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> Freeview >Freeview news >Digital switchover

Switchover "completes" for Southampton, Portsmouth and Brighton

If you live in the Rowridge (Southampton, Portsmouth, Poole, Worthing), Salisbury and Whitehawk Hill (Brighton and Hove) transmitter areas you will need to take action on Wednesday morning as high power digital television services bring digital and high definition television to everyone.

If you live in the Rowridge (Southampton, Portsmouth, Poole, Wo
Published on by on UK Free TV
Tonight, 21st March 2012, the next switchover of 2012 will see the number of homes with digital-only terrestrial reception in the UK goes up by 1,872,594 from 67.8% to 71.0%.

Viewers in the Hampshire, the West Sussex coast and Salisbury who use the Rowridge ortransmitter (and 24 relay transmitters) plus those in the city of Brighton and Hove (using theWhitehawk Hill and 8 relays) will have no analogue television from Wednesday 21st March 2012. Unless you use cable or satellite to watch television, if you don't use aFreeview box or set, your screen will be blank.

Do not expect ANY FREEVIEW television service from midnight until 6am - or a late as 3pm on some relay transmitters (see below for timetable).

Most people need only perform a "full retune" on their Freeview box or TV, but it would be impossible with 1,872,594 homes covered by the transmitters, for no-one to have a problem. link icon link icon 

From Wednesday 21st March 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.

From switchover, viewers in Brighton and Hove will no longer be part of the BBC "South Today" region, as the transmitters will now move to the BBC "South East Today" region (as they are already on Sky andFreesat) - see link icon Are you really watching free TV in high definition?

Brighton and Hove move to BBC South East region

From switchover, viewers in Brighton and Hove will no longer be part of the BBC "South Today" region, as the transmitters will now move to the BBC "South East Today" region (as they are already on Sky andFreesat) - see Brighton transmitters will be in BBC South East from March 2012.

Because of the location of the transmitters, some viewers will find that they can pick up the signal from Rowridge from the "back" of their aerial and Whitehawk Hill from the front.

Those viewers will "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".

Viewers with older equipment may have to resort to doing a manual scan on C48, C51, C53, C56, C57,C60- to get the correct signal for Whitehawk Hill.

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. With older boxes, a good technique is to do a "automatic scan" with the aerial disconnected from the television set or set-top box until it reaches the 50% mark.

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 link icon Digital Region Overlap

Special arrangements at Rowridge (with some service on low power on the commercial multiplexes until 18th April 2012)

The commercial multiplexes at Rowridge do not, in effect, switchover for another month.

SDN remains on C30- until 18th April 2012, when it moves to C25.
ArqB remains on C33+ until 18th April 2012, when it moves to C28.
ArqA remains on C37 until 18th April 2012, when it moves to C22+.

Rowridge will transmit both horizontally and vertically polarised signals for all six multiplexes after switchover

Rowridge's Vertical polarity commercial multiplexes (SDN, ArqA and ArqB) will come on-air on 18 April 2012 when the commercial multiplexes at Rowridge's Horizontal polarity emissions also adopt their final channel allocations. This does not affect Rowridge Vertical polarity other multiplexes, which will come on-air at switchover.

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 link icon The Switchover Help Scheme.

Brighton Pavilion picture by Brian Butterworth

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 - link icon 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 link icon Freeview Retune - list of manuals.

If you can't recall the procedure or find the manual, please see link icon generic clear and rescan procedure.

If you scanned during the first phase of switchover on Wednesday 7th March 2012 - you will have to do it again on Wednesday 21st March 2012.

Using Freeview with Windows Vista

Please see link icon 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 link icon Freeview signals: too much of a good thing is bad for you.

Homes without Freeview now have Freeview Light

If you had no Freeview service before, you will have the BBC channels digitally from Wednesday 7th March 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 7th March 2012 then you may need a new aerial.

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

Bevendean (noon), Bovington (noon), Brading (noon), Brighstone (noon), Brighton (Central) (noon),Canford Heath (1pm), Cheselbourne (noon), Coldean (3pm), Corfe Castle (12:30pm), Donhead (3pm),Findon (9am), Hangleton (noon), Horndean (9am), Luccombe (9am), Lulworth (3pm), Luscombe Valley(9am), Millbrook (noon), Ovingdean (3pm), Patcham (9am), Piddletrenthide (3pm), Poole (6am),Portslade (9am), Poulner (3pm), Saltdean (9am), Shrewton (9am), Singleton (3pm), Sutton Row (9am),Till Valley (noon), Ventnor, Westbourne (3pm), Winterbourne Steepleton (9am), Winterbourne Stickland(9am), Ventnor (9am) now need, from around from 6am (unless shown otherwise) on 21st March 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 link icon Freeview retune - poor public service transmitters.

You may wish to install Freesat for more channels, ses link icon Compare Freeview Light and Freesat TV.

Your comments: most recent posts are at the bottom

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Wednesday 21 March 2012 4:49PM

Jessica: Another possibility is, that although being located at 18 miles from the Rowridge transmitter because of its sheer power you could be suffering from an excessive level of signal that is overloading the tuner and blocking reception, this type problem having more of an effect on HD reception because of its more critical nature.

For a test if you have access to a set top aerial plug that in and try a scan on Ch21, although if the signal is too strong then an attenuator in line with the aerial is the only permanent cure for this problem, an attenuator of a minimum of 10db being recommended.

Evelyn Davies
Wednesday 21 March 2012 5:21PM

Hi I have a Bush BTU160DTR.Have rescanned today and have gone from 6 to 5 multiplexes and have lost a lot of channels.Live in New Milton Hants.Can anybody help me.

Wednesday 21 March 2012 6:17PM

What has happend to Ch108 Sky Text ?

Yes is missing on all my equipment the rest of Ch33 is there but no Sky Text
Having lost Ceefax the only suitable alternative was Sky Text and that's gone as well.
BBC Red Button is far too tedious after the simple functionality of Ceefax

Mike Dimmick
Wednesday 21 March 2012 6:38PM

Bunbury: Sky Text moves from Mux D to ArqA at switchover. Because Rowridge hasn't fully switched to the final configurations, with Mux D having been replaced by ArqB, but Mux C not yet replaced by ArqA, Sky Text has fallen through the cracks. It'll be back on 18 April.

I can't recall, is there even a text-based news service on there any more? Last I remembered, Sky were using it to run interactive games along with Challenge.

BBC Red Button has exactly the same content as Ceefax (which is a waste, because Red Button has far more capacity). They're generated by the same system. Sometimes this is obvious, when a Red Button page doesn't render properly - I hope the BBC will soon change this to be primarily written for Red Button and Ceefax derived from that. [Usually, the Ceefax and Red Button content is the first four paragraphs of the online article, which is why online articles sometimes read strangely.]

You can still type page numbers to move to a specific page you want to read, or can scroll around and select an item to read. The only real differences are that you have to press Down to show the next screen of a longer story, or Up to scroll back up, and that the coloured buttons now operate other features rather than being context-sensitive jump keys.

In my view, manual scrolling is better than the automatic scrolling that inevitably left you waiting too long to see the next screenful, or took it away before you'd finished reading. Pressing Green gives you a shortcuts menu, but I can't remember if that's context-sensitive (i.e. shows you related pages) or whether it simply has the same list all the time.

The BBC do appear to have decided to use very large fonts, and only half the screen most of the time, which does mean that you have to scroll more to see the whole story, compared to the number of screens on Ceefax.

Wednesday 21 March 2012 8:03PM

From <img src="" class="xico" style="vertical-align:text-bottom" alt=" link icon"> link icon….pdf :

Date: 21 March 2012

DSO completed at Rowridge and Whitehawk Hill transmitter groups

The Digital Switch Over process for the Rowridge transmitter group, serving south Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, parts of Dorset, Wiltshire and West Sussex, has been successfully implemented by Arqiva. Whitehawk Hill in Brighton and its dependent relays have also completed the switch to all-digital TV.

All six digital multiplexes are being transmitted from Rowridge on the Isle of Wight and from Salisbury. The three public-service multiplexes are being transmitted for the first time from 24 dependent relays sites at Bovington, Brading, Brighstone, Canford Heath, Cheselbourne, Corfe Castle, Donhead, Findon, Horndean, Luccombe, Lulworth, Luscombe Valley, Millbrook HP/VP, Piddletrenthide, Poole, Poulner, Shrewton, Singleton, Sutton Row, Till Valley, Ventnor, Westbourne, Winterborne Stickland and Winterbourne Steepleton.

At Rowridge the ‘Commercial’ multiplexes – Mux A (SDN), Mux C (ARQ A) and Mux D (ARQ B) – will reach their final post-DSO powers and channels on 18 April 2012, as planned.

All six freeview multiplexes are now being transmitter at final DSO powers and channels from Whitehawk Hill. The three public-service multiplexes are carried for the first time from its eight dependent relays at Bevendean, Brighton Central, Coldean, Hangleton, Ovingdean HP/VP, Portslade, Patcham and Saltdean.

Following the analogue switch-off for BBC Two on 7 March, the remaining analogue signals ceased from 00:14 on Wednesday 21 March. The new digital signals entered official service at Rowridge at 05:30, and at Whitehawk Hill from 03:10, with the last of the relays completed by 17:35

Thursday 22 March 2012 9:46AM

Steve T and jb38,

Thanks for you replies... I do have the signal going through a booster. I tried turning it off and still couldn't get the Freeview HD channels.

As jb38 suggested, I tried a set-top aerial and lo and behold, it did find the Freeview HD channels, however the reception on the normal Freeview channels was poor and there was a high-pitched noise coming from my speakers with the set-top aerial turned on.

I'm going to buy an attenuator this afternoon and see how I go.



Thursday 22 March 2012 4:56PM

Jessica: Its possibly a bit late as you may already have bought it, but I suppose you do know that its not so much switching a booster off but more of by-passing it by coupling its input and output leads together, as if you switch a booster off it can kill the signal more than is required.

This by the way, applying to any booster whether it be mast head or other "behind the set" types.

Mike Ferris
Thursday 22 March 2012 7:40PM

All my freeview stations where perfect before the wednesday switchover but know ITV4 will not tune in and I have tried a number of times at various times in the day,
my freeview is built into a Panasonic DVD recorder.

Thursday 22 March 2012 7:50PM

according to DIG UK SIte <img src="" class="xico" style="vertical-align:text-bottom" alt=" link icon"> link iconPostcode Checker - Trade View

rowridge muxes on Horizontal polarity SDN - ARQa - ARQb still have only 50kw of power as their final situation come 2014
But vertically they are all 200kw? this can't be correct can it? if it is then half the muxes are no better than they were pre switchover?

Dave Lindsay
Thursday 22 March 2012 8:31PM

jonny: That is correct. Those whose reception of SDN, ArqA and ArqB *horizontally* is not good enough can switch to vertical polarisation.

The power before switchover was 20kW at 260m above datum. So now the radiating antenna array is higher as well.

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