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TV Update will brick 20,000 set-top boxes

TV Update will brick 20,000 set-top boxes

Up to 20,000 older set-top boxes may stop working today when the freeview channels are all retuned in the UK.

An upgrade designed to allow future broadcasting of HD television on Freeview will potentially see up to 20,000 digital set-top boxes stop working and 25 million boxes in some 18 million homes need re-tuning today.

The upgrade will also give 500,000 new homes access to channel Five and a new channel called Quest will be available, although nearly half a million homes will find they can no longer access ITV3 and ITV4. The BBC has stated that all Freeview TV sets, set-top boxes and digital recorders including TopUp TV and BT Vision boxes will need to be retuned from lunchtime today.

Certain models by Daewoo, Labgear, Triax and Bush will probably stop working entirely. However it's possible that many devices including other set-top boxes, recorders and TV's may be able to be updated via an over air download (OAD) or via a DVD.

Channel favourites and any scheduled recordings may also be affected by the update, which has been advertised via on-screen messages leading up to the 30th September roll out. A small number of channels will have moved position in on-screen TV guides too.

The BBC has provided a list of potentially problematic hardware which you can download here. It also lists manufacturer contact details for owners of models that might throw a wobbly after today's update.

Has the switchover gone okay for you? Has your set-top box died an untimely death? Let us know in the forums.

37 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
perplekks45 30th September 2009, 14:25 Quote
I think my ex-housemate will die if his TV doesn't work anymore. Poor 40 year old guy with no technical knowledge whatsoever.
Bauul 30th September 2009, 14:52 Quote
Diddums. Same thing happened about 12 months ago. Freeview update bricked some ancient Set-top boxes, owners went out and bought a replacement for £10.

This really is a bit of none-news actually, they periodically do this as the government shuffles around the frequencies to get the most out of the available bandwidth. They took out an advert on the inside front page of the Metro that outlined everything that was happening.
CardJoe 30th September 2009, 15:01 Quote
It's only none-news to those who know about it. I for one didn't though.

Then again, I never watch TV.
Bauul 30th September 2009, 15:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
It's only none-news to those who know about it. I for one didn't though.

Then again, I never watch TV.

If you watched telly, you'd know. They've been spamming this on every single channel for what seems like weeks now. I've lost count of the number of times I've been informed how to update my set-top box. I'm guess I'm just very fed up of hearing about this! Lol. :)
Dave Lister 30th September 2009, 15:18 Quote
Think how pissed you'd be if you spent over a grand on a huge lcd with a built in tuner and it got bricked, i'm sure i'd be suicidal by tomorrow !
perplekks45 30th September 2009, 15:19 Quote
TV is for people who don't know their way 'round the internet.
Stormwulf 30th September 2009, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
TV is for people who don't know their way 'round the internet.

+1
scrimple3D 30th September 2009, 15:35 Quote
-2
Plastic_Manc 30th September 2009, 15:39 Quote
I watch a load of telly and missed this completely. Hopefully my old box in the bedroom (fanar) still works after this.
steveo_mcg 30th September 2009, 15:47 Quote
Is it just me or does it seem daft to give channel 5 to 500k people but for another 500k loose 1-4 i know what batch of channels I'd rather have.
Jack_Pepsi 30th September 2009, 16:38 Quote
I don't even watch TV - interesting and true fact & somewhat related, John Logie Baird is my great great great uncle. Didn't get a free TV though - actually that's a lie, I got one with my phone contract.

:P
ffjason 30th September 2009, 16:39 Quote
where does it say 500k will lose 1-4? I believe it states that upto 500k might lose ITV3 and ITV4. Not really a big loss. Though channel 5 isnt really a big gain either so fairs fair.
steveo_mcg 30th September 2009, 16:50 Quote
Actually your right i miss read tfa. Still rather have the football on ITV3/4 than the crap on 5.
thEcat 30th September 2009, 17:42 Quote
Update went quite smoothly, well, once I'd flashed an update to the box. No biggie, I picked up a whole new user interface complete with series record while I was at the support site.

This little Topfield 5800 is one of the best things I've ever bought, coming up for 4 years old, still supported, modded with a 1TB HD. I'm not a great T.V. watcher but for movies and sci-fi it's a must, I can't remember the last time I sat through a commercial break
Matticus 30th September 2009, 18:28 Quote
My box updates automatically, it was almost unwatchable earlier, as it constantly updated the channel list every few minutes. Done now and its all fine and dandy, just watching "Quest", how stuff works is about to start. Its not quite as good as how its made, but its a good start.
Phil Rhodes 30th September 2009, 18:39 Quote
Bricked mine...

But like they said. £10. Which may be more than current TV is worth.
Armand-[79th] 30th September 2009, 18:53 Quote
/me got Sky.. care? :P
mikeuk2004 30th September 2009, 20:33 Quote
It doesnt brick your frieeview box.

It feels like that you have used that headline to scare people. Your making out that they have changed the frequency and you boxes might die. They dont, you just can pick up the ITV channels or Channel 5.

The freeview box works perfectly fine, it just becomes useless, not bricked.
thEcat 30th September 2009, 20:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armand-[79th]
/me got Sky.. care? :P


Sorry can't resist...
Quote:

Of course, if you get your TV and radio channels from Sky or Virgin Media, you can just sit back and relax. You'll already be paying a hefty price for the TV everyone else gets for free, so it would be rude to ask you to pay more.

http://www.walletpop.co.uk/2009/09/29/will-tomorrows-freeview-box-retuning-day-cost-you/6

:P
Phil Rhodes 30th September 2009, 21:03 Quote
Well actually some of the over-the-air updates that were sent out to some boxes (including the type I own) did give you a device that wouldn't come out of standby thereafter. Apparently EchoStar have been reasonably good about taking these back and forcibly re-ned-ucating them on a test bench, but I suspect they'll have quite a few back after today. Mine, for instance, which for some reason never got the update. Possibly because I so rarely watch TV.
Combatus 30th September 2009, 21:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeuk2004
It doesnt brick your frieeview box.

It feels like that you have used that headline to scare people. Your making out that they have changed the frequency and you boxes might die. They dont, you just can pick up the ITV channels or Channel 5.

The freeview box works perfectly fine, it just becomes useless, not bricked.

Nope about 20,000 will not work at all, no channels, nada.

"about 20,000 older set-top boxes will cease to work" via BBC

I think bricked is the right word - the hardware is fine but the software/BIOS/firmware whatever is dead meaning the device is a brick ie worthless slab just sitting there not able to do anything!
capnPedro 30th September 2009, 23:16 Quote
I seem to have lost 5 on my HTPC, but I'll give it a few days for the EPG/frequency lists/tuner drivers to update and the box to reboot before I moan about it.
delriogw 1st October 2009, 00:00 Quote
fairly new tv so my update worked like a dream. FINALLY no more of those blooming popup messages i've been getting all week - THEY were the biggest pain in the butt over all this
Silver51 1st October 2009, 09:09 Quote
I almost wish my TV got bricked. Tuning went through fine on the Bravia, missing channels reappear and then the we*anycar advert came on. I hate that advert with great fervour. Can't hit the off button fast enough.
NethLyn 1st October 2009, 10:19 Quote
Got drafted into helping family and friends of family retune their TVs and Freeview recorders yesterday, my final Freeview box is one that demands a reload of the EPG every time it's plugged and unplugged so retuning's actually quicker. First thing that popped up? The bleedin' retuning message (though at the bottom of the screen this time). Still, it's over with until next time.
Xir 1st October 2009, 11:37 Quote
You can get a freeview settopbox for 10pounds in the UK?
Can I hook it to a sattelite dish and get BBC in the rest of europe?
javaman 1st October 2009, 18:54 Quote
We lost ITV3 but found it again. Its on channel 401 for whatever reason. We also can't switch from 24 upward unless we type in the next channel for whatever reason lol
NethLyn 1st October 2009, 19:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
You can get a freeview settopbox for 10pounds in the UK?
Can I hook it to a sattelite dish and get BBC in the rest of europe?

Cheapest I've seen and bought myself was £15, but they sometimes get that cheap in sales.
perplekks45 1st October 2009, 22:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
You can get a freeview settopbox for 10pounds in the UK?
Can I hook it to a sattelite dish and get BBC in the rest of europe?
Technically yes, if you want to get a 1.3m dish at least.
Grape Flavor 2nd October 2009, 05:31 Quote
I was all "what the hell is he talking about" until I remembered this is a UK website. When it's all text there's no accents to remind you so it's easy to forget!
capnPedro 2nd October 2009, 10:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
You can get a freeview settopbox for 10pounds in the UK?
Can I hook it to a sattelite dish and get BBC in the rest of europe?

No, because Freeview isn't broadcast by satellites. And you wouldn't be paying the license fee.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grape Flavor
When it's all text there's no accents to remind you so it's easy to forget!

No, but we spell things correctly. Like "flavour" for instance.
perplekks45 2nd October 2009, 21:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by capnPedro
No, because Freeview isn't broadcast by satellites. And you wouldn't be paying the license fee.
As if it was hard to get Sky UK outside the UK...
dav999 3rd October 2009, 12:14 Quote
I have to say, I think it a disgrace that the powers that be can just arbitrarily decide that so many set top boxes are redundant. OK, for most people, they will be stand-alone boxes, but what if, in future, they pull this stunt again and it affects digital tuners embedded in other devices like TV DVD Combi sets or HDD recorders?
javaman 5th October 2009, 17:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dav999
I have to say, I think it a disgrace that the powers that be can just arbitrarily decide that so many set top boxes are redundant. OK, for most people, they will be stand-alone boxes, but what if, in future, they pull this stunt again and it affects digital tuners embedded in other devices like TV DVD Combi sets or HDD recorders?

Would there be a case for the product not being fit for the purpose it was bought therefore the manufacturer would have to "fix" it
Xir 8th October 2009, 14:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
As if it was hard to get Sky UK outside the UK...

Nono...not Sky..BBC ;-)

The lisence fee in Germany is so high i should get Radio Bejing for all I care :(

Besides, German TV is broadcast (by sattelite) and free to receive all over europe without you guys paying for it, so why shouldn't I watch BBC in return?
perplekks45 8th October 2009, 20:50 Quote
A 1.2m satellite dish is needed to receive BBC in Vienna. Further south it's a bit closer to 3m.
Then again, if I ever need help I'll just ask a couple of people who work for the UN and they'll sort it out. There's always someone at the UN to sort out things like that. :D
Xir 9th October 2009, 15:50 Quote
I live at the same latitude as London, so that might help reduce dish size ;-)
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