Steve Livesey asks
I recently bought a Samsung LE40C580 LCD TV from Amazon. Now it was described as having FreeviewHD built in, but after tuning I am only get the usual Freeview channels. It has the FreeviewHD logo on the box and DVB-T/DVB-C/DVB-T2 in the specs.
I checked on Freeviews website to make sure HD was available in my area (Lincoln) before buying, which it said had been since March 2010.
Do you have any idea why I am not getting the HD channels? Do I need another new aerial?
There are a number of possible answers to this sort of problem, so let’s go through them in order.
First, in some areas, the Freeview HD signal is not being broadcast at full power yet, and so the coverage is not as good as it is for the standard channels. So, just because you can get Freeview doesn’t necessarily mean you can get Freeview HD. However, since the Freeview web site (which usually errs on the cautious side) says you can, we can discount this as the problem.
Next, in some areas, people haven’t always used the “recommended” transmitter, either because of very local issues, like a tall building in the way, or because they want a different local region. For example, where my mother lives in Winchester, you can point your aerial at either Rowridge on the Isle of Wight, or Hannington near Basingstoke; the recommended side is Rowridge, but some people get better reception from Hannington.
The coverage website tends to tell you what you can expect from the recommended transmitter, but if your original aerial was pointing at a different one, because of a tall building or – which is not uncommon – a different transmitter got Freeview first – you might not be getting the correct Freeeview HD signals.
And that’s the most likely case here; Lincoln is more or less equidistant between two transmitters, Belmont and Waltham, though Belmont probably has a better signal in most of the city. However, neither of these provides Freeview HD until later this year.
The March 2010 reference most likely applies to the signal from the Emley Moor transmitter, which is one of the ‘advance network’ Freeview HD transmitters; that means it’s one that won’t be at full power until later – so even if you do receive standard definition from there, the HD signal won’t be strong enough.
So, the answer in this case is likely to be that the Freeview website is suggesting you use Emley Moor transmitter, but failing to point out the lower signal strength of HD. The two nearer transmitters are scheduled for switchover this summer, at which time you will get HD service from them, so the best advice is to do nothing, and just wait. If your existing aerial is a ‘wideband’ one, then you do not need to have it replaced, but you may want to have to repositioned at switchover to point to the transmitter that will be giving you the best signal.
Besides the Freeview website, another good site for coverage information is Wolfbane, which will tell you the transmitter you need, and which way to point your aerial.
One last thing
One other point to mention, which probably isn’t relevant in this case, is that if you live in a block of flats with a shared aerial system, there may be additional work needed to get Freeview and Freeview HD. I’ll explain that separately in another post.