FreeviewHD’s leap year problem – check your timers!

There’s something funny going on with Freeview HD – at least from the Crystal Palace transmitter. I updated my DigitalStream recorder earlier today and in common with other users noticed the time was shown in the EPG as Saturday 3rd March.

So, I did a full factory reset, and still had that problem – and consequently my recording of Masterchef for this evening dropped, in favour of next week’s.

A little more digging, and it appears that it’s just the date on the HD multiplex that is incorrect. Tune to, say, BBC One, and go to the EPG on your box, and you’ll see the date appear on screen, 29th Feb. Now go to BBC One HD, wait a few seconds, and go into the EPG, and the date is shown as Saturday 3rd March. Similarly, the date on ITV 1 is ok, but go to the HD channel, and its back again, and the common factor is that when it’s wrong, you’re tuned to the HD mux.

Top right, the SD mux is transmitting the correct date

It’s not just a Digital Stream issue, either. I’ve dug out some of the FreeviewHD kit that I’ve tested, and reproduced this on each on – a IceCrypt, SagemCom, and Bush units (aka the Vestel T8300). Admittedly, most of these are running on their original firmware as they’ve been in the cupboard since I tested them, but even so, this does seem to indicate a problem.

If you’re using a different transmitter, please let me know if you see the same issue – remember to wait a little while after changing to an HD mux for the box to pick up the time signal.

And, if you have recording set, especially for HD channels, check carefully to make sure they happen, or consider swapping them to the SD alternative, and not tuning your box to an HD channel until the time signal is corrected.

The HD mux thinks it's Saturday, 3rd March

Updated: 1355. It looks like this is now resolved, and the time is displaying correctly, even when I’m on the HD mux once more, certainly on the Digital Stream. However, if you had timers set for days between today and Saturday, I’d advise checking them to make sure they are still there and haven’t been removed as past events.

3 Replies to “FreeviewHD’s leap year problem – check your timers!”

  1. Glad to see its not only us with a problem!

    All BBC stations in the channel islands are broadcasting today (29th Feb) as 1st March

    The term ‘epic fail’ comes to mind.

    Can BBC get not even the simplest of things correct?

    1. It may not be the BBC’s fault – these days, much of the transmission side of things is no longer theirs, having been sold off to appease the gods of market economics. So, for instance, ‘play out’ of many channels is handled by a company called Red Bee Media, and transmitters are owned by Arquiva, and some of the BBC’s technical support is down to Siemens. Some things may be down to bits of kit that are relatively new and might not even have been around the last time there was a leap year, and with firmware that the BBC isn’t able to change.

      I’m sure it brings a smile to the faces of accountants everywhere, but it also, in my view, provides plenty of opportunities for things to fall through the cracks, and for people to assume someone else has done something. And, I tend to the view that when you have one organisation it’s easier for someone to pick up a phone and say “can you check/do this?” than it is when you have lots of organisations and people are told that they have to send requests through specified contacts and follow specific procedures (largely, no doubt, with a view to making sure any blame falls in the right place).

  2. My Panasonic TX-L32D28BS 32-inch Widescreen Freeview HD Freesat HD has lost all ability to record to hard drive any scheduled programmes since midnight February 29. It will still “live pause” programmes so it’s not a hard drive problem. But it refuses to obey any other record schedules including my daily ones. Nor does it behave as if it knows those scheduled events have passed. Re-entering them doesn’t help.

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