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Friday, April 4, 2014

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Digital TV Revolution : Problems, Issues, Solutions and Rectifications

Its old advice but it still seems to work even with the surplus of gadgets that we live with today. While my grandfather’s version (hitting the offending electrical item with a big stick) may not be suitable for some of our more delicate gadgets today, the old ‘turn it off and switch it back on’ trick can still work with most devices. The Digital TV revolution that has swept the UK in the last couple of years has left us with more channels and more choice than before; and it’s also left us with more recepti on problems. The main problem is often the ‘kit’ itself; the more complicated electrical devices become, the more there is to go wrong on them and sadly, the big stick approach no longer seems to be the main cover-all solution. Digital TV reception problems are caused by a number of different issues and many of them start at home. Here are a few solutions to try.

Rewiring, Retuning and Overcoming Obstacles

Yes, turn it off, turn it back on again comes top of the list. If you have a set top box switch this off at the mains, if you have an integrated set do the same. Usually ten to fifteen seconds will be long enough and then you can switch back on again. In many cases this will mysteriously resolve the issue.
If it doesn’t try plan B; switch everything off again and then checking and re -checking all the cables connecting boxes, sets and power/aerial points. These have a habit of working themselves loose over time (during enthusiastic dusting sessions for example). Plug and unplug wires and ensure that all connections are firmly attached. If there are any wires that look corroded, worn or damaged these should be replaced with new cabling.
Next u p is the atmosphere; extreme conditions, heavy winds, snow, rain (of which we’ve seen rather a lot recently) can all affect reception. This issue resolves itself when conditions return to normal. Extremely fine, clear weather can also be a problem as atmospheric pressure can affect signals temporarily. If there has been some recent severe weather and the problem doesn’t clear up with the weather itself check the obvious; is your digital TV aerial still pointing in the right direction (or is it actually still there). A local engineer should be able to help if a new TV aerial installation is required or if some re-positioning is necessary.
For those with a communal aerial (usually found in apartments and flats) some simple checks may help to find the problem. A power failure to the main aerial may be the cause of interrupted viewing (lights in communal areas that are also not working may be a clue). Also check with neighbours to see if they are having similar problems. If the symptoms seem to be common contact your building manager to get a check on the aerial completed.
A number of obstacles can block signals from Digital TV transmitters. These include hills, walls and trees. While the former is unlikely to grow suddenly (there have been exceptions) walls (or new buildings) and trees can begin to cause problems unexpectedly. If you’re signal deteriorates in spring it’s possible that newly grown foliage is blocking the signal more than usual. An engineer may be able to help move the aerial for a better signal, or add a booster. New buildings may also interfere and, again, in this case an engineer should be called to check your aerial installation

Planned Interruptions and Outside Influences

On occasion, engineering works on transmitters can reduce the number of channels or completely disrupt your reception. In addition, digital channel information also changes more frequently than old fashioned analogue and you may simply need to retune your set. Check the manufacturer’s instructions which should detail the process (a copy can be found online if you’ve misplaced the original). The retune process is recommended once every three to six months to ensure you are receiving the full set of channels available in your area. If you’ve tried all of these ways to improve your signal and you’re still finding it hard to get all but the weakest of signals, check with neighbours to see if the problems are shared. If this is the case contact the BBC to report the problem. The BBC is responsible for terrestrial TV transmission (it’s one of the reasons we pay for our licence) and should investigate the issue for you. For cable or satellite services, you will have to contact your provider to report any issues.
Author Byline
While digital TV offers more choice to viewers it also seems to offer more reception problems. Here TV fan Jack Shepherd looks at how to deal with them.


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