Following tests that were observed by Digital Spy forum member Greebo, the former Channel M digital multiplex, broadcast from the Winter Hill transmitter, has been powered up.
Broadcasting on the multiplex are:
058 SONY SAB
059 ARGOS TV 24/7
For manual tuning purposes, the multiplex is transmitting on UHF channel 57.
The "linear, through the air" version of Sony SAB on the Manchester multiplex differs to the version available elsewhere in the UK on Freeview, where Sony SAB (channel 121 moving to 236) is distributed via the internet to compatible Freeview receivers via the Connect TV platform.
Also, the version of Argos TV on the Manchester multiplex contrasts with the reduced hours version available nationally on Freeview channel 55.
Broadcasters were invited by capacity brokers Canis Media earlier this summer to apply for up to six slots on the multiplex. Not all slots were taken up, and a slot was recently advertised by Canis Media. It is seen as a good way to test Freeview distribution on a local basis before considering nationwide coverage on a commercial multiplex, or possible carriage on the local TV multiplexes rolling out from next year to main towns and cities across the UK. The capacity became available after Channel M closed down. The reactivated Manchester multiplex is in addition to the planned new local TV multiplex carrying a new local TV channel for Manchester.
The signal of the Manchester multiplex is focused south/south-eastwards from the Winter Hill transmitter, aimed at the main urban area of Manchester, so that other viewers receiving Freeview from Winter Hill living in the other direction (e.g. in Merseyside, Lancashire) won't be able to receive the service.
Observed technical parameters are UHF ch.57, 16QAM FEC3/4 8K, which means less robust coverage in fringe reception areas compared to the future local TV multiplex that will launch from that site from next year.