Freeview rolls out across Kent as switchover completes

  updated: 18:00

  • Freeview HD available across all of Kent from today.
  • Increased power for coastal regions.
Digital switchover is now complete across the South East of England. The last relays in the Dover transmitter group were completed mid-afternoon.

The final set of analogue television channels still operating in southern England were switched off for good around midnight, along with the BBC's teletext service Ceefax.

Freeview HD services -comprising of BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV1 Meridian HD and Channel 4 HD, plus a forthcoming BBC Red Button HD service - are now available from all transmitters. Receivers with a DVB-T2 tuner are required to receive these services. The Arts Council/BBC joint venture "The Space" is now on the Freeview HD multiplex, so channel 117 will only be available on Freeview HD receivers.

The high powered relay at Margate has become part of a fully fledged single frequency network (SFN) with neighbouring Dover transmitter later today, providing robust reception of BBC channels, plus ITV, C4 and C5 along the South East coast of Kent, where continental interference is common.

  • The increase in signal levels may require boosters to be removed, as overloading could occur - which ironically can also cause picture break up.

Last week, some viewers in northern France had to retune as French digital TV frequencies changed ahead of digital switchover stage 2 here in the UK. This followed similar retune events in parts of the UK when France switched over. 

Some viewers in Kent may also receive French services alongside the UK Freeview channels. Confusingly, because France uses a different standard for its HD channels, some UK TV's may receive the French HD channels, but not the Freeview HD channels, which require a receiver with DVB-T2 tuner inbuilt, although they may be HD ready (subject to an external HD input) .

Next step...
The digital switchover campaign now switches its attention to the North East of England, the next area to go through the process - but not until September. A technical lock down takes place during July and August due to the Olympics and Paralympics, which will mean no retunes or switchovers during that time on the terrestrial TV network.

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