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The Freeview channel reshuffle (19/09/2012): Complications for some receivers

Today's changes may cause some unexpected complications for some viewers. Depending on who made their receiver, some may find that although they haven't retuned, some channels are in the wrong place. Some may try and retune, but it doesn't bring back the channels.

Viewers with the latest generation smart boxes should not need to do anything - changes should be automatically applied without any viewer interactions.

Various makes and models vary considerably with regards to how they handle a channel change.

Channels are missing? In the wrong place?
If a retune does not restore all channels, you may need to do a "first time installation" or "factory reset". has more information on retuning a TV or box with Freeview. Alternatively, the manufacturer of the equipment should be contacted for help. Freeview - a company set up solely to market free to air digital terrestrial TV - is not responsible for an individual's equipment or aerial set up and cannot assist. As a marketing company, they do not have a technical support team.
The changes have caused a few issues for TV's that automatically add channels. Some models only scan the digital multiplex that they are tuned to. This may led to channels going in the wrong place, and the viewer will have to conduct a proper retune to sort things out.

The following highlights how channels can get messed up - based on an example seen today on an LG brand TV, where the viewer follows the exact sequence described:

If ITV3 is the first channel selected, it will try and rescan the SDN digital multiplex. By doing so, it attempts to move GOLD from 17 to 20. However 20 is still taken by Really, so it moves GOLD channel 800 or similar. This is all going on in the background while the viewer is watching ITV3. 
Then the viewer changes to PICK TV on channel 11. In the background, the receiver scans the "Arqiva A" multiplex which transmits PICK TV. It tries to move Dave to 12, but Yesterday is still on 12 - as the receiver has not yet scanned the digital multiplex that Yesterday is on. As a result Dave is shunted to the 800s. Really is successfully moved to 17, because GOLD was moved out of the way when ITV3 was being watched, meaning there's nothing to stop Really going on to 17. Food Network is successfully moved to channel 48, as there's nothing already on that channel. All while PICK TV is being watched.

Then the viewer changes to Yesterday - still on channel 12. In the background, the receiver scans the "Arqiva B" multiplex which transits Yesterday. Now recognising for the first time that Yesterday has had a channel number change, It moves Yesterday from 12 to 19 while the viewer is watching the channel. The viewer may be surprised when pressing the P+ button to find him or herself further up the channel list! Yesterday can be moved to 19 straightaway, because 19 was cleared when PICK TV was being watched. Dave was shunted upto the 800s because Yesterday was still on channel 12. Argos TV is added to channel 55 without problem.

As a result of this particular sequence of events, the viewer will have nothing on channel 12, Really on channel 17, Yesterday on 19 and nothing on channel 20. GOLD and Dave will be in the 800s, but other changes to the channel line up will have occured correctly.

Now, if the viewer had switched on Yesterday first of all instead of ITV3, the receiver would have moved Yesterday to channel 800, having failed to move it to channel 19, as Dave would still have been in that slot. The receiver only looks at the particular multiplex it is tuned to, and not the wider picture.

A viewer may watch another channel on the one of the affected multiplexes, such as Sky News. The autoscanning will take place in the background, and could led to a scenario similar to that listed above. Sometimes, viewers may be alerted to the fact that an autoscan has taken place when the TV automatically changes the selected service to the first channel in the Freeview channel list or to another channel on the same multiplex.

As a result, when people come home this afternoon and tonight, they may find that although they haven't retuned, some of their channels may be in unexpected positions. Some viewers may not notice until they want to watch a programme on the channel in a week's time (or further into the future) and they may think that the channel has been lost or taken off Freeview!  Or they may be under the impression that they have a reception problem.

A retune will need to be done to correct the problems and restore the channel line up.


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