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Retuning and updating

Changes to the broadcasting transmitters mean that channel frequencies change from time to time. If you get your digital TV signal through an aerial, you may need to retune your set-top box or digital TV regularly to pick up new stations and any changes to existing channel numbers. You may notice that a channel is suddenly missing, or there may be a notice on one or more TV channels that you need to update. 

With some set-ups, you may get a message saying you must leave your device on standby for a forthcoming update. Digital tuners, like computers, have their own software programmes. This means that set-top boxes, digital TV recorders and TVs can be reprogrammed by having updates automatically broadcast to them - as long as the box is left on standby. 

Satellite, cable and broadband boxes get automatically retuned and updated. You do not need to retune them.

Retuning is fairly straightforward, however it may affect settings such as your favourites list. This depends on the make and model of your box or TV.

How to retune

With the set-top box and TV switched on, press 'menu' on the remote control and follow the on-screen instructions, or those printed in your manual. The process and the words used may differ slightly depending on the manufacturer, but a typical sequence is:

  • Press MENU on your remote control
  • From the Menu options, select 'Installation' 'Set-up' or 'Tuning'. On some devices, you may have to scroll down the menu options in order to find these.
  • You may be asked for a PIN (personal identification number). This is usually 0000 or 1234, unless you have set your own PIN.
  • Select 'Auto set up' or 'Update' to retune. Note that different kit may use the words 'Rescan', 'Replace channels', 'Search for channels' 'Automatic search', 'Auto Store', 'Default settings', etc.
  • Only select 'Manual tuning' if you are looking for a particular frequency, such as regional services.

Don't worry about warnings such as 'Pressing OK will remove your channels' - go ahead and press it because they will get automatically replaced. That's what happens in a retune.

Some set-top boxes allow you to 'Add new channels' but it is often better to do a full retune or re-install, as this ensures old 'dead' stations are removed.

If you need more information, look for it in your instruction manual or contact the manufacturer, or try Digital UK's guide to retuning. Freeview has further information, including a post-code checker to see when you last needed to retune in your area - see Freeview's Retuning Your Equipment page.

Regional services

If, after automatically retuning, you find you're receiving the wrong regional service - for example Welsh services instead of West TV or Granada TV - you may need to do a manual retune. See Digital UK's manual retuning instructions for a step-by-step guide. Alternatively, you can use the 'favourites' list, 'channel settings', or 'edit channels' menu settings to make your preferred services easier to find. Your instruction manual should tell you how to do this.

If you have a fairly recent product and you're located within reach of different TV regions, you may be offered a 'Regional Preference' choice during the retuning process. Choose the region that corresponds to the local news service that you want and continue with the tuning process.

Last updated: July 2013

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