Viewers left completely bemused as their telly regularly changed channel at random have finally seen the light.

The unruly televisions appeared to take on a life of their own until engineers tracked the interference to a remote source: energy saving light bulbs.

The frequency of the flicker of the bulbs interferes with the infra-red sensors on remote control receivers.

Emma Clements and her husband Alistair were intrigued to find their Virgin Media box switching channels at random as well as turning on and off.

They were astonished to find a replacement box did exactly the same thing.

"At first we thought it was the children's sticky fingers on the remote control and that the buttons were sticking," Emma told Guardian Money.

"But the novelty soon began to wear off. With the new box it was worse, if anything."

A Virgin Media engineer suggested it could be related to a Philips energy saving bulb that was in a lamp about 12ft away from the television.

The hunch proved a good one when removing the bulb solved the problem.

A Philips Electronics spokeswoman said the company was surprised that users of the bulbs still experienced the interference.

"Some very early compact fluorescent lamps, shortly after starting, could cause interference with TV controls due to the frequency of operation of the bulb and when placed near a TV," she said.

"The frequency was quickly changed many years ago and we have had no recent reported incidents."

The company said it hopes to examine the bulb that caused the Clements' problems.

Traditional filament bulbs were banned by the EU in 2008 in favour of the more efficient low energy bulbs.

Shoppers rushed to stockpile the old style bulbs as they were phased out, while health campaigners complained the flicker of the efficient bulbs can cause migraines and dizziness.

Source: SkyNews