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Will there ever be more services on the Freeview Light transmitters?

The short answer is no; as that seems unreasonable, here is a longer answer.

The short answer is no; as that seems unreasonable, here is a l
published on UK Free TV

The digital terrestrial service that is known today as Freeview, started life in Parliament as the Broadcasting Act 1996.

Part I act gave the regulator, then the Independent Television Commission, the authority to establish digital terrestrial television services in the UK, and paved the way for a "six multiplex" service. One multiplex was reserved for the BBC, a second jointly between the "Channel 3 licence holder", Channel 4, Gaelic programming in Scotland plus Teletext UK as the "national teletext provider"

One half of the third multiplex was passed to Channel 5 and the S4C Corporation, with the remaining three and a half being put up for a public auction. The ITC duly awarded the remaining three multiplexes to "British Digital Broadcasting" in 1997, which was a combination of two big ITV companies at the time, Carlton and Granada.

British Digital Broadcasting, ONdigital and ITV Digital

On Sunday 15th November 1998, the services was launched under the name "ONdigital", a mixture of free-to-air and pay services, and rather dwarfed by the launch six weeks earlier of the much superior Sky Digital service.

ONdigital renamed itself ITVdigital on 11th July 2001, but the woollen monkey toy in the adverts proved more popular than the service, and the service closed on 1st May 2002.

It became clear (especially to BBC director-general Greg Dyke, pictured right) that the digital terrestrial service was popular with viewers, but it was unsuitable as a pay-TV platform.

ITVdigital handed back three multiplex licences to the ITC, and the ITC then re-awarded one to the BBC and the other two to Crown Castle International, a company formed when the BBC's engineering division was sold off.

A company, DTV Services, formed to publicise the new service, which was now called Freeview.

Sky joined in, and purchased slots on the new service (from CCI) for Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky Travel. Also there from the start of Freeview was Flextech Television "ftn", music channel TMF, UKTV's UK History and UK Bright Ideas, and shopping channel, QVC

Digital switchover process

When it was decided that the analogue television signals would be turned off, the BBC, as it funded by a universal fee decided that it must provide the two multiplexes of services to all homes.

Ofcom, now the regulator, decreed that the multiplex shared by Channel 3 and Channel 4 (called "Digital 3 and 4 Ltd") must also provide service to all homes that had analogue. This was because Channel 4 already provided this level of coverage, and as the licence holder for Channel 3 has "public service obligations", the broadcasting of multiplex 2 should also extend to all existing TV masts.

However, for the commercial multiplexes, Ofcom simply invited Crown Castle Ltd and S4C Digital Networks (SDN) to apply to extend their networks. Ofcom, having granted the multiplex licences already, felt it had no legal power of compulsion to insist more homes were served, and in December 2006 announced that no application had been received - at this point Ofcom no longer planned for additional frequencies for the commercial multiplexes.

Both commercial operators decided that the cost of providing the equipment, installation and ongoing operation of services from the 1,000 smaller transmitters would cost more than any additional revenue they could get from the TV channels that rent their broadcast capacity, as the work would only expand the actual number of homes broadcast to by 9%.

Since this time, S4C Digital Networks multiplex was bought by ITV plc, and Arqiva acquired the CCI multiplexes. For this reason the commercial multiplexes are known as SDN, ArqA and ArqB.

The map shows the locations where Freeview Light service is generally the only Freeview reception option.

See also: Where are the public service (Freeview Light) transmitters?

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Monday, 11 October 2021

6:17 PM

William Jamieson: Rothesay is a Freeview Lite transmitter which only carries the PSB multiplexes. As it only covers less than 6,000 homes it is unlikely that any further multiplexes will ever be provided, as the commercial broadcasters don't view the cost of the equipment, power and maintenance to be worthwhile to serve such a small audience. Your mother in law must be receiving Freeview from a main transmitter. If you want more channels, look at getting Freesat.

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StevensOnln1's 3,516 posts GB
Monday, 29 November 2021
3:07 PM

I have a light transmitter so do I have to pay full TV licence

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Mark's 3 posts GB

5:45 PM

Mark: The TV Licence isn't a subscription and the amount paid has nothing to do with the number of channels you receive. Every household pays the same amount (excluding those entitled to a free licence or discount for blind or partially sighted people).

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StevensOnln1's 3,516 posts GB
Saturday, 8 January 2022

3:55 PM

If the go-ahead is ever given to switch all transmissions to the DVB-T2 format, which is more efficient with it's compression over the bog-standard MPEG2 DVB standard which has lasted us many years alongside DVB-T2 format, and can carry more Freeview channels, then there is some distinct possibility that the Freeview Lite relays could gain more services. I would bring in such a move and put out a national advertising campaign over national UK TV and radio channels on all platforms, and give a generous notice period, of the intention to change over, and advise in the campaign of the need for viewers to upgrade to Freeview Play or Freeview HD capable boxes / recorders and TV's.

The cost of the necessary Freeview Play and Freeview HD capable equipment has fallen to way affordable levels and it cannot be a case of 'stick to what you've got forever' when people can afford such upmarket equipment that is easily in their price range.

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Anthony's 52 posts GB

10:44 PM


What you say is obviously correct about capacity using DVB-T2 format, I don't believe there is anything restricting Arqiva from starting to convert any of it's two multiplexes (ArqA, ArqB) to T2. I wouldn't think such a change would take place country wide in one go, I'd suspect it would be region by region, or maybe transmitter group by transmitter group.
I think it highly unlikely that any of the PSB multiplexes would be first as there are still many people without T2 receivers. Once the COM muxes were converted then the PSBs could be done and maybe a scheme similar to that for DSO with set-top boxes for the low income families/pensioners etc. for the few remaining people that didn't have T2 receivers.

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Chris.SE's 3,466 posts GB
Tuesday, 30 August 2022
philip greenwood
9:24 AM

Is Arfon being controlled by the same politically motivated people who refused to broadcast channel 5 because it had no Welsh language content . Now everybody has satellite t v their opinions are irrelevent However they now are taking out their predudice on radio . They have moved a Welsh Language channel so close to CLASSIC F M that the reception is abominable .
It is also noted that the other 43 t v channels may NEVER be seen in this area of Wales ..

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philip greenwood's 1 post GB

9:53 AM

philip greenwood: Nobody has ever refused to broadcast Channel 5, it is a commercial channel and it was always up to the broadcaster to decide which transmitters to broadcast from (provided there was a clear frequency available that wouldn't interfere with transmitters elsewhere, which could have been an issue with the clear sea path to Ireland). As far as I'm away the only Welsh language radio stations with wide FM coverage are BBC Radio Cymru and Capital Cymru, neither of which have changed frequency from any transmitters in recent years that I'm aware of. Perhaps you're referring to a community station which is only intended to cover a small area? Arfon covers an area of low population at fairly low power (2kW compared to multiple 10s or 100s of kW used at most main stations) so the commercial broadcasters are not interested in broadcasting their channels to a low number of potential viewers for little financial return. There isn't anything political about anything you have mentioned that I can see.

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StevensOnln1's 3,516 posts GB
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