Change to TV signal catches viewers out

23:31, Sep 25 2012
tdn tv stand
Mason Appliances Ltd sales representative Kevin Longstaff said they had no warning of a change in TV frequencies operated by MediaWorks.

TV servicemen have been flat out re-tuning sets in Taranaki after a communications breakdown left many viewers unable to see the big picture.

But it was not the much-publicised switch to digital TV behind the problem. Rather, it was an apparently under-publicised frequency switch by broadcaster Mediaworks.

From September 20, Mediaworks changed the way it broadcast TV3, Four, and C4.

Some viewers were required to re-tune their sets for a clear picture but some TVs tuned in automatically.

New Plymouth's Mason Appliances Ltd sales representative Kevin Longstaff said it had been given no warning about the frequency changes.

Dozens of customers were calling up thinking they had lost reception because there was something wrong with the TV, he said.


The problem only occurred on TVs with MyFreeview connections, he said.

Analogue TVs were not affected.

There was no single solution to the problem because many TV brands were tuned in different ways.

"Each TV is different, which is where it becomes tricky," Mr Longstaff said.

Mason Appliances had a technician out in the field re-tuning about 15 to 20 TVs each day, he said.

Mediaworks had a media statement on their website dated September 21 but Mason Appliances had not been notified, he said. "A bit of pre-warning would have been good I guess."

The statement said most TVs or digital receivers would automatically update when the change occurred but if reception was affected, viewers would need to re-tune the TV or digital receiver. "We recommend you visit the re-tune website, your product user manual or contact the manufacturer of your product for instructions."

From now, C4 would only be available on the FreeviewHD and Sky platforms for a period of time.

The switch to digital TV starts in Hawke's Bay and the West Coast of the South Island on September 30. Taranaki will switch in September next year.

Taranaki Daily News