Digital TV transmissions.......

  Diemmess 17:18 02 Oct 2005

...... will eclipse replace all British analogue stations in a few years.

30 years ago I might have worried about 'Big Brother' control of the media, but now I would settle for reliable reception!
Any reasoned argument suggesting that 'fringe areas' will not be able to receive TV at all during some meteorological conditions will not be listened to, if past practice is still the norm.

I live in a parish with 500 homes in the no man's land between SE Wales and SW Midlands. No major conurbations within 20 miles. No North Sea gas, no piped TV etc, but it makes for a peaceful place. Last week with heavy weather fronts about, the analogue TV signals 'snowed' while the digital converter gave up with just a spot of red on a black screen. This level is only possible with a booster in place and a tall supporting mast for the aerial.

In normal conditions BBC Radio 4 FM is almost unreadable unless I use a scanning communications receiver with its special aerial.

When 'important' cricket matches began to monopolise BBC 4 LW, I used the proper channels to ask for help. A Scottish engineer responded by phone, went through the catechism, and finished by admitting that there were no plans to extend/improve FM reception in my area.

Eventually I found the addresses of both the Comptroller of BBC Radio and the Controller of BBC Radio 4 and sent an identical letter to each, deploring the lack of concern for those who can receive the core Radio 4 on LW but have to make do as best they can if they don't want a ball by ball commentary during hours of play. Neither lady even acknowledged my letter.

I see no guarantee coming to make sure that while heavy weather is about, my future viewing will be limited to silence and a small red spot!

  wiz-king 07:14 03 Oct 2005

I live only a few miles from Crystal Palace the main TV transmitter for London, well within the M25 and I cant receive analogue channel 5 let alone digital! We have a local repeater but that does not have 5 or digital. As I am amateur radio enthusiast I can use my 70cm beam for television but not everyone would like a large (12 ft long)steerable aerial array on the roof! Too many glaciated valleys round here. And it not even quiet and peacefull round here on the A22! but we do have gas and cable TV.

  Knikerbeine 11:27 03 Oct 2005

Similar situation here,I live within 3 miles of the Emley Moor transmitter and I cannot recieve any signals from it, I receive my T.V signal from a sub transmitter nearby which means no channel 5,no digital(Freeview)and lousy reception of the remaining terrestial channels.Still have to pay the full licence fee though.:o)

  Diemmess 17:59 04 Oct 2005


So much these days is decided for us by semi- official unelected bodies both public and commercial.

They are huge, very powerful, and simply don't provide any opportunity for debate.

With a commercial outfit there is the obvious response.. stop trading with them. With a "Public Service" like the BEEB there is no alternative.

So I repeat my badly worded initial thought, - There seems to be no interest in the likelihood that when heavy weather is about, digital television service will stop for the duration and along with many other viewers we shall have no alternative.

  oresome 18:54 04 Oct 2005

I live in hope that we are in a halfway house at the moment.

Digital is jostling for available bandwith alongside analogue and has to be carefully limited so as not to impair the analogue signal. Once analogue is turned off, the existing digital transmitters can be upped in power and more can be brought in to fill the gaps.

That's if the government doesn't sell off every last Mhz gained from the more efficient transmission method.

  jorf 10:36 17 Oct 2005

I can look out of my window and see BBC world service transmitters on Orfordness, yet we cannot get chanel 5, Freeview or digital radio. Analogue service is often unwatchable, in fact Dutch TV is often better reception than UK. When can we expect to get all the modern services that are constantly advertised on BBC TV and radio?

  Confab 12:42 17 Oct 2005

I presume you could all point a dish to the SKY

click here

  Diemmess 12:50 17 Oct 2005

Quote from that link.

"73% of the UK. Depending on where you live, you may need an aerial upgrade. There will be extra costs if you need an aerial upgrade or require help with the installation"

Looks as though 27% will still be wanting.

  Confab 13:03 17 Oct 2005

There is no "aerial" with Freesat - you have a dish and minibox

Quote from that link

With freesat from Sky you receive the digital signal via a satellite dish. With Freeview, the digital signal is received via an aerial. Freeview currently has coverage in around 73% of the country compared with Sky’s coverage of 98%.* Freesat from Sky also has over five times the number of channels available on Freeview and you can upgrade to Sky digital at any time without the need for new digital satellite equipment or installation.

Confab (-:

  Confab 13:06 17 Oct 2005

minibox = Digibox


  Wilham 21:28 18 Oct 2005

I think it is only through compromise and the cleverness of engineers that Freeview coverage has reached 73%.

The spectrum had already been carved up by Europe/UK when Channel 5 applied for a broadcast licence. Permission was given on condition the new transmissions did not interfere with existing users. Part solution was using one of the channels reserved for VCR playback, and engineers visited homes where needed,- at Channel 5's expense.

For Freeview to follow this would not have been possible without EU allowing a increase of 10% in existing transmitters, granted partly because digital made less demand on bandwidth. All the restrictions are needed to prevent interference between signals.

I have seen speculation that Germany, inventer of our present PAL TV, will next year launch a new HDTV system to broadcast the football World Cup. To do this the EU requires Germany to close a slice of its present wavelengths. There was a fuss (rightly?) in Wales when alterations were made in UK.

Those in fringe area TV are unlucky rather than neglected, I fear.

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