Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Free to view, pain to get

A couple of days back I decided to see if I was capable of getting Freeview, so I could watch 30 TV channels in high quality reception rather than 5 in mediocre-to-poor quality. Tesco are now selling Daewoo boxes for a mere £80 which don’t rely on having a SCART socket on your TV, so I figured it was worth a try. And did it work?
Of course it didn’t. Bradford has atrociously bad TV reception, which means analogue TV doesn’t come out very well but digital cannot work at all – the digital signal is compressed so it needs a full stream to be able to decompress it, therefore partial reception is not good enough. As it is, I bought it from Tesco, who took the box back with no questions asked and gave me a full refund, so I’ve not lost anything financially.
With hindsight, I’d have checked the Freeview website which has a reception checker that works by postcode – and my postcode naturally says that I’m not in a Freeview area. Oh well, I tried. If it helps my postcode for last year also turned up blank.
Interestingly it also doesn’t like my grandparents’ postcode, which is a pity because they’re the sort of people who might be interested in Freeview (as opposed to Sky which is the only other option for digital TV in their area, and that requires a contract). That said, their Channel 5 reception isn’t good anyway so it’s probably related to a problem with the local transmitters.

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