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BBC Freesat tech switch zaps HD channels from 'old' boxes

Shift to DVB-S2 sets punters a-grumbing

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The BBC has annoyed some early Freesat supporters by switching the technology used to broadcast its HD channels over the free-to-air satellite service.

Today, the Corporation shifted BBC One HD and BBC HD from DVB-S to DVB-S2. If your Freesat box supports the latter - and many recent ones do - the worst you'll experience is an enforced retune.

But folk who bought some early Freesat boxes - the service launched in May 2008 - are grumbling that they have now lost the channels. Their set-tops don't support DVB-S. A fair few PC TV tuner cards don't either, it seems. Nor do some Freesat HD TVs.

Some Sky HD users have been affected too, but, according to posters on a variety of forums, this can be sorted by deleting added channels, and performing a "new install" run.

The BBC notified punters of the change through a blog posting four days ago. Not enough warning, say aggrieved readers.

DVB-S2 is a more efficient modulation scheme than DVB-S, effectively increasing the available bandwidth. As yet, the BBC hasn't said what it plans to do with the extra space.

It's worth noting that DVB-S2 was part of the Freesat spec from the start. When Channel 4 HD was added to Freesat in April, it used DVB-S2. Future HD channels may well do the same. ®

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