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The Bbc Are Going To Be Omitting Standard Definition Channels

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renegadefm | 20:05 Sun 17th Dec 2023 | Technology
13 Answers

The BBC are going to be omitting all standard definition channels as early as January 2024.

Not a lot of people actually realises this as it hasent been widely announced, but non the less this will leave countless viewers with no BBC channels if their television isn't able to recieve HD channels. 

Now here is my question:

My parents bought a Panasonic Viera TV about 15 years ago brand new, I think it was the first range that had a flat plasma screen with freeview built in. It was bought at the time because their old tv was analog and couldn't recieve digital channels.

But I tried tuning in HD channels on it after doing a completely fresh channel scan, and it only found SD channels. 

HD BBC channels should start on channel number 101 for BBC 1, 102 for BBC 2, which is all the channels they watch mainly anyway, so I am worried that after just 15 years, its a case of hear we go again, they will have to throw away a television that still works, just like the anologe to digital change, it looks like they got to do this all over again.

Or have they? Is there something that can be done to save this tv, like a firmware upgrade or something?

I could attach an HD freeview box, but parents are old and would find that too confusing to operate, they just want a tv you just turn on and press a channel number and adjust the volume and that's it, so having a freeview box attached would mean going to the source button on the tv as well as operating the freeview box, they would never get their head around it. 

So basically can a Panasonic Viera recieve HD channels, its signal strength was 10 which is the best you can get so its not a signal issue. 

Any help will be very much appreciated. 



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It's only on satellite for now ... see
20:17 Sun 17th Dec 2023

It's only on satellite for now ... see

Question Author

Ok thank you for your help. 

This will be a relief for them. 

If you get an HD Freeview box and connect it to the TV via an HDMI socket you SHOULD be able to set the system up for them such that, when swtiched on, the TV is pointing at the new box, not its own tuner. Some boxes can also be set up so that their remote can control the TV as well, in which case only the new remote will be needed to turn the TV on, select channels and adjust volume etc. As a further point you MIGHT need a new aerial to be able to tune in to the HD channels; try it with the current aerial first as it depends on your location, signal strength etc.

What's the model number?

ITV is also switching off SD on Freesat

>>> "So basically can a Panasonic Viera recieve HD channels"

Probably not (based upon the fact that they're not showing up when you try to tune them in).

There are two types of HD TV sets.  Some have an HD tuner built into them, meaning that they can decode the signals that they receive through their aerials.  Many though (particularly earlier models, although some are still in production) are only 'HD ready'.  That means that they're capable of displaying an HD signal from an external device (such as a Sky Q box) but, as they only have an SD tuner in them, they can't receive HD channels over the air.

There are many different models wthin the Panasonic Viera range but I strongly suspect that your parents' one is only 'HD ready'.

It's also worth remembering that many broadcasters (including the BBC) are comitted to eventually closing down all terrrestrial TV transmitters (possibly, in the BBC's case, as early as 2030) and probably discontinuing the use of satellite TV as well.  When that happens, the only way to access TV services will be over the internet.

Question Author

Thanks for all your help guys, you have been a lot of help. 

It seems a shame technology seems to progress quicker than most people can catch up with it, and it's so wasteful, for example we are constantly forced to buy new products or they are rendered useless. 

My parents for example are never going to have the internet, so streaming tv is never going to happen. 

In fact I am only 54, but I mainly watch normal live tv, not streaming, apart from using youtube occasionally, I mainly watch normal tv. 

I'm a total duffer on this subject and the two TV's we have are at least 10 years old, we can however tune in the HD channels so no immediate problem. Seeing the reference (Buenchico) to all services eventually being internet only, if we decided to update our TV's anytime soon, would todays 'smart TV's' be ok for when everthing becomes internet only?  Thanks in advance for any replies.

>>> "would todays 'smart TV's' be ok for when everthing becomes internet only?"

Hopefully so!  For example, all modern smart TVs have BBC iPlayer built into them.  So all live BBC channels are already available over the internet.

However streaming services occasionally update their apps in ways that not all older TVs can handle.  That results in the owners of those sets losing access to such services.  So it's possible that people with older smart sets might lose access to some streamed services at a later date.  

In some ways it's actually better to have a non-smart TV that's been upgraded to a smart one by adding on an external device (such as an Amazon Fire TV Stick or a Roku device).  That's because the manufacturers of those devices need to make sure that all of their apps remain fully functional.

Thanks Buenchico but things like "Amazon Fire TV Stick or a Roku device" are double dutch to me. Our main TV is wall mounted with cables coming down to it through a conduit hidden in the wall, I can't see how I could connect one of those devices, and how or where I could position it. I'll make the old TV's last a bit longer, but thanks again.

If any changes happen in the future which take away access to channels on your parents TV, rather than buy a whole new set, you can just buy a Freeview HD set top box instead, which will plug into the back of the old TV and should receive all the channels. I don't know what kind of price they are these days but if you want there are likely older ones still working fine in ebay for sale for much cheaper. In terms of playing TV channels there shouldn't really be any noticeable difference from when the box was new, even if it isn't cosmetically perfect as it box. Just make sure you find one which still has the remote control and check the particular box has the right output connections for your older TV. (For example if the older TV is before the HDMI ports were included, check if the TV has composite video input sockets or one of the older connection types such as SCART and check that the Freeview HD box has the same.)


I just replied about getting a stand alone little Freeview HD box in case anything happens to any of the channels in future.

Just to add - you say that Roku, Fire stick etc are double dutch to you but a Freeview HD box probably should not be like that. This kind of thing is probably something you've done before and if not it is easy to grasp.

It works very simply.


- You don't plug the aerial input into your old TV. Take the aerial out of the TV.

- Instead the aerial goes into the same sized little hole in the Freeview HD box. You might have used old VHS video recorders in the past. They worked exactly the same way. You take the aerial which would normally go into the TV and you plug the aerial into the aerial socket in the Freeview HD box instead.

- Plug the Freeview box into a wall power socket and make sure the box is switched on. There's probably a little switch on the box itself and then you might need also to push on in the remote control. If you see a red light anyway it's probably not on but in standby. Get rid of any red light.

- Connect the Freeview box to the TV by whatever cables agree, whichever are available on both TV the Freeview box - for example SCART, composite (a few different coloured cables which look like phono record player speaker plugs at the end), coaxial / S-video or whatever there is on both TV and Freeview box. You might have to buy a new cable to go between TV and the Freeview box if you don't have an old one. This is the same way that the old VHS video players worked.

- Essentially the aerial signal goes into & through the Freeview box and then the box sends the TV channels to the TV.

- Now you have to find where the Freeview video signal is on your TV (tuning) just like what happened with the old VHS machines.

- Choose one channel on your TV, for example channel number 1 or 10 or 50.

- Then manual tune that channel, running from right to left through the frequencies until the tuning brings you to the Freeview box frequency.

(- I don't know if this would work but it might be possible to run the full TV auto-tune function instead of manual tuning and the TV would then find the Freeview box frequency automatically and assign it to to a channel - but then you would have to find out which channel after tuning is finished.)

- If you're doing the manual tuning on a single TV channel number, as with a VHS machine it's difficult to know when you alight on a tuned channel if that one is the Freeview channel or not. Therefore when you're doing this keep the Freeview box switched on. Every time you come across a tuned channel on the TV, switch channels around on the Freeview box remote control. Obviously if you see channels switching on your TV at the same time then you had correctly tuned to the Freeview box frequency. It may take 5 or 10 minutes or so.

- Remember and keep this channel number on your TV because it will be all you will need to use in future. All available channels will be there. You just need to use the Freeview box remote control to switch channels around from then on, staying on the one channel on your TV.


This is all old stuff - reminds me of the early 1980s - so I hope it won't be unfamiliar or at least not too tricky for you.



Hi again. I just read the discussion about all TV channels in the future possibly switching to Internet channels only.

Basically this is not going to happen.

There are still millions and millions of households in the UK which don't have a good enough Internet connection to stream TV reliably all the time (or at all). Actually I don't think even that situation is likely to change for a decade or two either, but even then, even if every home had fast Internet I can't see the over air TV stopping.

For one thing it would increase energy use in every TV set watching by around a quarter to a half for every house to stream Internet TV always instead of just receiving over air TV. Although that might only be around an extra 20 to 60 watts or so per set, with every TV set in every house it would be quite a massive increase in energy demand and consumption, which would be similar to doubling or tripling the energy use from light bulbs in every home.

As it is, the government is trying to force everyone to switch from petrol cars to electric cars. If that continues towards 2030 and onwards the increased demands on the grid are going to be really vast. (It's kind of funny in a way - with so much talk about wind energy for so long and the triumph of averages of between 12% and upper 30s% of all electricity coming from wind, with the immense increased demands on electricity from the electric car switchover, that percentage figure is going to fall greatly. New wind facilities won't keep up with the car charging demand. So the signalling for cars is often about being green, but the whole grid will be running much more on fossil fuels by percentage, and indeed by actual tonnages of fossil fuels burned, than before - albeit mostly the greener fossil fuel of natural gas or liquid gas. That's less polluting than car petrol burned in the engine but not much actually and the carbon output is not too different either. It's mostly that city mayors will be able to talk about clean air while the asthma cases and cancers will instead concentrate around the countryside power stations.)

Sorry for the tangent.

Also if everyone had to watch Internet TV I'm pretty sure that the demand on the Internet cables would be too much - immense bandwidth. It would inevitably mean much much slower Internet services all over, and indeed that many more people wouldn't even have anymore fast enough connections for streaming TV. So I think it's also kind of physically impossible in the broadband infrastructure which exists currently, and which will probably remain the same in most areas of the country for a few decades.


In any case there is a lobby concerned with keeping over air TV. It's very timely right now to talk about a prospective of war and prepping for different kinds of situations, after a long period of laissez-faire since the end of the Cold War. Any country which removes over air infrastructures to be replaced by Internet streaming alone would be going in the absolute opposite direction of wise, cautious prepping. It would really be foolhardy.

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