TV engineers kept busy with digital switchover calls

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TELEVISION engineers were kept busy as they took calls from people confused by yesterday’s digital switchover.

All old-style analogue TV channels in the Portsmouth region were switched off yesterday as part of the nationwide change to digital.

The change means people either need a new television with a digital tuner built-in, or a box to attach to their existing set.

People who already have digital TV need to retune it to make sure they get all the channels.

But some people – particularly the elderly – were left confused by the change and ended up reaching for the phone, rather than the remote.

Disabled Patricia Banks, 64, from Somers Town, called Mike Hemmings, general manager of ICTV Sales and Services in Fairway Business Centre, after noticing her TV was missing the ITV2 channel.

Mr Hemmings talked her through the retuning process free of charge.

She said: ‘I like to watch the soaps on ITV2 in the morning but I couldn’t.

‘I got in touch with ICTV Sales and Services and they talked me through it.’

Mr Hemmings added: ‘We have had a lot of calls, particularly from the elderly generation.

‘We can talk them through the process on a model specific basis.’

Ruth Lane, whose husband runs Keith Lane Satellite and TV Repairs in Court Lane, Portsmouth, said he was working from 6am yesterday helping people retune their televisions.

She said: ‘Keith’s been in the business for the last 35 years and has got a big client base, which is mainly elderly people

‘They put their trust in him. He has shown people how to do it but they still want him to retune it.’

Another retune will be required on April 18 for the final step of the switchover process.

The strength of reception for some channels will change as part of the process – and in cases of very poor reception households may need a new aerial.

A spokesman for Digital UK, which is handling the switchover, said: ‘Freeview users should wait and see how their reception is after the final step retune.

‘If there is an issue, talk to a local aerial installer who should help.’

· You can check signal strengths for your postcode area at digitaluk.co.uk

HOW TO RETUNE

· Make sure your Freeview TV or box is on and press ‘menu’.

· Select the ‘set up’ or ‘installation’ option. If you see picture icons, select the tool box, satellite dish or spanner.

· If you are prompted for a code, try 0000 or 1234.

· Select the full retune option. This is sometimes called ‘first time installation’, ‘factory reset’, ‘default settings’ or ‘shipping conditions’. Do not select ‘channel update’ or ‘add channels’.

· Press ‘OK’ if your equipment asks if you want to delete all your channels. The channels will automatically be installed.