Freeview facing weekend blackout as weather system affects signal

Freeview viewers could miss their favourite programmes this weekend if record high air pressure affects TV and radio signals.

Alongside freezing temperatures as low as -6C (21F) during the weekend, forecasters predicted air pressure as high as 1050 millibars.

The all-time record, set in 1902, is 1053 millibars.

High air pressure can bend or reflect TV and radio waves, which interferes with the signals sent from transmitters to aerials, a spokesperson for Freeview said.

Freeview provides TV channels to around 40 million UK viewers.

“Your aerial is not able to pick up the same quality of signal that it normally would. As a result, some viewers may experience a pixelated picture, or in some cases a temporary loss of certain channels,” the spokesperson added in a statement.

Advising viewers not to re-tune their TV sets, the company said impact of high air pressure is hard to predict, “as it depends on the atmospheric conditions in each local area”.

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The statement went on: “We will be monitoring this weekend’s weather closely, and as soon as we know whether there is an impact to Freeview signals, we will update the service status on our website.”

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The signal should improve once the weather changes and viewers should still be able to watch shows and on-demand content on the likes of BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub or All 4.

The platform, whose free-to-air channels include those from the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV, was affected in December, when air pressure hit 1035 millibars.

Freeview is the United Kingdom’s digital terrestrial television platform, a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and transmitter operator Arqiva.

Source : Sky News