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Cheap boxes to blame for Freeview blackout

Freeview box blackout inspires fury
Freeview box blackout inspires fury

Many households looking to beat the digital switchover by purchasing a Freeview box were left with nothing but a blue screen of death after the service was upgraded.

Plans to upgrade the network to increase the number of channels meant that cheaper boxes bought up to six years ago couldn't read the new signal and just stopped working.

TechRadar spoke to Freeview, and a spokesperson confirmed there would be no compensation given:

"Some boxes can't read the new signal, and will just try to re-scan for channels but won't be able to.

"Unfortunately those affected will just have to buy a new box."

Digital Tick

The boxes affected were built before the 'Digital Tick' symbol, designed as a standard to future-proof all boxes, was introduced.

However, the spokesperson confirmed the reports in the media of up to a quarter of a million boxes were way over the mark.

"We took sales data of the boxes, [around 23 million sold] and with around one per cent of these being affected, that's how the number was found."

However, it turns out a far lower number of boxes have so far been affected, though it's likely those people will still be fuming when they find out Freeview has said they can pick up another box for just £15-20.