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Panasonic fault causes Freeview gibberish

Some Freeview viewers have reported seeing gibberish - and it's not the programmes that are to blame.

Users of Panasonic-branded Freeview smart TVs have reported seeing lines of gibberish overlaid on BBC channels. At closer inspection appears to be script for a data application that is carried alongside the BBC's Freeview channels.

At the time of publication, there has been no official comment from the BBC, Digital UK, Freeview or Panasonic about the issues which have appeared on social media in recent days, although Freeview support is aware of the issue.

For affected users, a software update is reportedly successfully fixing the fault. It can be downloaded via the internet to TVs. Users who are unable to do so should contact Panasonic UK.

There have recently been a number of changes to the Freeview signal, although which specific one has upset Panasonic receivers has not been disclosed. Before Christmas, the BBC confirmed the addition of a new HbbTV application broadcast alongside all BBC Freeview channels, following amendments to the BBC's playout and transmission infrastructure, although the BBC says it has tested hundreds of devices to ensure they are compliant with Freeview broadcast standards. HbbTV is due to replace the current MHEG-based system of red button services and information slates (e.g. off-air messages) on Freeview in the coming years.

Separately, changes to the way two Freeview multiplexes are broadcast from the end of this month means that additional data is starting to be broadcast alongside parts of the Freeview signal. Industry figures expect receivers to be able to handle the additional service information data broadcast alongside HD channels, but anyone encountering any strange issues is encouraged to contact their device manufacturer. Additionally, Freeview Advice offers support to consumers on 03456 505050.