Help: My ITV/C4 Freeview channels have disappeared - what can I do? Is it my SCART cable?
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My ITV/C4 Freeview channels have disappeared - what can I do? Is it my SCART cable?

My ITV/C4 Freeview channels have disappeared - what can I do?

It is a feature of television signals that they can be effected by the weather. Aside from the obvious damaged that can be caused by wind or torrential rain, the onset of summer can cause a more intriguing problem called "inversion".

Basically, when the sun heats up the land, the hot air can get trapped below cold air at high level. This creates an "inversion layer" which acts like a polished mirror to TV signals. This causes two problems: you can receive both the original and a reflected signal from your own transmitter (on analogue TV this appears as "ghosting") or interference from TV transmitters that are normally too far distant.

The ITV/C4 multiplex of channels (ITV-1, ITV-2, ITV-3, ITV-4, CITV, C4, More4, E4, Quizcall) use a transmission "mode" called 64QAM, and it is sadly much more prone to these problems.

So, whilst a loft-mounted aerial will provide reception at some time, it will fail at others. The only real solution is to mount the aerial (or a new Class I aerial) outside on a pole, but some people report that changing the cable from the aerial to the set-top box to the high-grade satellite cable can also help.

The SCART connection, by the way, only carries a single TV picture, not the Freeview transmission multiplexes, so if this is disconnected it will result in degradation to every channel at once.

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jean prince
Wednesday 17 September 2014 8:19PM

please can anyone help me, i returned my sony tv after the freeview change on 3rd sept. Now i can only get ITV Wales and BBC Wales, previously i had North west as thats the are i live. I have retuned at lease twice every day but to no avail. I am a lady on my own and just don.t know what else to do. Any suggestions.

Thursday 18 September 2014 10:15AM

jean prince: Are there any NW region channels, that work correctly, stored in the 800s part of the channel list? If there are, this will usually be because your tuner finds the signal from Wales before it finds the NW signal, so puts the second options in the 800s. It might also be that the signal from Wales is currently stronger than the NW signal if your tuner is one which gives preference to the strongest signal. In either case retuning will simply give the same result each time it is carried out. If you have a channel swapping facility on your tuner you can swap the NW version from the 800s with the version from Wales on positions 1, 2 and 3. Without more detailed information as to your location, such as a postcode or that of a nearby shop, it is not possible to know precisly which transmitters you are able to receive. If such information is to hand, advice for manual tuning to the correct transmitter can be given, assuming your tuner offers a manual tuning option. Alternatively, if your signals are from Moel-Y-Parc and Winter Hill,after clearing the channel list, commence the retune, but have the aerial unplugged when scanning for channels during the section C38 to C46 of the scan so as to miss out the Moel-Y-Parc PSB muxes. Make sure the aerial is plugged in again before C49! This should then store NW channels in their required positions in the channel list.

Thursday 18 September 2014 12:06PM

Hmm, has some kind of pressure from the gathered, huddled, disgruntled masses paid off?

I wouldn't want to speak too soon, but as of last night, the BBC channels have been OK (i.e. no freezing and a fully responsive remote).

Fingers crossed.

Anybody else noticed a change?

Thursday 18 September 2014 2:47PM

Nightjar: Yes, I was wondering as well, since nothing bad happened. Of course nobody has got back to me yet...

Thursday 18 September 2014 8:17PM

Me too! I watched Bakeoff then expected to have to switch off at the mains, but it was fine. Yesterday morning the breakfast programme froze within seconds. I've had no response from my complaint to the BBC either.

Thursday 18 September 2014 8:20PM

Isla: Ok - so they sort of work...

I'm going to ring them tomorrow, because this is getting annoying. Sort it, or dont sort it, but at least give us some information about what your doing!

Thursday 18 September 2014 9:02PM

MikeB: we were okay tonight after work too, haven't done a re-scan this week so it seems weird if something has just mysteriously updated?

Friday 19 September 2014 2:56PM

Have just rung up the Beeb, and the chap has logged what I said, and has passed on a link
to this site!
By the sound of it, we seem to be on the mend, but info and guidance would have been helpful!

Friday 19 September 2014 3:25PM

MikeB: Some background from digitaluk:
"Split NIT
In summer 2008, Freeview and the digital multiplex operators (DMOL) updated the network due to the introduction of many more services since the launch of the platform. This required the Network Information Table (NIT) to be split to carry more data. Early products with insufficient memory or that need to reattribute memory subsequently stop working."

I can't prove it was the cause, and have only examined the North West NIT, but ...

On 03/09/2014 the NIT was expanded from two to three sections [see note].

North West NIT, 2014-09-16 10:25, version_number = 20

section_number = 0
section_length = 752
section_number = 1
section_length = 947
section_number = 2
section_length = 382

By 18/09/2014 the NIT had shrunk back to two sections by removal of extraneous data.

North West NIT, 2014-09-18 10:55, version_number = 21

section_number = 0
section_length = 897
section_number = 1
section_length = 1014

This descriptor was removed:
descriptor_name = extension descriptor
descriptor_length = 155
descriptor_tag_hex = 7F
descriptor_tag_extension = 8

[A Section is a syntactic structure used for mapping Service Information tables into Transport Stream packets. Sections may be variable in length. The sections within each table are limited to 1024 bytes in length, except for sections within the EIT which are limited to 4096 bytes.]

Friday 19 September 2014 4:36PM

js: That sounds like it could be the problem, although I have to admit that some of that is over my head!

Although the Goodman's box continues to be sold (as well a similar boxes), its possible that the actual spec is a little old. Why the box should freeze, but then often work after a reboot, and why they sometimes don't respond to the remote is beyond me. And why BBC channels?

Since my box started to have problems a couple of weeks before the retune, could it be that Waltham might have changed the NIT early, and so the problem didn't show up generally until after the 3rd?

We await the BBC's reply with interest..

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