C5 should try dancing to a different tune

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I’ve been following Torin Douglas (and others) reporting on the great Channel 5 retuning circus with some interest.

Here in the depths of rural South Warwickshire I received and binned C5’s original “the-retuners-are-coming” letter received months ago due to unfavourable press reports.

By the time a youth claiming to represent C5 invaded my privacy without prior notice at 7pm one weeknight a few weeks ago, I’d read enough about the new channel not necessarily affecting areas where it was supposed to interfere with video viewing that I’d decided to leave well enough alone until the channel actually broadcasts – should it ever.

The aforementioned youth failed to quote any so-called security number and, when I declined his “only takes ten minutes” service, he thrust a clipboard into my face asking me to sign the “no equipment to retune” box. I pointed out that the correct one – “I decline a retune” – was marked and he snarled “whatever” before disappearing into the night. But I did manage to extract one key piece of information C5 has so far declined to publicise – the UHF band channel number on which it will broadcast in my county.

Armed with that detail, it is very easy with many TVs and videos to establish whether or not C5 will cause interference on the channel currently tuned to the video. I don’t think it will in my case. C5 should stop acting as if every TV and video owner is an electronics beginner and publicise some simple retuning instructions, specifically detailing the channel numbers used by the four terrestrial channels, as well as C5, for each area. An immediate start of test pattern and sound broadcasts would also help.

Many of us could then do our own retuning in peace (and with, I suspect, a greater level of competence) thus leaving C5’s intrusive callers to look after those for whom the buttons behind the little black door are a complete mystery. Given the number of folk who seem happy to trundle new toys home from Dixons in cardboard boxes and set up themselves, C5 could be surprised at how much their retuning workload diminishes.

Graeme Roberts



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