terrain between you and the various transmitters. It might be worth looking to see what those around you are using, although the nature of the terrain means that what can and can't be picked up may vary, potentially over short distances.

There are two transmitters that may provide you with RT at your location:

1. Clermont Carn in Co. Louth. This is a Saorview transmitter and therefore carries all its channels:

What is Saorview? | SAORVIEW

It is on a bearing of 230 degrees and aerials are vertical. Looking at photos on Streetview (dated March 2011) I can see a few aerials on this transmitter. The hills in that direction are also clear to see from your Close so it's not going to be easy!

2. Black Mountain, which is adjacent to the Divis (full-Freeview transmitter). This is broadcasts the "NI Mux" which carries TG4, RT One and RT Two only. It may be possible to receive from Divis as well, which may gave you the full complement of Freeview channels, the Newcastle relay carrying only Public Service (PSB) channels.

For many people, including yourself, Black Mountain and Divis are on close enough bearings that a single aerial will receive from both.

For lots of information on aerials and an online shop, see A.T.V (Aerials And Television) TV Aerial, DAB Aerial, FM Aerial.

It is possible to combine the feeds from two aerials using a diplexer, if the channels used by each transmitter allow: A.T.V (Aerials And Television) TV Aerial, DAB Aerial, FM Aerial. onlinesplittersandamps.html#TVTVdiplexers

The permutations that may be possible are:

1. Receive from Divis and Clermont Carn. The latter uses C52 so it might be best to avoid the diplexer that "splits" at C51 as it will reduce, to a degree, the signal on C52. The diplexer that splits at C38 will provide you with all channels from Divis and Clermont Carn (providing that the aerials can receive the signals). The C38 diplexer will of course mean that the NI Mux from Black Mountain on C39 will be unavailable, but that might not be such as issue if you can receive Saorview from Clermont Carn.

2. Receive from Clermont Carn and Newcastle. Because the former uses 52 (and prospectively 57 in the future) and the latter uses 50, 55 and 59 you will not be able to combine the feeds from both aerials and will therefore have to use separate receivers.

3. Receive from Divis/Black Mountain only with a single aerial. This may give you all Freeview channels and the NI Mux. The Commercial (COM) channels (those that don't transmit from Newcastle) are on lower power from Divis than its PSBs. This permutation will also only give you three of the RoI's channels: RT One, RT Two and TG4.

Due to not being in a good signal area for any of the transmitters (except probably Newcastle), you would be best advised to stick with Group aerials:

- Clermont Carn is Group C/D.
- Divis is all Group A for Freeview channels, although the NI Mux from Black Mountain is on C39 which is just above Group A. However, aerials don't stop dead outside of group and the sensitivity of the Group A curves on ATV's site suggests that the gain on C39 may be a tad greater than the low 20s:

A.T.V (Aerials And Television) TV Aerial, DAB Aerial, FM Aerial. gaincurves.html#Agroups

For this reason, a Group A aerial may be best for Divis and NI Mux on C39.

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Dave Lindsay's 5,724 posts GB
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