UHD test signals spotted by Freeview HD viewers

Updated | Some Freeview viewers in the Granada region have spotted test transmissions from the Winter Hill transmitter, linked to the current closed Ultra High Definition (UHD) trials by BBC R&D, which are also being broadcast from transmitter sites in London and Scotland.

A small number of Freeview HD receivers and DVB-T2 PC cards have detected audio streams, labelled "test", broadcast on the frequency earmarked for an third Freeview HD multiplex in North West England (UHF channel 37). However, the video element of the tests won't be available to ordinary viewers, as the UHD tests will use the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) broadcast standard, which isn't used by current Freeview HD receivers.

The test, which will use a live stream from the World Cup, is only intended for a small number of BBC test locations and gives broadcast engineers an opportunity to try broadcasting a live UHD stream using HEVC over digital terrestrial television for the first time and to test new HEVC encoders. Receivers compatible with HEVC aren't expected to become commonplace until later this decade.

Reports suggest up to 36 Mbps of bandwidth are being consumed for the UHD tests. The BBC's Phil Layton has confirmed that the tests are also being transmitted from London's Crystal Palace and Central Scotland's Black Hill transmitters.

  • Do you live in the Glasgow, London or Manchester area? Have you spotted test audio  streams on your Freeview HD receiver? What make or model is it? Let us know via the comments section (Gmail/G+ or other Google account required). Alternatively tweet @a516digital or drop a line at facebook.com/a516digital 
Share on Google Plus


  1. What about people with a 4K 2014 TV that is HEVC compatible?

    1. There are no known consumer models compatible with the current tests. Any 4k/UHD TVs sold today will not be suitable.

  2. Does this explain the sudden loss of picture andsound on bbc 4 hd, news24hd and al jazeera hd from winter hill today?

  3. The tests are unrelated to existing Freeview and Freeview HD services from Winter Hill, as they operate on different frequencies. I'm unable to locate any information on a fault affecting BBC HD channels from Winter Hill, so the fault you've experienced could be unrelated.

    Note that BBC Four HD is on a digital multiplex that is transmitted at a lower power than the other national services, making it more prone to reception issues, particularly the further away you are from the transmitter.


IMPORTANT: This post is open for comments for a limited period (usually 14 days) following its upload date. You can comment with a Google Account (e.g. for G+, Gmail, YouTube, Google Play)
Comment not appearing? Comments may be subject to moderation and as such may not immediately appear on the site - comments will wait in the moderation queue until they are processed. Check back later. (Comments submitted anonymously may fail the spam filters.)

Please note: Some types of comments may be removed at the discretion of a516digital. With freedom of speech comes responsibility: Keep it clean, civil and on-topic! See the "About this website" section (link at the foot of the page) for full terms and conditions about what is and what isn't acceptable on this site.