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If youíve been contacted or visited by a Channel 5 Broadcasting (C5B) Ďre-tunerí recently itís a fairly safe bet you live in one of the 70% of UK households who will be able to receive the new channel when it starts broadcasting on January 1st next year. However, quite a lot of other people, especially those living in fringe reception areas, will be getting the signal too. It may not be strong enough for a watchable picture, but it could cause interference to video recorders and satellite receivers, connected to the TV by the aerial lead.


Channel 5 problems come in two basic forms: thereís co-channel interference from C5B broadcasts on channels adjacent to the RF output frequency used by VCRs and satellite tuners; and image channel interference, where C5B transmissions clash  with VCR or satellite receiver output signals, nine channels above or below. In either case something has to move, and itís not going to be Channel 5...


If youíre suffering from interference problems -- test broadcasts have already begun in some areas -- you should get in touch with Channel 5 Broadcasting, who are legally obliged to sort it out. However, itís not difficult to make the necessary adjustments yourself, though if you do decide to have a go, make sure you have your TV, VCR and satellite receiverís instruction manuals to hand, in case you get into a tangle.


Changing the RF output frequency on a VCR or satellite tuner is simple. With only a few exceptions the adjustment screw  is located close to the aerial input and output sockets on the device concerned; theyíre usually marked Ďch 32-43í, ĎRF outí, or a curved two headed arrow. The easiest method is to play a tape or select a satellite channel, make sure itís showing on the TV, then turn the adjusting screw a few degrees clockwise, until the picture disappears. Next re-tune the TV to the new setting and make sure youíve got a clean picture.  If youíve got a satellite receiver connected to the aerial lead as well check the picture is okay, and leave well alone if thereís no interference problems. If there is then carry out the same procedure, not forgetting to re-tune the VCR to the satellite channel as well.


If your VCR or satellite tuner hasnít got a RF output adjusting screw then itís probably one of a handful of models where this is controlled by the productís operating software. The procedure will be explained in the instruction manual.


Aerial lead connections are far from ideal, especially if youíve got a stereo TV, so this may be a good time to think about upgrading your system by using SCART AV leads to connect the VCR and satellite box to the TV, then youíll have no problems from Channel 5, plus better picture and sound.



” R. Maybury 1996 1907




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