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Final Countdown to Freeview National Retune 30 September 2009

Posted September 16, 2009 - Press Releases

16 September 2009

Campaign to remind viewers to retune gets underway.

A national upgrade of the Freeview service is just two weeks away and viewers are being reminded to retune their equipment from lunchtime on Wednesday, 30 September* so they can continue receiving all channels and services available to them, including Five.

Starting today, on-screen messages(1) will appear over the next three weeks on the BBC channels, ITV, Channel 4 and Five giving details of the retune date and where to go for further information.

The majority of people find retuning their Freeview equipment straightforward. If people should need further help they can visit an information website to download easy-to-follow retuning guides for the most popular Freeview equipment or call the automated TV Retune Helpline on 08456 05 11 22. Agents will be available to take calls from 8am until 10pm weekdays and 10am until 8pm at weekends. A video showing people how to retune is also available on

Technical changes, including preparations for the future availability of HD channels on Freeview, will take place during the morning of 30 September and are expected to be complete by lunchtime. All Freeview boxes, Freeview+ digital TV recorders and digital TVs can be retuned at any point after this. To avoid losing services viewers are advised to retune equipment as soon as practicable from lunchtime on Wednesday 30 September.

The following changes to Freeview channels and services will be made on the 30 September:

  • Coverage of Five will increase. More than 500,000 Freeview homes will be able to receive Five for the first time; and these improvements will ensure that Five will be available to all Freeview homes at the point of switchover; along with BBC One, BBC Two, ITV1, and Channel 4(2).
  • Some viewers will no longer be able to receive ITV3 and ITV4(3). As a result of moving position on the Freeview platform, a small percentage of homes will find they lose these services after retuning.
  • A new channel called ‘Quest’ will launch on channel 38 on Freeview. It will be available to the majority of Freeview homes(4).
  • Some BBC Radio stations will be affected in the 5% of UK homes that have already gone through digital switchover. Listeners in Border, West Country and parts of Wales will lose these services until they retune their Freeview equipment.
  • The Community Channel will no longer be available on Freeview in areas that have already gone through switchover.

It’s important that viewers don’t retune before lunchtime as they will find that even if the channel or service name appears in the on-screen TV guide, the channel itself will not be available or may have been moved to a temporary location.

After retuning, the viewer will find a small number of channels in a new position on their on-screen TV guide. The updated channel list, effective from 30 September 2009 is available at
Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview said: “These are significant and necessary changes which will immediately bring Freeview viewers new channels, introduce new homes to existing channels and prepare the platform for the future availability of Freeview HD.

“Freeview already offers quality channels including 13 of the 15 most watched channels and this retune will allow more viewers to benefit.”

* Viewers not able to retune on the 30 September can do so anytime afterwards

  1. The on-screen messages will start two weeks before the 30 September retune and continue for four days afterwards to remind people to retune if they haven’t already done so on the 30 September.
  2. Parliament has required that Five moves to a public service multiplex to provide universal coverage at switchover.
  3. Freeview homes receiving their service from a relay transmitter will no longer be able to receive ITV3 and ITV4.
  4. Freeview channel availability is subject to coverage and the broadcasters make the decision on which channels are available on the Freeview service. Freeview viewers can check their channel line up by using the Freeview coverage checker at

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