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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 16:49 UK
Some Freeview boxes stop working


Up to a quarter of million Freeview boxes are thought to have failed because of an upgrade to the digital system.

If you've got a set-top box made before May 2006 and it's either a Daewoo, Bush or Portland, you're likely to be staring at a blank screen.

Freeview says the only solution is to buy a new one.

Set-top boxes
Daewoo DS608P
Labgear DTT100
Portland DP100
Triax DVB 2000T

Rob Farmer, Freeview's marketing and communications director, said: "We appreciate the frustration of viewers. It's a minority who have been affected by these enhancements.

"DMOL, the company that runs the engineering behind Freeview, completed the technical changes for the UK last week and to date we've received a total of 1,200 calls."

"The boxes affected were manufactured four to five years ago and together with the manufacturers we're doing all we can to help viewers find the best value replacement."

It's all because of what's called "necessary network enhancements".

Combined set-top box and video recorder
Daewoo SV900
Bush IDVCR01
"Freeview says around 1% of boxes (230,000) sold since 2002 are affected.

The company says changes needed to be made to the network's transmitters so that set-top boxes could cope with an extra 18 TV and radio channels plus interactive data.

Freeview warned customers about the three-month upgrade work between the end of May and early August through local newspapers and radio.

Anne and her husband, from Wadebridge in Cornwall, lost their service.

She told Newsbeat: "We both work nights and we've come home at midnight to find we had no Freeview to watch at that time of night which we depend on quite often.

"The old one was about 40 three or four years ago.

"We were really quite annoyed. The first thing we knew about it was today."

Tzvi from Penrith was also confronted with a blank screen.

Freeview set-top box
The Labgear DTT100 is one of the set-top boxes affected
He said: "No-one said anything at all about changing the transmission or anything.

"So we thought that the box had suddenly stopped working.

"It wasn't until my wife was speaking to friends at work that two or three others had the same problem and someone said that they'd switched something over with the transmitter and certain boxes weren't going to work anymore.

"We had no forward warning of this at all."

An industry-standard digital tick logo came into effect in May 2006 to show consumers which equipment was designed to work through the digital switchover.

"It seems the majority of the older models were no longer being used or had been replaced," said Freeview's Rob Farmer.

"Having said that, we have done everything we can to help those people who have been affected."

Daewoo commercial manager Scott Purdom said the affected models were "very early products" made in 2002.

"We believe it's a tiny proportion," he said.

"Our call centre was busy but most customers seem to understand that changes are coming and that this technology is necessary."

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