Freeview released a minor update for thousands of households who do not have access to TV channels including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and more. The widespread outage affecting homes in North Yorkshire, Teesside and County Durham was caused by a major fire at the Bilsdale transmitter in the North York Moors.
A giant flame that sank the giant mast, which is over 314 meters high, caused Freeview TV channels, as well as DAB and FM radio signals, to disappear from the airwaves on August 10. Thousands of people do not have access to TV and radio channels on the BBC, as well as terrestrial channels from ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky Arts, Dave and more.
A week after the fire broke out, Freeview has confirmed that firefighters were able to access the base of the Bilsdale mast for the first time. “The fire brigade has now been given access to the base of the Bilsdale mast for the first time since the fire broke out,” the broadcaster reported at the time, and we will update as soon as possible. “
Freeview hopes to restore normal operations by August 28, 2021 with a bridging measure at the Bilsdale site. Due to the complexity of fixing the transmitter in place, permanent repairs may take a little longer. The fact that it took the fire brigade a week to gain access to the base of the transmitter suggests the devastation caused by the fire.
A temporary transmitter has now been installed near the Bilsdale site to restore television and radio to as many people as possible. This temporary solution is of course not the same size as the original 300 meter transmitter, leaving some areas with no coverage.
Freeview has confirmed that the Eston Nab broadcaster is currently working to try to boost its signal to extend coverage to parts of Darlington, Richmond and Barnard Castle, among others. As well, this should be completed by August 20th.
Crucially, those who live in areas covered by the Eston Nab broadcaster may still not be able to watch live television. Freeview advises that it may need to be reset to restore service to your set-top box.
“We would only recommend this if you are familiar with the procedure from the instructional video,” advises Freeview. “Please note that in the unlikely event that you restore some channels, you will need to retune when the temporary Bilsdale mast goes online.”
Freeview offers a number of tutorials on how to automatically retune your smart TV or set-top box.
Of course, many of the channels broadcast on Freeview are also available online using services such as Freeview Play, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and more. If you normally turn on Freeview with a Smart TV, you can access all of these apps. Alternatively, you can watch Freeview via the associated app on smartphones and tablets, which are available for iOS and Android.