Freeview suffering signal problems

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 05:00 08/07/2014
timaru freeview christine graham
JOHN BISSET/Fairfax NZ

BLURRED LINES: South End resident Christine Graham has had trouble with her Freeview signal because of problems with the digital cables between Auckland and Timaru.

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A fault in the digital transmission cables between Auckland and Timaru could be the cause of some television viewers' woes.

South End resident Christine Graham noticed issues with her Freeview television picture about a month ago. Although she tried to ignore it, the pixellation was there most nights.

"It's just hideous. I tried changing channels but it's on all channels. I can't even watch it, just have to read a book."

She checked it out with her friends, who live in different areas. Only viewers without Sky TV had the issue.

A Freeview spokesman said late last week the company had received a handful of reports of reception issues from Timaru.

Most reception issues were caused by problems with in-home antenna installation or equipment set-up, which were resolved with technical assistance, he said.

However, when a number of reports came through at the same time from the same location, it was more likely to be related to the signal than individual set-ups.

"When some technicians stated that they suspected those may be transmission-related, we immediately passed on their comments to the [digital terrestrial television] transmission provider for Timaru [Johnston, Dick & Associates Ltd], JDA, so they could be investigated and be resolved if the cause was transmission-related."

Freeview does not control or manage transmission. Broadcasters liaise directly with transmission providers to transmit their programmes. JDA engineer Warren Harding said the company did not know the specific cause but believed it was something to do with the optical fibre cable link between the Skytower in Auckland and Timaru.

There was a dedicated bandwidth and capacity on the fibre, but it appeared other internet traffic had encroached.

Harding could not say when the issue arose. However, the company had now switched to backup links, for all channels apart from the shopping network and Al Jazeera, which should address the transmission issues.

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- The Timaru Herald

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