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UK 4G to Interfere with 2 Million TVs in Total

By - Source: Telegraph | B 7 comments

The UK's fancy new 4G will come at a price.

The UK government has revealed that there's going to be a bit of a trade-off when it comes to the launch of the country's 4G LTE coverage. Talk of 4G interfering with digital terrestrial television for over a year now. Earlier this year, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) reported that  research into the situation suggested that close 900,000 people would be affected by interference from the new 4G network technology. Today, the Telegraph cites culture minister Ed Vaizey as saying 945,000 households using signal amplifiers could be affected, as well as 953,000 households that rely on communal aerials.

For those not familiar with the story, the problem lies with the 800Mhz spectrum used for mobile services being too close in frequency to the spectrum used for digital terrestrial television (DTT). This means there's a potential for interference from mobile base stations that could in turn affect some people's ability to receive DTT.

Vaizey said today that the carriers responsible for the 4G networks will also foot the bill for alleviating the interference caused by their new, faster networks. An independent body, "MitCo," has been set up to install filters in affected homes. These filters will be paid for with £180m in funding from mobile operators.

Last we heard, the filter in question would fit onto your digital TV box and block out noise. Though it can be done without the help of an engineer, the over-75s will be offered assistance in fitting the filter. Further, a helpline will be set up to help people affected by interference.

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  • 0 Hide
    cdanone , 18 May 2012 19:34
    I have freeview, and it’s already affected by 2/3G networks. It’s fantastic that I have more things to complain about, soon I'll be another one of those old guys talking about the good'ol days where I didn't have to watch TV programs on the internet because someone nearby decided to phone someone else . . .
  • 0 Hide
    jldevoy , 18 May 2012 22:52
    Shows the fantastic planning our worthless government does, they just forced everyone onto digital and now theyre gonna screw that up as well.
  • 0 Hide
    video99 , 19 May 2012 15:55
    jldevoy 18/05/2012 16:52
    Shows the fantastic planning our worthless government does, they just forced everyone onto digital and now theyre gonna screw that up as well.
    You may find it was the previous government who decided to downgrade our terrestrial broadcast quality by going to the compressed-as-Hell DTT broadcasts. Fortunately satellite TV is far better, and it is available in two free forms: Freesat and Freesat From Sky, as well as subscription of course.
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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 21 May 2012 10:07
    So Sky is magically not compressed to hell then? Obviously a different "Sky" you are watching to mine.

    The only problem with Freeview is this 4G BS. They shouldn't be selling off the spectrum for 4G, they should keep it for Freeview expansion and bitrate improvements. Alas they can make a LOT more money selling it for 4G.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 21 May 2012 22:55
    You will see no appreciable difference between the broadcast quality of Terrestrial and the same broadcasts on Freesat/Sky as the come from the same source. The only variation will be signal strength and number of services available. Anyone claiming otherwise is lying.
  • 0 Hide
    video99 , 21 May 2012 23:54
    RonRyce 21/05/2012 16:55

    You seem to be implying that satellite broadcasts, which use GHz high frequencies and so have more available bandwidth, and terrestrial broadcasts at just UHF, have the same bit rates and coding. Have you done your research?

    Now it is true to say that the amount of bitrate that each channel is given on either platform will vary from one broadcast to another depending on a number of factors including how deep their pockets are, but in general satellite transmissions have more available bandwidth.

    What does get me going is DAB, most of the channels on that are really nasty quality, hugely inferior to satellite radio channels for example.
  • 0 Hide
    Stoppemfloppen , 23 May 2012 16:13

    Satellite transmissions do indeed have more bandwidth but in the UK, particularly DTV, the source has always been the problem and if they're putting out sevices at a bit rate of 3-4Mbps (some cases it is less, especially the shopping channels) then no amount of extra bandwidth on your satellite setup is going to overcome that. Its a bit like having a 25mm water pipe in your house but the feed in the road is only 10mm - sure you have a much bigger tap but the source dictates the flow rate.

    I currently have DVB-S (Freesat) fed to the TV via a Panasonic Freesat HD Blu Ray recorder and there is no difference at all between that and DVB-T (Freeview). When I had cable some years back that was also the same. So I speak from experience. Since Freesat and $ky are on the same satellite I don't expect $ky to be any different. If you say it is then I think you have some other issues with terrestrial. Some TV's have poor DVB-T performance due to a lack of care when setting picture quality parameters. Normally it is caused by insufficient supression of macro block and mosquito noise and/or over-egged sharpness to try and make the TV picture 'stand out' in the show room, and when it is fed by a source that has been better set up you will see a difference.

    DAB is a different matter. That is based on MPG2 which coupled with the poor error correction algorithm
    does indeed give much inferior sound. However, with the loudness wars plaguing most radio stations I think they all sound horrendous to be honest.