Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 11:35 UK

Q&A: Retuning Freeview

By Torin Douglas
Media correspondent, BBC News

Freeview's homepage
Freeview's website has been providing details of the changes

On 30 September, Freeview is making a number of changes which means users of the service will have to retune their set-top boxes.

We look at what is going to happen and which services are going to be affected by the update.

What's happening and when?

On Wednesday morning, 30 September, the Freeview service is being updated. Some TV and radio channels will move position. If people don't retune their equipment they will no longer receive them. The move involves around 25 million Freeview TV sets, set-top boxes and digital recorders, including TopUp TV and BT Vision boxes. It doesn't affect satellite or cable systems such as Sky or Freesat or cable.

Why is the change needed?

To make channel Five available in half a million more homes and to prepare for high-definition broadcasts.

How do I retune my set-top box or TV?

  • Switch on your Freeview box
  • Press the menu button
  • Select "set up" or "installation"
  • You may be asked if you want to delete all your channels. Select "yes". They will be restored later.
  • Some boxes may ask for a security code. If you do not know yours, the factory setting is often 0000 or 1234.
  • The update should proceed automatically
  • When complete, your box will shut down and restart
  • After re-tuning, you may need to reprogramme your favourites list
  • Owners of a Freeview recorder should re-set future recordings
  • These instructions may not work on all equipment. For complete instructions, refer to the manufacturers' manual.

    The exact method of retuning will differ depending on your make and model of Freeview TV set, set-top box, digital recorder or PC viewing card.

    However, in most cases, you should find the option to retune after pressing the Menu button and following the on-screen display. It is important to perform a full update - which deletes the existing channel line up and starts from scratch - rather than an automatic scan, which simply looks for new channels.

    Your instruction manual should provide more information. If you have misplaced it, check for instructions on (NB the site is currently experiencing difficulties due to a high volume of traffic). You could also contact the manufacturer or your local electrical retailer for help.

    What happens if I don't retune?

    On the affected channels, you'll see a message telling you the channel has moved and asking you to retune. Anyone who needs help can find it at or via a telephone helpline - 08456 05 11 22.

    Which channels are mainly affected?

    Most computers should open this document automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader

    Five will stay on the same channel but will become available to more viewers. Some households - about 3% of Freeview users - will lose access to ITV3 and ITV4. There will also be a new TV channel called Quest.

    Some BBC radio stations will be affected in areas that have already gone through digital switchover. Listeners in the Border TV region, the West country and some parts of Wales will lose these stations unless they retune.

    Will some channels disappear altogether?

    Around 460,000 homes - which get their TV signals through relay transmitters - will no longer receive ITV3 or ITV4. That means they will lose some European football matches and classic TV dramas such as Cracker and Poirot.

    The Community Channel will no longer be available on Freeview in areas that have gone through switchover.

    Can all Freeview equipment be retuned?

    Around 22,000 older set-top boxes may no longer work.

    Print Sponsor

    Channels to launch Freeview HD TV
    17 Oct 08 |  Entertainment
    Sky channels to stay on Freeview
    12 Sep 08 |  Entertainment
    Changes to Freeview stop TV boxes
    05 Aug 08 |  England

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Has China's housing bubble burst?
    How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
    Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

    BBC iD

    Sign in

    BBC navigation

    Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

    This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

    Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific