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Freeview Interference Forecast from 2013

Written on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 at 3:35 pm
Filed under Digital Switchover, Digital TV, Freeview.

Freeview LogoUp to 760,000 homes in the UK may find that they start to experience interference to Freeview from 2013, according to a report from OfCom.

As you’re probably aware, the UK Digital Switchover is set to be complete by the end of 2012. Once this has been done, a part of the spectrum that was used by analogue TV, will be auctioned off to mobile operators to use for the next generation of mobile Internet services, known as 4G.

4G services will offer mobile data speeds of up to 100 Mbps, offering faster web surfing on the move, and is set to use the part of the band from 791 to 862MHz, otherwise known as UHF channels 61 to 68.

The problem, is that many TV aerials do a good job of picking up signals in that band, and if those signals are amplified by a signal booster, the interference from neighbouring 4G base stations could overload the tuners in Freeview TV sets and set-top boxes.

Particularly as risk from interference from 4G would be those that get their Freeview via a communal TV aerial (which are normally amplified), or those using a masthead TV amplifier, where the signal is amplified at the aerial.

This is causing some concern to the regulator OfCom, who’s brought out a report warning that an estimated 760,000 homes could be affected. In many cases, this 4G interference can be reduced or removed by using a simple filter, which would cost around £10. A filter could be connected between the TV aerial and the Freeview receiver, and block signals over the crucial 790MHz frequency. OfCom is proposing that the 4G operators foot the bill for the filters.

TVI Filter

TV Interference Filter used to screen out Amateur Radio signals

Filters will not be the answer for everyone though, especially those close to a 4G base station, or whether they rely on a Freeview signal that’s right at the top of the band. Around 30,000 homes could be in this position, and the answer for them, would be to switch to a satellite TV service such as Freesat or Sky, or go for cable TV from Virgin. It’s unclear who’d be paying the bill for those users to switch.


Expect more coverage on this as we get closer to 2013. If you’re concerned about this topic, take a look at the OfCom Coexistence With DTT consultation document – The consultation period ends on the 11th of August 2011

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7 Responses to "Freeview Interference Forecast from 2013"

  1. Peter Jarrett Says:

    I am extremely annoyed about the possibility of interference. This is the first time I have heard of this.May I suggest that 4G channels are not allowed to start up until proper testing has been done. If interference happens, then the telephone companies MUST pay for any work required.This must be decided by government/OFCOM now.At present I am getting first class reception of Freeview HD from Crystal Palace in Watford, Hertfordshire, and I do not want this compromised.

  2. Roy Says:

    What about rural areas?

    Where I live the reception is so bad that I need 2 amplifiers (Yes it works fine!) – 1 at the mast head and another to boost and distribute the sigal to different rooms. No cable to the village so virgin is not available also the village is in a conservation area meaning Freesat dish may not be an option

  3. Roger Says:

    This appears to be just the latest in a line of hassles with Freeview. Every time there has been a ‘retuning’ change I find equipment not working, no longer able to receive channels, etc, and always the answer seems to be to fork out for something else. And always the claim is that ‘only a few homes’ will be affected.

    I was looking forward to buying a HD freeview recorder soon, but not now; it will make sense to wait and see if and when this problem arises.

  4. L Ashurst Says:

    I’ve said for a long time now that ‘they’ want us all to have cable or sky. My freeview has been breaking up and freezing etc for a while now. It used to be ok. Since they’ve announced the switchover my girlfriend and I (separate houses) have both been getting these problems. She’s gone to cable now. I’m not. I’ll wait and see. If need be. I’ll dump the tv altogether.

  5. Peter Jarrett Says:

    I contacted Ofcom and Digital uk today, and neither had heard anything about the potential catastrophic and expensive (to fix) problems facing some subscribers to Freeview. I insist that proper interference checks are carried out before 4G are allowed to commence service. If they start the service without guarantees to viewers then they could wash their hands of any problems. I have spent a lifetime in radio and television and know full well the effects of some adjacent transmitters on tuners, masthead amplifiers etc..If Freeview viewers are forced to abandon all their DVD Recorders PVRs and buy satellite equipment and cable subscriptions the 4G companies must pay for it.I have quite a number of DVD recorders PVRs and an HD Freeview Recorder all of which would become redundant in adverse circumstances.

  6. Brian Hutchins Says:

    This could be very bad news for me,being a disabled pensioner that
    watches a lot of tv.
    I did try to have freesat installed,but the engineer said this was
    not possible because we are almost intirely surrounded by tall trees,hence he could not align my aerial with the local transmitter. I am using a mast top amplifier plus one internally
    and reception is very good. If this goes ahead it will be a disaster for me as cable is not available in this area.

  7. GB Says:

    Freeview is a joke these days, promised as the answer to all our wishes with potential for high definition, it lets us down one thing at a time, first the terrible reception and hardly any channels in most areas, then the first generation boxes that stopped working, then watered down high definition (freesat and sky get better quality), then endless retuning, now this. Im glad ive got freesat. I was thinking of getting my ariel changed to receive freeview as a backup, but now I dont think i will bother.

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