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whiskeryron | 17:04 Sat 24th Nov 2012 | Technology
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All change for Freeview between 2014 and 2018

Now, we don't want to worry you, but there's a danger that there'll be some Freeview hassle to look forward to in 2018. Yes, this is a long way off, but we thought we'd give you as much advanced notice as possible...

Good News: Ofcom has announced that we're in for some more Freeview HD channels. As a result of the digital switchover, some precious space has been freed up. Some is to be used for the upcoming 4G networks, due in 2013, and some is awaiting a purpose. It looks like that space could well be used for up to 10 additional Freeview HD channels by 2014, if proposals go ahead..

Bad News: Ofcom has also announced that in 2018, some of the spectrum used for digital TV services, will be hived off for a new mobile data network. Now, we've only just got 4G, but plans are afoot for a 5G network, to meet the needs of an increasingly data-hungry UK. We've already warned Freeview viewers that we can expect over a million homes to see interference to Freeview services in 2013 as a result of the new 4G networks - but it looks like 2018 will be another bad year for Freeview viewers.

The proposals outlined by Ofcom call for the existing Freeview channels to move down the UHF band, to free up space in the 700MHz band. This means there will be less space available for Freeview. As we mentioned, this is to allow space for a new mobile data network, but it's also to bring the UK in line with other users of the UHF band around the world, bringing us into step with the rest of the world. What does this mean in practice? Potentially less Freeview channels in 2018. Either that, or a push to get the UK to shift to the newer and more efficient format DVB-T2. This format is already in use in the new Freeview HD boxes and TV sets, so should be fairly painless for those with HD kit, but it could mean that the older DVB-T boxes and TVs will become obsolete.

Hopefully, by 2018, many homes in the UK will have switched away from the older Freeview boxes to Freeview HD equipment - especially if another 10 HD channels appear. However, there will still be plenty of the older boxes and TV sets out there, and there's a danger that these will need to be binned in 2018 if the UK switches to the more efficient DVB-T2.

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Scaremongering. Bit like the Y2K bug which was going to bring down the worlds computer systems. I'm sure a solution will be found.
I'm not sure a solution will need to be found. all they are saying is that some already outdated electrical equipment might be obsolete in another 6 years time.... errr, well really? most electrical equipment becomes obsolete after that sort of time... Technology moves forwards, if it didn't we'd all still be living in caves.
How much capacity is really needed for Big Nige to watch Debbie Does Dallas on his iPhone?

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