Freeview complaints rise after retune

Wednesday, October 7 2009, 13:14 BST

By Andrew Laughlin,

Freeview has received 3,000 complaints from users who have lost access to channels or experienced equipment failure following the national platform upgrade.

Last week, around 18 million homes receiving digital terrestrial television - including anyone subscribed to Top Up TV or BT Vision - had to retune an estimated 25m integrated TVs and set top boxes to continue receiving the service.

The retune was down to a national upgrade of the DTT platform to make Five more widely available and to prepare for the launch of Freeview HD.

Despite the wider availability of Five, around 460,000 homes lost ITV3 and ITV4 after retuning, with around 700 people contacting Freeview to complain about the absent channels.

However, other complainants have reported the loss of BBC One and other channels following the upgrade, including various posters on Digital Spy's Freeview forum.

Forum member StuartB4 wrote yesterday: "In the past week I have had five people ring me with the same problem. They all have channels missing since retuning their Freeview boxes.

"I have the same problem, BBC One is missing on mine, comes back with a retune, switch the box off and back on and it's gone again. I have to retune every day just to get BBC One.

"People that rang me lost various channels including Five, ITV1, Channel 4, BBC One and BBC Two. These were all different makes of Freeview boxes but all have the same basic problem."

In response, a Freeview spokeswoman confirmed that the TV Retune helpline has received numerous complaints, but also stressed that most people were simply asking for retuning advice on how to get the channels back.

"Since the upgrade to the Freeview service on Wednesday September 30, 2009, around 3,000 calls have been received by agents at the TV retune helpline regarding expected product-related issues, which can result in the apparent loss of channels or equipment failure," she told The Daily Telegraph.

"A further 700 viewers have inquired about the loss of ITV3 and ITV4 channels in their area. The vast majority of calls, however, have been simple requests for retuning advice which has been provided. The website has also continued to provide retuning advice to viewers. Since 30 September, more than 250,000 retuning guides have been downloaded."