Free support on offer to fix Freeview TV interference in Hatfield
PUBLISHED: 09:47 06 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:49 06 October 2016
New fourth generation mobile services, known as 4G, are being switched on in Hatfield - and could cause interference for Freeview TV viewers.
As the 4G masts at undisclosed locations in the town go live, TV viewers who use Freeview services may suffer from interference.
4G gives people faster access to the internet on smartphones and tablets.
However, there is a small chance that some 4G mobile signals transmitted at 800MHz will cause interference to Freeview TV, which is received via an aerial.
A spokeswoman said: “In terms of how many people will be affected, this number differs from town to town.
About at800, 4G and Freeview
• at800 is the consumer brand of Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL).
Formed under Government direction, it is the company responsible for ensuring that households reliant on Freeview for TV can continue to receive it, or are offered a suitable alternative, when 4G at 800 MHz is activated in their area.
It is funded by the UK mobile operators licensed to use the 800 MHz spectrum for mobile services – EE, Telefónica UK (O2), Three and Vodafone.
• 4G enables mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablet PCs to access the internet at super-fast speeds.
• Both 4G mobile services and digital TV use parts of the radio spectrum – that is bands of frequencies. The 800 MHz frequencies used by some 4G services are next to the frequencies used for Freeview.
There is a very small chance that 4G signals can cause interference to TVs and set-top boxes that receive Freeview.
Typical issues include loss of sound, pixelated/blocky images or loss of some or all Freeview channels.
Satellite and cable TV services will not be affected by 4G at 800 MHz.
“While only a minority may be affected, we think it’s important to raise awareness of the issue.”
Because 4G at 800MHz signals sit next to the frequencies used by Freeview, they can overload the receivers in televisions and set-top boxes, causing interference.
Signs of interference include the loss of channels or sound, pictures going blocky, freezing or the TV screen going blank or showing a ‘No Signal’ message.
However, help is available. Set-up under Government direction, a company called at800 offers free support to households that rely on Freeview for their TV.
Ben Roome, chief executive of at800, said: “We want to ensure that people know it’s our role to fix Freeview interference caused by 4G at 800 MHz, and that there’s no charge for our service.
“If you rely on Freeview for TV, we can arrange for one of our accredited engineers to visit homes to fix Freeview interference caused by 4G signals, free of charge.
“If you use Freeview alongside other TV services, we can send free filters which block mobile signals that are easy to fit to the aerial lead connecting to TVs and set-top boxes.”
Cable and satellite TV, like Sky or Virgin, won’t be affected.
However, if viewers have cable and satellite TV and also watch Freeview, at800 can provide free filters and advice, but not in-home engineer support.
People who live in communal properties should contact at800, and also advise their landlords. Company at800 can provide free filters to landlords but property managers are responsible for the cost of fitting these.
at800 also offers extra support for people who are 75 years of age or older, are registered blind or partially sighted, or receive any of the following benefits personal independence payments (PIPs): attendance allowance, constant attendance allowance or War Pensioner’s Mobility Support.
With more 4G masts due to go live, viewers who experience new interference to Freeview should contact at800 on 0808 13 13 800, free from landlines and mobiles, or visit www.at800.tv/contact-us
• For more information, visit www.at800.tv