Changes to BBC HD channels via satellite soon
In the coming months there will be a few changes to BBC HD channels via satellite.
These changes will affect Freesat HD and Sky HD and other HD satellite receivers.
These changes are because the BBC has today confirmed its plans for new HD channels.
The BBC will launch BBC Two Wales HD on satellite on Thursday 29th November 2018.
BBC Two Wales HD will appear on Sky and Freesat channel 102 – obviously on standard definition receiver the SD version will continue on 102.
The BBC will also be launching BBC Two Northern Ireland, however, the service for Northern Ireland will only be carried on Freeview, YouView* and iPlayer.
There will be no BBC Two Scotland HD. BBC Two’s Scottish service is being closed in February 2019 to make way for the new BBC Scotland channel. BBC Scotland HD will be available on all digital TV platforms from the yet to be disclosed launch day.
To accommodate BBC Two Wales HD from 29th November 2018 and BBC Scotland HD from February 2019, the BBC is to make some changes to the way it broadcasts its HD services via satellite. The BBC’s Kieran Clifton explained that there will be a change to the ‘Forward Error Correction’ or FEC, which will increase the capacity available to broadcast additional services.
Changing the FEC to 3/4 or 5/6 will allow the BBC to carry up to six HD channels per satellite transponder. The BBC’s HD transponders currently use a FEC of 2/3 and carry four channels per transponder.
ITV currently use an FEC of 3/4 and is able to accommodate six HD channels per transponder. In the Costa Blanca area of Spain this does make the ITV HD channels slightly harder and trickier to receive than if they use an FEC of 2/3.
A change to 5/6 would means that their reception will be similar to Discovery and Quest (SD).
But it is expected that the change will be to 3/4.
So this FEC change to BBC HD transponders could mean that some satellite installations in Spain may lose some or all BBC HD channels, if their dishes are not large enough for the area that you live in, or if the dishes are not accurately aligned, or you are using a poor performing LNB. (which is a good job that all our satellite TV installations use what we have found to be the best performing LNB available, and easily pulls in the ITV HD channels!)
All Freesat HD and Sky HD receivers will automatically update to the new frequency settings. Users of other satellite receivers may have to manually update their frequencies in their receivers, and perform a channel rescan.
However, some people using Panasonic Freesat TVs may have issues. When ITV changed their Forward Error Correction a few years ago, it was found that a number of older Panasonic devices that were not able to handle the changes. The issue is understood to be hardware related and cannot be fixed by a software upgrade.
The changes have occurred. However, some Freesat boxes are not updating automatically, meaning some are losing BBC HD channels. Rebooting the box may help. But a new Freesat scan should solve the problem.
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