Manually retuning your digital terrestrial equipment

Date: 14.06.2013     Last updated: 06.11.2014 at 13.45
Many problems can be cured by simply retuning your digital box or digital TV set (which has Freeview built in) and other services that include Freeview – Youview and BT Vision.

What is a manual retune?

This is retuning your equipment by manually adding the relevant channel numbers for your chosen transmitter; visit the Digital UK coverage checker tool

Freeview services are broadcast from a network of television transmitters across the UK. The transmitter which your aerial is pointing at generally dictates the television signals that you will receive. However, many homes in the UK are covered by more than one transmitter. In this situation, it is not uncommon for signals from another transmitter to be picked up by the same aerial, even if it is not pointing at that transmitter. This can result in services disappearing, breaking up or “pixelating”.

Typical problems include:

  • Missing channels
  • Interactive (red button) services not working
  • The picture breaking up, freezing or becoming pixelated
  • Picture and sound being out of synchronisation
  • Subtitles missing or not appearing correctly

These problems can often be cured by a simple, manual retune of your Freeview television receiver. This also applies to other services which include Freeview, such as Youview and BT Vision. Manually retune your TV or box by adding the channels one by one which will enable you to put your channels where you want them on the channel list.

How is a manual retune different from an auto retune?

A manual retune is often confused with ‘auto retune’ since it appears to be a similar function in that you physically press a button on the remote to do it. With a 'manual retune', you input and store one by one the relevant channel numbers or frequencies from the correct transmitter yourself. However, with an auto retune, the equipment is choosing the transmitter for you and it may not be the one to which your aerial is pointing.

What to do?

For advice and guidance on undertaking a manual retune, you can follow the simple step by step advice at:

Your equipment's instruction manual should also provide details on how to do a manual retune. If you have lost your instruction manual a list of most manufacturers’ instruction manuals can found at: you can contact the manufacturer directly.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can call Digital UK on 03456 50 50 50 for assistance.

The manual retune did not help what should I do now?

If, after manually retuning, you still have a problem, this may be because your receiver still has wrong channels stored in its memory. There are two ways to try to clear the memory.

1. Perform a "factory reset" from the tuning menu, as described in your manufacturer’s instruction manual. Sometimes manufacturers refer to this as 'first time installation' or 'shipping condition'. Press ‘OK’ if your equipment asks whether it is OK to delete existing channels. This will clear your settings.

2. Do an auto retune with the aerial lead removed. This will clear the memory and remove the unwanted, stored channels. The aerial lead will then need to be put back in again.

*With both of these options you should then follow up with a manual retune.

Who can help me further?

If you have any difficulty with this operation then you should seek assistance.

Should you decide to engage a professional It is advisable to use a qualified installer. We cannot recommend individual installers but you may wish to seek advice from a recognised industry body, such as the Confederation of Aerial Industries (CAI). Alternatively visit the Website of Registered Digital Installers (RDI) who are accredited under a Government licensing scheme to install aerial systems for digital reception.

Transmitter Checker

Check if your local BBC transmitter is working by entering your post code and platform details in the boxes below and click SUBMIT. The results will be displayed via the BBC managed RTIS website.