Freeview - the simple way to get TV? I’m no longer convinced!
- Credit: PA
Engineering works and the subsequent retuning of Freeview boxes in Norfolk has caused pain for many residents. Jonathon Read is one of those affected.
'Very annoying' - that's the way one Freeview viewer described the problems they have encountered since retuning their television. I had to smile at their politeness. I imagine privately some will have a few more colourful words to describe the issue.
As we reported last week, since the engineering works in Norfolk complaints have been rolling in from those that currently receive their television signal through an aerial.
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Hundreds across the county have taken to local Facebook groups and our own pages to complain about the number of retunes they have had to perform, and the loss of basic channels including BBC One, ITV and Channel 4.
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Some have reported local aerial engineers have huge waiting lists for home visits because of the impact these changes have had.
Having been through the process of retuning a television set back at my parents' home in Holt, I understand the frustration. After originally losing ITV, this particular television lost nearly all of the channels available, before another retune returned half of what was originally available.
Freeview have been trumpeting a helpline for those that get stuck, so in the interest of research I gave it a call to see what they could advise. I couldn't help thinking how difficult their advice would have been if I hadn't been a fairly technical-savvy person. The operator appeared to lose interest when I mentioned we already had satellite in the home, and after telling me to perform even more retunes his parting advice was to get an engineer out to install a new aerial at our expense.
The reason for the engineering works seems somewhat understandable – the government has ordered space is freed up for better mobile phone signal in the future like 5G. Here in Norfolk we recognise better than many the need for improved phone signal, but we are equally frustrated with the slowing advances of all modern infrastructure in the county - including broadband, digital radio, as well as television signal.
When the digital switchover took place seven years ago people will have assumed that their equipment would have been future-proof. Instead they have been told they may have to buy and install new aerials to continue to receive all of the channels because of the aforementioned changes. This seems short-sighted.
The selling point for people to choose Freeview was that it was affordable, simple to use, and allowed viewers to gain extra channels through their existing equipment. As viewers tear their hair out over the latest changes I can't help thinking that not all will now agree.
• To contact the Freeview advice line telephone 0808 100 0288 or visit freeview.co.uk/tvchanges