Viewers face TV blackout

Thousands of households in Shropshire will have blank television screens while engineers upgrade a transmitter as part of digital switchover plans.

watching-tvThousands of households in Shropshire will have blank television screens while engineers upgrade a transmitter as part of digital switchover plans.

Engineers estimate as many as 13,000 analogue viewers served by The Wrekin transmitter could be without television for up to 36 hours when the upgrade starts tomorrow.

The transmitter, which serves Shropshire, south Cheshire, parts of Staffordshire and the West Mi- dlands, is being upgraded ahead of the switchover in the region in 2011.

Read the full story in today's Shropshire Star

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Comments for: "Viewers face TV blackout"

askeric dotcom


Switch everything off.. who cares??

I've worked in the Industry for 44+ years, and in fact worked on colour TV design for 10 years or so in the 70's and 80's.

This switch over from analogue to digital I fear won't be as good as we are being led to believe.

You don't get something for nothing.

Squeezing more into the same bandwidth using digital techniques will have some downside.

Analogue TV might be less efficient on Bandwith usage, but it's been around for at least 70+ years -(1936-2009) and has become highly developed.

Like the 100W incandescent light bulb - which shares an equally impressive life and development, I fear we will rue the day ...

And in any case, I suspect many people will just use their internet connection in future to watch TV.. so who might need a big aerial on the Wrekin anyhow??


Maybe people will find other things to do and not come back to TV..

The delivery method might improve 'askeric' but the same amount of creativity is now spread much thinner across so many channels.

The modern problem with media is that it's just too easy to deliver content and that old song "57 channels and nothing on" could not be more true now than ever before in the UK.



askeric dotcom

Devils Chair ..

You said:

The delivery method might improve ‘askeric’ but .."

Actually I don't believe the delivery method IS improving.

The techniques that digital TV uses, which were in their infancy when I worked at the BBC designs dept in 1970, might be VERY impressive, and under ideal conditions, DO give good results , but ....

You are quite rignt- all "digital" has done is provide more "effective space" to fill, and unlless there is a lot more quality programming ....

And how many of you have seen the digital TV picture "pixellating" under poorer signal conditions (Satellite TV in a thunderstorm is a good example)

In analogue days you might see a slightly "noisy" picture - but digital is either "there", or "not there"

Digital TV might be OK for those of you with good signal levels, but for others in outlying areas, in valleys, etc ... look out !!


Over here in the United States we changed over to digital about 2 months ago with no interuption to service.

I can't say I like the digital any better than the analogue it replaces. There's a lot more messing around with the converter box and various sizes of screen etc. Also signal strength is no better than the old in spite of buying a special digital arial


Does this mean that signal strength will improve? We are served by the Wrekin transmitter but signal strength is quite weak at present.


Dunner fret folks...think about it carefully, you're not really missing that much are you now? Think of the upside, chance for a new hobby, some jogging, extra conjugal frolics even {its a game of two halves}, or just spend more time with your pub.

Norman Pitkin

Oh No!!!!

Does this mean that Jeremy Kyle etc will be on reduced power, how are all the GRs going to manage? The only thing missing is..

Should the analogue signal be switched off whilst the digital transmitters are erected.

0898 1234567 to vote YES

0898 7654321 to vote NO

askeric dotcom

Hi Paul,

As far as I understand it, the transmitted power for digital signals will increase when analogue is switched off

(again - as I understand it - digital can't be transmitted at full power whilst analogue is still present to avoid intereference)

So - once analogue goes - the digital signal level should improve ... but of course the actual signal strength you receive depends upon the path between you and the wrekin. Put a few hills in the way, and also if you happen to be down in a valley, and then ?

for the wrok being done on the Wrekin:

The information on the BBC website reads:

Engineering work at the Wrekin transmitter

Thursday 3 September 2009:

To prepare for digital switchover, the main antenna at the Wrekin transmitter, which serves north Shropshire and south Cheshire, is being replaced.

The work means shutting down the antenna for the whole of Thursday 3 September and possibly - depending on the weather - part of the following day.

During this time a temporary antenna will provide TV and radio services to the main towns, but we regret that some analogue TV viewers will lose their service until the new antenna is switched on.

While the work is being done, the effects will be:

Analogue TV - no service in Market Drayton, parts of Whitchurch and the surrounding area to the north of the transmitter, and in villages along Wenlock Edge to the south

BBC DAB digital radio - reduced power

BBC Radio Shropshire on FM - reduced power

Digital terrestrial TV (Freeview) - not affected


Apparently this is becuase of our 'friends of the wrekin' who opposed planning application for a temporary mast!


Yep Marco you are correct. Should there have been a temporary mast on The Wrekin then this temporary break in transmissions would not happen.

However, as I watch the very few TV programmes that I like online via software such as the BBC iPlayer and 4OD then it won't affect me at all.

Tory Boy

another muck up by clown brown and labour, we would ban left wingers and bring back hanging, vote blue go green, anything but the leftie labour tree hugging Eu traitors we have at the moment would be a god send, god save the queen


So Askeric, if I understand you correctly.... I recently had a digital aerial installed for the forthcoming change to digital TV and had to pay for a costly signal booster as the signal was 'insufficient'... have I then paid for something I didn't need as signal strengths will be improved when the switchover happens? A lot of people like me then are being mis-led then by aerial installation companies into believing we need to pay a lot more for these boosters?


Unfortunately some unscrupulous aerial suppliers have been pushing unnecessary equipment for decades - signal boosters are only of limited use - they have a tendency to boost interference signals as well as the required signal.

Similarly, there was a hype for everyone to rush out and buy 'digital' aerials, when for many a well positioned 'analogue' aerial would suffice.

It's been planned for a long time that the digital signal would be improved as the analogue one was removed, so hopefully the situation for those om the borderlines of signal capability will improve with time.

My advice is to ask any aerial contractor what equipment they use to determine the direction and signal strength - the 'thumb in the air' method, or simply looking at other aerials nearby isn't enough.

askeric dotcom

Hi idon'tbelieveit (#13)

You are partly right.

Originally, the Wrekin just transmitted analogue TV (Thats BBC1,2 ITV1,2 and Ch5 on channels that were all in the LOWER part of the UHF V band. (UHF band goes from Ch21 - 69 )

(on Wrekin, ITV = Ch23, BBC1= Ch 26, CH4 = Ch29, BBC2 Ch33)

So your aerial only had to "cover" or "recieve" signals on the lower part of the UHF TV band (called group A)

However, digital works differently. It doesnt use 1 channel per programme like Analogue does. It transmits several programs all grouped together on each channel, called a "multiplexer"

There are several multiplexers, each transmitting several programs


The multiplexers, in the case of the Wrekin, are spread over a much WIDER part of the UHF band, so you need a "wide(r) bandwidth" aerial to recieve all the multiplexers.


for multipxer channels,

(currently 21 - 57, and 23 - 48 after digital switch over)

HOWEVER - IF you still "had" an older group A aerial, all that might have meant is:

You dont neccessarily get ALL the multiplexers, but still get those in the lower part of the UHF band, which transmit all the popular programs like BBC1,2, ITV1,2 Ch4 etc

This means probably that the new aerial you've had installed is a higher gain / wide bandwidth type, that'll get more of the multiplexers.

That is: you'll get to see more of the less popular channells ( hoo-ray!!)

steve h

i work as an aerial fitter and fit boosters where needed as most customers are unwilling to wait for another 18 months for the signal to be improved. but after the switchover yes, you can probably remove your boosters