Heat disrupts Freeview

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Hot weather is apparently to blame for video and audio glitches to digital television services experienced by Nelsonians.

Nelson TV and Video Services owner Darren Richards said he had been inundated with complaints from Freeview viewers using the UHF aerial service about intermittant reception.

He estimated he had had about 30 or 40 complaints, most concerning the picture freezing or breaking up, or problems with the sound.

Mr Richards said he understood the issue was not with the Freeview receivers, but was instead caused by hot weather distorting the signals travelling to the aerial.

"The picture would just stop like a DVD when you have a scratch, or the picture will go blank."

Most of the complaints had come at about 6pm last night, from people watching a variety of channels.

"It's not their system at home, other people have experienced it."

Warren Harding, the property manager for Freeview infrastructure provider Johnston Dick and Associates, said the interference was caused by atmospheric ducting, a phenomenon where alternating layers of warm and cool air created a conduit that refracted the microwave signal carrying the Freeview channels.

He would be recommending that his company switched from the terrestrial microwave signal to a back-up satellite signal, a standard-definition service that was not susceptible to atmospheric ducting.

His firm would also be upgrading the service over the next few months, he said.