Up to two more Freeview retunes in North West England

Freeview viewers in the North West will need to retune up to two more times in 2020 as TV frequencies are cleared for more 5G mobile services.

It's part of a government scheme to free up the airwaves for mobile networks by moving TV services to a small band of frequencies. The spare airwaves will be auctioned by Ofcom in the spring.

For some viewers, a new aerial able optimised to receive TV signals on lower frequencies may be required.

On 20th February 2020, a change at the region's main Winter Hill transmitter, will mean that viewers will be invited to retune Freeview in order to continue receivthe main BBC channels, which move to a new frequency. If at this point, a household is unable to receive the main BBC channels on the new frequency, they will be required to contact Freeview for support.

Viewers who rely on Freeview and don't have Sky, Freesat or Virgin Media, and who can't restore the BBC channels may be eligible for additional support and an aerial replacement. Further information will be available closer to the time, with on-screen messaging informing viewers of the change. Freeview will also provide support via its website and advice line.

The main event takes place on 22nd April 2020, when a wider change will take place, affecting more channels and viewers across the North West, with changes taking place at Winter Hill, Lancaster, Saddleworth and Storeton transmitters and some relays, as well as a change at the Moel-Y-Parc transmitter in North East Wales that can be received by some households in the region.

Shortly after midnight, viewers in the North West will lose Freeview channels as engineering work takes place. Then after 6am viewers will be invited to retune to restore channels.

On this date, the extra bundle of channels available in the Greater Manchester area, currently including Clubland TV on channel 82, will move to a new frequency that should offer improved reception.

The retunes follow a change last month in the region, when a number of local TV channels changed frequencies, alongside a small number of commercial channels, including Sony Channel. A small number of viewers have reported that since the change, they are now able to receive multiple local TV channels on Freeview.

Most newer TVs can automatically retune when there's a channel number change, a new channel addition or the removal of a channel, but when frequencies change, further action is required. Some viewers in the North West may lose channels if their aerial is of the old type that was only designed to receive TV services on higher frequencies previously used by the Winter Hill transmitter.

All TV frequencies are due to be cleared for 5G services by mid-2020 and follows a multi-year scheme to upgrade the UK's transmitter network to facilitate the changes.