Page last updated at 00:50 GMT, Wednesday, 30 September 2009 01:50 UK

18m Freeview homes in TV retune

Freeview's Ilse Howling on how to do it

More than 18 million households with Freeview will need to retune their set-top boxes and TVs later.

The service is being upgraded to give more homes channel Five, while those that did get Five will find themselves unable to watch it until they retune.

TV sets, set-top boxes and digital recorders will need retuning from lunchtime. It is thought about 20,000 older set-top boxes will cease to work.

About 460,000 households are expected to lose access to ITV3 and ITV4.

The technical changes behind the upgrade will eventually enable high-definition (HD) television to be broadcast on Freeview. HD is already available on the free-to-air satellite service Freesat.

"These are significant and necessary changes which will immediately bring Freeview viewers new channels, introduce new homes to existing channels and prepare the platform for the future availability of Freeview HD," said Ilse Howling, managing director of Freeview.

All Freeview TV sets, set-top boxes and digital recorders, including TopUp TV and BT Vision boxes, will need to be retuned from lunchtime on 30 September.

The upgrade will affect around 18 million homes, and it thought that about 25 million televisions and set-top boxes will need retuning.

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It is thought that about 20,000 older set-top boxes may no longer work at all.

The boxes which will no longer work are: the Daewoo models DS608P and SV900, Labgear DTT100, Triax DVB2000T and Bush IDVCR01.

To find out how to retune, consult your instruction manual or visit the TV Re-tune website for a comprehensive list of re-tune guides.

We are very annoyed because we have lost a lot of our favourite programs!

Maurice Short, Brighton

Ofcom claims that households with more than one television are increasingly converting their second sets to receive digital networks as well.

By June 2009, 24.3 million secondary televisions had been digitally enabled according to the watchdog's latest report.

There are currently around 60 million TV sets in the whole of the UK.

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