Freeview in the North West goes Welsh

Freeview logoWe’re getting a number of reports that Freeview viewers in North West of England have lost their regional programmes after rescanning their set-top boxes. BBC North West has been replaced with Welsh regional programmes.

We’ve had messages from Freeview viewers in the Liverpool and Manchester area, and it seems that those in range of the Winter Hill transmitter are being affected.

We’ve found the reason for this – at the end of October, the North Wales TV region completed part of the Digital Switchover, meaning that the power from the Welsh Moel-y-Parc transmitter is now stronger than the Winter Hill Transmitter for some viewers.

Viewers in the North West that have been affected, may find that their regional channels have been shifted to a set of channels reserved for regional “duplicate channels”. If you’ve lost your regional programmes, take a look at channels starting with number 801 – your missing regional channels should be hiding there. As an example, one viewer tells us that BBC1 North West has moved from Freeview Channel 1 to Channel 805.

Our tech team has the following advice for affected users:

If your Freeview box or Freeview TV allow it, manually retune BBC-A and D3-4 (the two multiplexes that carry BBC and ITV programmes) to the UHF channel numbers for your local transmitter. Here’s how to find the UHF channel numbers:

  1. Go to and enter your postcode into the postcode checker.
  2. Click on the pink box labelled “Full reception forecast”
  3. Select “How do I retune?”
  4. There, you’ll find advice on how to do a manual retune, and also the UHF channel numbers for your nearest transmitter (see example below). “Group 1” is the BBC multiplex and “Group 2” is the ITV multiplex.

Digital UK Tuning Example

By doing a manual retune, you should be able to get your local regional programmes back to their rightful place in the Freeview channel lineup. There’s a handy page instructions on how to retune at

If you need help with retuning, please ask in our Freeview Help Forum, or if you need help over the phone, call Digital UK’s helpline on 08456 505050.

Affected by this issue? Please let us know in our comments section.

Originally posted 29 Oct 09. Updated 16 Dec 09


  • N. Hughes

    Living in Colwyn Bay I have been receiving Winter Hill digital for some years……this week I have rescanned to pick up the Penmaenrhos relay via Moel y Parc and have just removed the duplicates that I do not want.
    I have always received 9 analogue channels anyway.
    The Winter Hill BBC channels are in the 801+ run. for me.

  • Anonymous

    i live in chester, england. i now have welsh bbc tv. i would much rather news local to my area

  • Rick

    There are a number of people affected by this in the Marple area of Stockport, however there does not seem to be any response from the Freeveiw people, hopefully it might change following the upgrade in signal strength for the Winter Hill transmission. I'll go to the pub and pass the message on. Hope that they are all not speaking fluent welsh by now!

  • Anonymous

    We live on Wirral and so have a stronger Welsh signal than Winter Hill, even though the Storeton relay is close to us. Since Wednesday, we have lost both BBC1 and 2 from the digital line up even though we have a full IDTV and digital aerial (which we had put up a few years back and points to Winter Hill) and we have done numerous rescans. We can receive all the dross channels no problem, but our line up starts with Granada, so anythng on BBC2 at present is a total no-go as the analogue BBC2 has gone altogether. Great…..

  • Anonymous

    I live in chester aswell and have lost all sky channels plus various others! In short a disgrace.

  • Anonymous

    Not only do I have BBC2 and BBC1 in Welsh. I have now lost ITV1 CH4 and CH5 on Digital but can still get them on Analogue and Sky. I live in the M25 manchester area (beat that)

  • Anonymous

    Chester…. my TV dongle has Lost BBC 1, 2 & 3 completely and BBC4 poor signal.

    Good signal on all the channels I would not consider watching… dating, shopping etc.

    Angry doesn't cover it.

  • Anonymous

    I am experiencing similar problems in the Ellesmere Port Area..
    What can we do if problem persists after Dec2.. My Tv and Recorder both have Wales BBC1&2 as channel 1&2 with NW in the 800's. If I swop them the Wales ones still keep 1&2 as their channels so im stimied.

  • Stuart

    I'm in Wallasey on the Wirral and was prompted by my TV today to rescan and once done found I have BBC 1 & 2 Wales but still Granada as normal. My TV has put the NW channels on 800 & 801. My problem can't be caused by the Welsh channels being stronger tho, only 50% signal on them and 90+% on the NW ones. Welsh ones are choppy and unwatchable. Very annoyed. I don't seem to have lost anything else tho.

  • Stuart

    After posting I tried the unplugging the aerial rescanning then putting it back & scanning again, but it's made things worse. I've now lost CH5 all 4 channels and ITV2. Rescanned several times with no luck. We put up a new aerial 2 years ago, & this is the first problem we've had. They'd better sort this soon.

  • Sparkz

    I bought a 15" ONN Freeview TV from Asda. I live 8 miles from Winter Hill. After tuning the TV, I found that BBC1 Wales and BBC2 Wales had replaced the North West regional channels; they had been placed in the 800s. Retuning again and again, made no difference. I then decided to see what what happen if I selected 'Ireland,' instead of UK, from the 'First Time Installation' menu. After scanning for channels, BBC1 and 2 North West were placed in the correct places. Strange that selecting a different country setup, fixed the problem.

  • Stuart

    After a retune this evening when I got home from work I can officially say the Welsh invasion is over!

  • Avantime4mike

    After the November retune I found BBC1 and BBC2 were welsh versions and the English ones were in the 800's. I was told by various sources that this was due to the Welsh transmitter power having been upgraded on these channels and it would be sorted out on Dec 2nd. Well I now have English BBC channels but Welsh ITV channels. As all the upgrades have now been done, what happens now?

  • Anonymous

    I live in Liverpool. Believe it or not, I have North West tv in my kitchen, but in my front room, I have the Welsh tv. I didn't include the living room, as that has Cable.
    I know it can be great to see what the Welsh are upto, but it is so annoying when I have to get to the 800s just to see the North West news.

  • Anonymous

    It's bad enough we have to get our utility bills in English and Welsh, it seems now we have to view Welsh television. We live 50 yards from the border, on the English side.

  • Poppi

    Like others in the Stockport/ Marple area I previously received the digital freeview transmissions from Winter Hill. In my case, at a High Peak hillside location, at Quality 10, Signal Strength 10. Following the Moel-y-Parc uprate etc I,again like others, found the Welsh programs in the top slots and my North-West programs jumbled into 800 locations, generally making a mess of using the Guide Plus system.It was my understanding that the Dec 2 changeover would sort this all out, with Winter Hill also being uprated.However, after yesterday's repeated rescans (including aerial out – channels strip – aerial back goes)I am still stuck with BBC1W, BBC2W and S4C etc at the front with Quality and Sig.Stregths at 10 and the North West up in the 800s (Channel 28) with Quality and Sig.Strength at 5.and occasionally dropping out. Is this now the final situation or is there some uprating of Winter Hillstill to be carried out. If so, When? Does anyone know ?

  • Anonymous

    Chester. My main tv is fine, but had to do a new installation rather than a retune. There is no improvement to the service, just a waste of my time deleting all the rubbish channels.

    What is making me very , very cross though is that my Winfast TV dongle, which used to pick up every digital channel with a small portable arial upstairs lost all BBC channels except BBC3 in November and cannot now find any channels at all. And this is supposed to be an *upgrade*?

  • Anonymous

    I live in the Ellesmere Port Area and previously wrote on 23 November saying that Wales BBC1&2 had taken over both my TV and Recorder. After 2 Dec it is still that way. I tried the unplugging and manual retune but all that does on my TV is to put it right for 24 hours: when I turn it on next morning the TV has retuned itself automatically to the Wales BBC1&2. It may be peculiar to Toshiba TV's I dont know. But what I do know is that its poor customer service.
    All this hassle just because the Government want to make money selling the wavelenghts. Another tax by anyone's definition.

  • Anonymous

    I really can't tell you how annoyed I am about this. My Mum is now stuck with BBC1W, BBC2W, ITVW, S4C (inlcuding subtitles) where Channel 4 should be, and a bunch of duplicate channels I suppose I now have to waste even more time deleting.

    My Mum has always enjoyed the regional news and weather reports, so to now be deprived of them for a so called upgrade has left her bitterly disappointed and me furious.

    Thank you to all those who have offered solutions, however none have been succesful so far. My Mother had her new aerial fitted only 3 months ago, she has no intention of paying for Sky or Cable and both she and I would resent being forced to buy another freeview box on the off-chance that it may actually work.

    This needs fixing NOW!!

  • Anonymous

    Bromborough, Wirral. Same as everyone else. Two TV's all on Welsh Channels. Normal North West channels start at 800. How about we boycott paynig our TV license until they fix it. If they think that turning every antenna to Winter Hill is the problem then they need to start sending vans out to every home in Wirral quick! What a shambles.

  • Anonymous

    I know alot of people that are having this problem but its a disgrace that my 86 year old nan has this problem because telling her that her ITV is on channel 804 and C4 is on channel 8 is to much for her to remember

    When is this going to be fixed??????

  • Anonymous

    You need to remove your aerial from your freeview recorder and TV and run an autoscan to clear the memory. Then replace the aerial and run manual scans on channels 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61 and 62. It worked for us.

  • Nigel

    I live in the NW area but if I type my postcode into the Digital UK I am told my TV comes from Winter Hill and I can get all channels, however if I add my house number I am told it come from Wrekin (midlands) and I can't get any digital TV.
    And guess what despite me having a high gain powered aerial pointing smack on to Winter hill my signal is coming from Moel y Parc in Wales so I have to endure BBC1 Wales & HTV wales in the usual numbers
    BBC1 NW etc are 799 onward.

    Moel y Parc is swamping everything from Winter Hill.We even had an aerial man round, and he said that a better aerial would just give us better reception from Moel y Parc as well as Winter Hill, despite our house blocking everything from Welsh Wales, and a direct line of sight to Winter Hill – I can see it now.
    Why exactly do the welsh have to have such powerful transmitters? I once spoke to a welsh taxi driver from Flint(wales) and he was telling me he was so glad that he was masked from the welsh transmitter by a big hill and so had a clear signal from Winter Hill and didn't have to watch "all that welsh propaganda shite" his words!

  • Anonymous

    There is lots of information on MANUAL TUNING on the digital uk website. And theirs is the best postcode checker to use with the fullest info. If you click on the 'trade view' you will get the UHF frequencies for your transmitter (which may be Winter Hill for many in NW but not everyone). This will mean the box or TV has the preferred regional service.
    Winter Hill viewers who've got Wales too could also: 1) retune without the aerial in (emptying the box/TV)
    2) retune again with aerial out and insert the aerial around half way through the tune. This means the kit doesn't pick up the lower Wales frequencies.
    Or call Digital UK on 08456 50 50 50
    They can talk you through a manual retune on the phone.

  • Mike in Widnes

    I have found a solution to this problem which has worked 100% for me. I have found a set top box which will find the correct winterhill transmissions and put them in the correct slots (very important for me as I use my STB with a TiVo)The STB I now use is an Astratec which was originally marketed by Tesco but is no longer sold. There are however plenty for sale on Ebay at around £10. An added advantage is that this STB has a topup card slot for Setanta sports etc.

  • Anonymous

    I am in Birkenhead, and have several freeview receivers all attached to the same aerial, I thought that I would let you know of my switchover problems, in case they are usefull to anyone else. I am using a Sony SVR-S500 PVR and it has been failing to auto-scan correctly since the switchover started and is still doing so when used normally (see later in post for solution). I also use a Panasonic DMR-EX77EB DVD recorder which has re-tuned perfectly every time since the switchover, so my problems seem to be down to problems with the Sony Box.
    The Sony box has shown different problems at diiferent times during the digital switchover initially picking up BBC1 and 2 welsh versions, and later it has been picking up S4C and losing several other channels which show up in the channel list, but have no picture or sound.
    I have noticed on the suto-scan (there appears to be no manual setup option), that since the switchover the scan finds 10 frequencies instead of the previous 5 frequencies. The box appears to be selecting the wrong channels out of the 2 sets, and this gives me missing or very weak channels. I have found that if I remove the aerial cable at the opposite end from the Sony PVR (wall / signal amplifier end) and then perform the auto-scan I can get the autoscan to only find 5 frequencies (The strongest I presume) and that these contain the correct channels with strong signals (when the aerial is plugged back in). This involves moving the detached aerial cable end about closer or further from the socket to alter the number of frequencies fournd when autoscanning untill it finds 5 frequencies, but when the scan completes and the aerial is re-connected the reception is strong and all of the major channels are correctly arranged. (I do not know if all of the channels are there but all of the ones I watch are there and stable). Does anyone know if Sony are going to issue a firmware fix. Sorry for the long post.


  • Hicky

    Did anyone see BBC Northwest earlier this week, when a Blackpool hotel-owner was interviewed? She was having problems with the Digital Switchover in her 17-bedroom hotel. I would be really grateful if anyone could help me.

  • Anonymous

    The taxi driver in Flint was so right.

    My deepest sympathies go out to the good people of North West England.

    Please spare a thought for the 80% + English-speaking majority in Wales. We get nationalist nonsense rammed down our throats every day. All funded by the generous British taxpayer.

    Thank goodness for BBC West.

  • Anonymous

    We live near Chester and have been receiving freeview channels without any problems for a couple of years. We use the small dongle devices that connect direct into the scart sockets with a little plug-in device that links with the remote control.
    Everything has worked trouble free – until now when everything has become a nightmare !!!
    Not only do we get Welsh (and occasionally Midlands) TV but the quality is rubbish, pixellation and break-up all over the place + our devices don't seem to be able to handle channels in the 800 range.
    Why couldn't they leave things be ??? They'd probably wake up if we all stopped paying our licence fee !!

  • Anonymous

    I have a Philips tv with built in freeview and it makes very little difference to rescan the channels. They don't appear to be locked after a scan and I can come back to BBc1 for example, without having turned the set off and its suddenly gone to BBC1 Wales. Why can't you turn down the Welsh transmittor power gradually until the best compromise is reached. I live in Oldham by the way (on the Yorkshire borser!) and I don't speak Welsh.

  • Anonymous


  • Diane

    The answer to Anonymous’ question is …The issue will not be resolved. My so who worked for the BBC says that when all regions have gone over to digital, the signal strengths will be turned up. This wont solve the problem but we can then all go out and buy new TV’s and PVR’s which will boost the economy and give the government more tax. Freeview and economic problems both solved at a stroke.

  • Fed -up… an not a welsh speaker – I don’t need to be, Liverpool doesn’t have that many. Do the ‘powers that be’ realise that people will move away from the ITV channels in favour of local news elsewhere thereby hitting the already scarce viewing figures and then the advertising income? I am not interested if such and such a company is having a sale in Swansea!! Soon such and such company may realise that!!

  • martin anthony davies

    Well i have only just come across! this rubbish!( We’re getting a number of reports that Freeview viewers in North West of England have lost their regional programmes after rescanning their set-top boxes. BBC North West has been replaced with Welsh regional programmes.) you people sound like a right bunch of little englander’s so whats the problem you are getting bbc 1&2wales itv wales plus s4c for years we have recieved english tv programes but unlike you bunch of tosser’s we dont make a fuss! You know, there’s nothing more interesting than seeing a bunch of racists getting cheesed off! over not being able to pick up!some english crap local tv programes.dont know if you know this but bbc 1 & 2 and itv 1 wales transmit their programes in english only s4c transmits in welsh thats all i got to say to you racists tossers across the border and thats from a very angry welshman!!!!!!!

  • Chris & Val

    We live in Chester and are absolutely pi**ed off with having the Welsh channels override the North West ones. our main TV (Phillips,in the lounge) recieves NW channels ok but to view them we have had to set up a “favourites” section. The one in the kitchen (Goodmans) will get NW channels, but the screen regularly freezes and we lose the volume. It’s the same with the ones in the bedrooms (Bush & Matsui).The idea of not paying our licence fee until this is sorted seems like a good one to us. Also, why don’t “” start a petition to show just how many people this really affects.

  • john harris

    i dont see what the problem is you people in england should be happy to recieve our wonderfull welsh channels.we in north wales have had your channels for years.And you see its not only an english problem we have been trying to get rid of the english channels for years but we have both and can see no problems please less! of this anti welsh tv rubbish iam reading on the forum we can read english??thanks john north wales!

  • Stuart

    John and Martin in Wales. Our problem is not that we’re getting the Welsh channels and the NW ones, but that we’re getting the Welsh channels as the main ones, and as a result don’t get a good signal on the NW ones, and therefore have a broken up picture and sound even if we manually sort it out. That shouldn’t be the case. I’m not racist, and I’ve always liked having the analogue S4C and C4 for example cos quite often you get the same programme and hour apart meaning you can start watching later.

    I just don’t want to sacrifice my local news and sport in favor of the Welsh news and sport that is of less interest to me. If I could have full strength and quality signal on both I’d be happy to manually re-arrange my channels.

  • Stephen

    I live in Birchwood Warrington. BBC channels going down all the time, and yet ITV works fine. One month ago they were all fine! Very depressing especially since I’ve bought a new TV and the world cup has just started. There doesn’t seem to be anyone to go to who isn’t trying to sell you something, or who really has any idea whats going on. It seems wrong to be paying a TV licencse for a service I can’t get!

  • The chief

    Can anyone help? i live in Neston south wirral, after having problems with my preview TV i found i had to re-tune my set, but to my complete dismay i now have BBC 1 wales,BBC2 wales,ITV wales, and the Welsh S4C, so now i have lost all my local regional programmes, for everything welsh, no matter how often i re-tune, why should i have these programmes rammed down my throat i,m not welsh!!!!!!

  • Rob

    In response to this comment:

    “The taxi driver in Flint was so right.

    My deepest sympathies go out to the good people of North West England.

    Please spare a thought for the 80% + English-speaking majority in Wales. We get nationalist nonsense rammed down our throats every day. All funded by the generous British taxpayer.

    Thank goodness for BBC West.”

    Err no, the taxi driver from Flint and was just being ignorant, and so are you.
    I am Welsh, I don’t speak Welsh nor am I a nationalist, but how on earth is reporting Welsh news ‘nationalist nonsense’?

    Does BBC North West or Granada report on events happening in Wrexham, Rhyl or Llandudno? Does BBC West report on Newport, Chepstow or Cardiff? Of course not, its not in their remit to do so. Just likes its not in the remit of Welsh TV to report on events on the Wirral or Liverpool. Before digital when you could only get S4C instead of Channel Four then I could understand, but now that viewers in Wales can get both channels then I fail to see the logic in preferring English regional tv.

    I hope viewers in the North West have got this problem rectified, it seems strange that in the 21st century an age of digital technology that we cannot ensure that viewers recieve the right region. My mobile phone can tell me what town I’m in, maybe our freeview boxes could do so as well.

  • Lyndsey

    On my tv I have all the granada and bbc northwest and bbc 2 but channel 4 has moved to 8 and s4c is where channel 4 is suppose to be. We have had to live with it or they would reshuffle around and have to re scan I live in Warrington

  • Ted

    I’ve got Welsh TV and my father has the same problem and he lives 5 miles away. The solution (If you haven’t got a box where you can set the scanning frequency) is to watch the weather. Wait for a good solid belt of rain coming from the west that will cover north Wales and you need to retune when it gets east of Chester. You need the belt of rain coming from a SSW direction ideally and for the rain not to be hitting Manchester or Bolton. The signal from Wales is dampened by the rain and as it hasn’t hit Winter Hill it allows that to come through with relatively more power. I’ve told my 82 years old father how to do it and every time there’s a retune he watches the weather and he does it himself. All his channels are back where they are.

  • Ted

    Oh, and for all those who think this is an anti Welsh thing – it most definitely isn’t. If we were receiving Yorkshire TV programmes we’d still all be just as upset. BBC North West gives us local news about things just down the road. We don’t want regional news from outside our region. The TV guides are all prepared on the basis of the correct freeview numbers and we want our gadgets to work as they should.

  • Steve

    Pretty upset that not only do we lose our NW BBC but the BBC website does not even have a page for help. Disgusting service for your licence fee!

  • George

    When will my tele realise I do not shag sheep !!!!!!!

  • Carlos292

    Well beat this im in rockferry I live im an old building massive ariel on top of the roof I can get winterhill storeton and winter hills frequency also wales And itv and bbc yorkshire . When I lived on Birkenhead we could on clear day’s pick up a very watchable utv northern Ireland signal . Also a friend of mine could only pick up wales tele In Clitheroe lancs . Funny things radio waves lol

  • Rob

    As the advice at the top of the page suggests, retune your box if the Welsh channels tune in instead of north west channels try going to channel set up – manual tune – delete / remove channels and remove the Welsh channels. I found deleting the Welsh channels moved the BBC channels to the correct place. I think what happens is your tv or box when scanning detects the Welsh channels before the northwest channels and stores those first.

  • Simon

    Absolutely useless advice… My channels don’t go up any further than ‘733’; and the BT Humax PVR does not have a manual tune option on it, so as a result don’t have any BBC Channels at all. Remind me what we pay our licence fee for? At least there is one small redeeming factor, I don’t have to suffer Eastenders any longer!

  • Dylan


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