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Switchover in the South East concludes with another retune on the 27th June 2012

  update: 22:30, 26/06/2012

Viewers receiving from the Dover and Bluebell Hill transmitter groups, plus viewers receiving via the Tunbridge Wells and Heathfield transmitter (but not relays) across East Sussex and Southwest Kent will need to retune once more on the 27th June 2012, as digital Freeview services move to long-term frequency allocations.

Shortly after midnight on Tuesday into Wednesday, 27th June 2012, all remaining analogue services on air in Kent will switch off for the final time. Low-powered digital services delivered to Freeview receivers in the area will also cease at around the same time. By 6am, all main transmitters will be transmitting digital services at dramatically increased power and on new frequency allocations. Therefore, Freeview boxes and TVs will need to be retuned in the morning.

Viewers receiving from a relay will need to wait until later in the day to gain reception of additional services from ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 on Freeview. Elham, Turnpike, Hythe and Horn Street relays are among the last scheduled by Digital UK to be switched. Once each relay site has been visited by the engineers and digital services switched on, digital switchover will be formally complete. Relay sites will offer reception of Channel 5 for the first time, but will not carry the full selection of Freeview channels. 

Availability of the additional commercial services on Freeview is subject to commercial business decisions, whilst transmission of the ex-analogue services, Channel 5 (where previously not available) plus licence fee funded BBC digital channels on all relay sites is a requirement of digital switchover.

To enable the final part of the switchover jigsaw to fit in, viewers in neighbouring France had to retune during the past week as frequencies on the other side of the Channel were rejigged to avoid interference with the UK. Similar changes had to be made in the UK to allow France to switch in recent years. In addition, viewers in Suffolk and Essex will also need to retune as Kent's analogue switch off frees up frequencies to be used for high powered digital transmissions.

Due to massive increases in power levels to help counteract incoming interference from the continent, some viewers using boosters will need to remove them to avoid signal overload, which can generate picture breakup, and actually look to the casual viewer as a symptom of a weak signal!

East Sussex
Meanwhile, viewers in East Sussex, where switchover completed on the 13th June, will see some digital services move frequencies and be boosted in strength. Latest information from Digital UK states that the work will be done between 0900 - 1500 on the 27th. This follows switchover at the Bluebell Hill transmitter serving North West and Mid Kent, which frees up another internationally cleared frequency that can be used for high powered digital transmission across East Sussex.

Affected viewers will need to retune after 6am to continue watching channels such as 5*, QVC, Quest and ITV3. These are transmitted on the SDN digital multiplex. Some viewers in East Sussex and SW Kent who are already able to get most Freeview channels except the forementioned channels may gain these additional channel on the 27th as a result of a signal boost, bringing the signal strength of the digital multiplex transmitting these services to the same level as other commercial services in the area.

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