back to article Another 170,000 Freeview homes to be freed from reality TV - possibly

170,000 London homes will get letters in the next day or two, telling them they're in the next phase of 4G testing and offering telephone support for anyone who sees Freeview disappear on Monday. The testing follows a 22,000-home trial in the Midlands, which went remarkably well, if you're a network operator worried about …


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  1. LarsG

    First a filter, then it will be a demand that you buy either satellite or a whole new free view box.

    I love the bit about, 'if you didn't get a letter it won't be out fault'.....

  2. Fihart

    Totally Incompetent.

    Freeview only changed again quite recently, to add more pointless/vacuous channels, forcing people to buy new hardware and retune twice.

    And, somehow they let 4G be introduced on frequency so close that it may or may not interfere. And they're wasting £millions to find out if people have to faff around again.

    Suggest complete incompetence.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Totally Incompetent.

      When half of Australia was flooding, for several weeks (and a few months) I was sitting at the table in the flood water, eating dinner with the water up to my waist, with the endless 24/7 news, about how "So much of Australia was under flood"... with the incremental updates to the loop news every hour or two...

      And the endless idiot copy cat American style "Add libbing" - of saying shit so they have something to say, non stop, all the time.

      After the floods, I gave my TV away to my shit head junki neighbour......

      At the time I was glad to be rid of it.

      With hindsight, it was a cruel form of torture.


      No TV for 2 years...


  3. IHateWearingATie

    Freeview signal is rubbish anyway

    I've lived inside the M25 in various north west bits and never had a decent Freeview signal. Can't imagine 4G will make it any worse....

  4. pewpie

    Why don't you...

    ...switch off the TV set go and do something less boring instead.

    1. Annihilator

      Re: Why don't you...

      For example you could post sanctimonious comments on web sites...

      1. LinkOfHyrule
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Why don't you...

        You could go to one of those parks that do open air Shakespeare plays in the summer and put on your own show - open-air Corrie, Come Dine With Me and Gok Wang's 'get ya badboys out' How to Look Good Naked! I think this would be a great idea, it will add culture to the area and will gain you a reputation as one of the South East's more interesting up-and-coming Am Dram production companies!

      2. Thecowking

        Re: Why don't you...

        It was a kid's tv show

        So not sanctimonious, just a mildly obscure reference designed to amuse those who got it.

        I was amused.

        1. Timly

          Re: Why don't you...

          I know the guy who wrote that TV theme. The kids who sang it were random kids picked off the street in Stoke on Trent :-)

          1. pewpie
            Thumb Up

            Re: Why don't you...

            Superb - please pass my compliments on when you see him next. Song resonates more loudly for those that listened at the time - more loudly with every passing year since.

            Of course, I expect these days he would be shaved, sterilized and destroyed for trying to get that one onto kids telly. ;)

      3. Putters

        Re: Why don't you...

        Ahh - either very young - or not in the UK ...

        This might be enlightening :

        Wiki : "Why Don't You? or Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Television Set and Go and Do Something Less Boring Instead? was a BBC children's television series broadcast in 42 series between 20 August 1973 and 21 April 1995."

        1. David Cantrell

          Re: Why don't you...

          I was born in the UK in 73 and had never heard of this programme. I suppose I just had good parents who made sure that I didn't need to take the advice of a piece of furniture if I wanted to know how to amuse myself.

          1. JDX Gold badge

            Re: Why don't you...

            Shame they din't raise you to be less of a prig.

          2. Lamont Cranston

            @David Cantrell

            Won't listen to a peace of furniture, but will take advice from Annihilator, it seems.

            1. Lamont Cranston

              ^ hung by my own typo.

              The shame.

      4. Annihilator

        Re: Why don't you...

        Dammit, missed the cultural reference :-( Fail on me - if I could downvote myself, I would.

        I'm clearly jaded by the comments on here that post that literally!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why don't you...

          I was interviewed for that show but didn't get on as my fancy kite building was "too technical".

          Years later someone who "worked in telly" told me that is shorthand for boring.

          This event predicted my future course.

          1 I have no telly.

          2 Work in IT.

    2. pewpie
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why don't you...

      I'm glad to see that what was a controversial theme tune back in the 70s still has the power to provoke after 30(ish) years.. ((the (ish) is for the delicate among us who are so easily upset.)).

  5. Bob H

    That they are doing these tests is very good and they seem to be running them well, they are suitably funded so that consumers won't be adversely impacted, but what confuses me more is how do they know the impact when hundreds/thousands of handsets are operating in the area as well. Do they test with 100% channel occupation?

    1. Dig

      That's what I want to know. How are they simulating hundreds or thousands of handsets silk doing different things at different locations. I think the rest is fairly meaningless until there is widespread uptake by users. Perhaps it's so they can claim no one complained when we did the tests and it will be too late to claim when enough users generate enough traffic to cause an issue.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't see why TV's/set top boxes are not already able to filter out signals that it doesn't want? I thought they worked by receiving one signal while ignoring others... how else could we have different channels with analog, and different MUXes with Freeview (I think I got the terminology right)

    but sure, I'd take the interference and a free filter to get decent 4G(or ANY) signal from mobile provider at home..

    As long as they do not suggest freesat is an alternative!

    I have both Freesat and Freeview at home, and the channels don't overlap 100% on Freesat, some are missing!

    1. Annihilator

      The short answer is that there's no such thing as a perfect filter.

    2. Mark #255


      the slightly longer answer is that because 4G is pinching old TV channels, proper antennas, splitters and (possibly most importantly) amplifiers should be covering the frequency range which the 4G signal is now sitting. That is, by design, they shouldn't be filtering it out. Add in a cheap receiving stage which can't deal with co-channel interference, and there's your potential for interference.

      And you might say that everything should work properly, but here's the thing about technical standards - they're (usually) designed with a reasonable level of robustness. Add the 4G signal next door, and the level of robustness is degraded - to the point that, say, 1 in 1000 households might start seeing interference when before they didn't.

    3. Steven Jones

      Of course TVs and set top boxes do filter out signals outside their specified range, but the new 4G services will be intruding into frequencies that were previously used for TV, so any general band-pass filter will not get rid of the 4G signal. Of course there is a tuning mechanism, but if there's any wide-band amplification stage before that, it could be overloaded by a nearby 4G transmitter.

      However, the primary problem isn't with TVs or set-top boxes, it's with signal boosters, often installed on the masthead, which are often required in marginal areas. These were, of course, designed with a band-pass filter for TV channels. However, now there will be 4G services transmitting on what were previously TV frequencies, these will also amplify the 4G frequencies. If the 4G transmitter is nearby, it could drive the amplifier into overload and render the Freeview TV frequency signals unusable due to distortion. As mast head amps were only intended for use on TV (or, sometime VHF audio) channels in marginal areas they may well not have the headroom to cope with a combination of very weak Freeview signals and local 4G ones received at much higher power levels. The designers of these things, often installed many years ago, can't really be blamed for not foreseeing such a radical change in the transmission environment.

      The simple solution is a new bandpass filter placed before any signal booster, but as that may be on the masthead, then it involves people up ladders. For a small minority, even this might not work though.

    4. Dig

      Filters only work to a specified limit. Normally this would be the adjacent channel limit and may be specified as a number of dB at a certain frequency from the wanted frequency this may be 40db at 1mhz for instance rising to 50db at 10mhz. If an interferer is therefore 40db above the wanted signal you will have a problem. Better filters are bigger and more expensive. On top of this 4G puts out a lot of power and spreads out into adjacent channels that were once used for TV and other bands as well and this can't be filtered out so easily.

  7. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Fiddling the results?

    "if you’ve not been contacted directly through the post, or you watch cable or satellite TV, any interference to your Freeview service is unlikely to be due to the 4G test"

    It's hard to tell what they are playing at here. The first part suggests it's not a full nor fair test trial, and if you have problems then tough, and the second is just nonsense.

    I recall there was some mention that if 4G screwed Freeview but there were other means of watching then they did not particularly care and were not obliged to resolve the issue so it could be they are only counting those with problems they have to solve and ignoring the rest who also have problems who find it their own problem to solve.

    Could this by why the last test reported so few problems, far less than predicted?

    1. Andy Nugent

      Re: Fiddling the results?

      I think they're probably concerned about people on the other side of London calling the helpline as they're having trouble with their FreeView.

  8. Ellis Birt 1

    Time to become an aerial installer! When LTE goes live and complaints pour in, it will be down to the householder to demonstrate that their external antenna, any amplifiers and receiver are in good condition. Only then will there be any investigation. It's the same process regardless of whether it is a telco, the radio ham with massive antennas on the roof down the road or a CBer with a linear amplifier and antenna in the loft.

  9. Sarah Davis

    Great idea !!

    so can they now offer a service where you are guaranteed not to get ANY (non) reality tv ? That would make it almost worth while to own a tv

  10. Captain Hogwash

    Re: "...taking EastEnders off the air"

    Now that's what I call public service broadcasting.

    1. a cynic writes...

      Re: "...taking EastEnders off the air"

      Be careful what you wish for.

      It would leave SWMBO with a lot of free time to discus relationships (..shudder...).

      1. Captain Hogwash

        Re: SWMBO

        I'm the only one WMBO in my house.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Best thing I did was to get rid of the telly.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      I love how every story about TV attracts a handful of "I never had a TV"/"I got rid of my TV in 1934 and never looked back" replies. It's almost like having no TV leaves a massive amount of empty time in your life which you try to fill posting about how great your life is with no TV on the internet at every opportunity.

      1. David Beck
        Thumb Up

        1000's unable to locate "off" button

        I enjoy these responses as well. It does show a sort of underlying addictive personality, incapable of managing a potentially addictive situation. Other examples, "never had a joint as I would become an addict", "I'd love a pint of real ale but i don't want to become an alcoholic", ...

        Perhaps the education system needs to include some sort of assertiveness training, teach that "choice" is not a bad thing and can be managed. Otherwise you have the situation that everything not prohibited is compulsory, and that we know is a joke, racial stereotype joke, but a joke.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yeah interact with the world rather than just be in mindless consume mode, then go and post replies on web forums rejoicing in free will and getting those who obviously are a bit touchy to bark at them.

        I bet they are probably skinny too from all that stuff they can do rather than being sat in front of the TV for any part of the day.

        Anyway glad you were able to get your point across in the same way, oh wait what was your point?

        That's the trouble with going away from the TV, you're expected to create your own content.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I hope that the exciting email offers that are even now winging their way to you aren't too NSFW..

    2. Anonymous Coward


      What the hells the point of a TV in a car? You can't watch it on the move and why the hell would you sit in a parked car and watch it? Don't you have a home TV?

      1. Chris Parsons



        If I could vote you up ten times, I would.

    3. Jan 0 Silver badge


      I'm amazed to see that people are asking £300ish for new 12v DVB-T tuners on eBay, let alone £400ish secondhand! What do they do that one for under £50 doesn't?

  13. David Pollard

    White Dot

    White Dot, who organise TV Turnoff Week and other events to help viewers kick the habit, is still going strong.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I get this letter through I will stop paying my TV Licence

    if I get this letter I don't see why I should be forced to continue to pay a TV license - I only just bought my new Freeview TV - so if they pull the signal out from under me they can sod off if they think I will continue to pay for a signal I cannot receive properly. They can see me at the EU Court of human rights if they disagree.

    I will just connect a PC to my TV and just live with my purchases off iTunes, LoveFilm etc and sites like YouTube.

    For me they cannot tinker with public service broadcasting if they ex[ect to tax/license it. And 4g obviously means more to them than the revenue from TV licenses.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: If I get this letter through I will stop paying my TV Licence

      You only need a licence for live TV. So what you suggest would mean no licence needed... until you start watching the live streams on or wherever.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: If I get this letter through I will stop paying my TV Licence

        "You only need a licence for live TV. So what you suggest would mean no licence needed... until you start watching the live streams on or wherever."

        For the moment. They're already looking to close this little loophole.

  15. Mage Silver badge

    Actually Cable is affected.

    The Transmitter in the 4G Phone/Mobile can block reception on cable by leaking INTO the cable in the house. This can affect Broadband, TV , VOD etc cable services, which will continue to use 790MHz to 862MHz,

    Cable companies already did testing and complained.

    The 800MHz 4G will not be better than 2.1GHz 3G / HSPA+ when there are an economic number of customers, not enough bandwidth.

    Meanwhile Terrestrial TV is crippled on expansion of services and new services such as 3D or higher quality HD. It's handing customers to Pay TV, especially Murdoch & UPC.

  16. bigdish

    Storm in a teacup?

    The EU published a roundup of interference reports and LTE test results last year taken from deployments in Germany, Sweden and the USA (who are all a bit further down the line with LTE deployment than we are in the UK) and this apparently indicated a very low level of interference and very few substantiated complaints.. (PDF, short and quite readable)

    ... The real problems will start when people start putting their LTE femtocell boxes next to their TVs!

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