North West gets ready for the big Freeview change

An image of North West Tonight presenters Roger Johnson and  Annabel Tiffin - if they provide your regional news, you need to retune.


Viewers in parts of North West England will be able to test to see if their TV aerial is ready for April's big Freeview change.

As a result of a Government scheme to clear frequencies for 5G mobile services, Freeview channels are being moved to new frequencies across the North West TV region this April.

However, some older TV aerials may not be able to receive TV services on the new, lower frequencies. So the BBC is preparing the simulcast its main channels from the main Winter Hill transmitter so that viewers have two months to prepare.

The region covers Cheshire, Lancashire, Manchester, parts of Merseyside and North West Derbyshire. Some signals reach the North Wales coast and will ultimately affect all viewers who receive regional news from BBC One North West Tonight (pictured above) and ITV Granada Reports on Freeview channels 1 and 3.

When you're affected depends on whether you can only receive a small range of Freeview channels or not:

For viewers who can't receive channels such as Sky News on Freeview - you are on a relay transmitter where a spell of downtime will take place on Wednesday 19th February. A retune is not needed until 22nd April 2020.

For viewers who do receive a wider range of Freeview channels, look for on-screen messaging about retuning from Thursday 20th February to see if you're affected by the change at the Winter Hill transmitter. Viewers are invited to retune after 10am.

Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media viewers are unaffected. BT and TalkTalk TV viewers are however affected and need to follow the advice given to Freeview users.

What viewers need to be aware of

Viewers using the Winter Hill transmitter who retune from Thursday should get BBC One North West on both channel 1 and 751: this means the aerial is ready for the main retune event on 22nd April.

Anyone retuning who can only see the BBC from channel 751 upwards and not on the usual channel numbers needs to take action or risk losing channels in April. Call the Freeview advice line (listed below).

And anyone retuning who still sees BBC One North West on channel 1, but nothing on channel 751, should check in the 800 channel range. If BBC One North West is duplicated in the 800s instead of 751, you may need to seek help on retuning your box or TV correctly.

For the purposes of this retune, viewers will need to do a full retune. On older receivers, options such as "add channel" or "scan for  new services" should be avoided. A first time installation or factory reset may be needed on some older devices where there is no option to do a full retune.

For viewers needing to do a manual retune, the new BBC UHF channel from Winter Hill is 32.

BBC Four HD, CBeebies HD, Quest HD, FreeSports

Viewers in the North West who can receive these channels on Freeview will also need to retune on 20th February to restore these channels. For those manually tuning, these move to UHF 56.

Help and Assistance 

Anyone encountering difficulties is being invited to contact the Freeview advice line on 0808 100 0288 for free support. Alternatively, go to www.freeview.co.uk/tvchanges