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Freeview homes will soon be alerted to poor reception by an analogue TV-style ‘snow mode’ blocking their vision as the signal degrades.
Snow mode is being downloaded to Freeview boxes today as part of a package of analogue features designed to reassure older viewers.
The features will be automatically activated in all homes eligible for a free over-75s TV Licence and those which switched from a black and white to colour licence after the year 2000.
Freeview chief executive Isla Growling said: “We at Freeview want to make sure our older viewers are comfortable with the modern digital TV world.
“We have received many comments that since they were forced to upgrade to digital TV, many older viewers are troubled by more reliable reception and more than three television channels.
“Some people are also angry that they can’t see or hear the difference when their children visit on a Sunday and insist they switch to the high definition channels.”
Freeview signals can endure significant loss of quality before the box suddenly declares a loss of signal, but ‘snow mode’ will give an early warning by gradually obscuring the picture as signal quality drops.
The analogue ‘downgrade’ package also includes three-channel ‘1982 mode’ which provides only BBC 1, BBC 2 and ITV in standard definition, and an emergency package which shows a continual loop of Last Of The Summer Wine, That’s Life and the bit from Only Fools And Horses where Del Boy falls through the bar.
The package has been developed by the Digital TV Group, which provides the technology underpinning Freeview.
Chief executive Ronald Smoothly-Doesit said: “We usually spend our time developing exciting new features to push the boundaries of digital TV, but you can’t make people live in the 21st century.
“Who needs high definition and iPlayer on your TV anyway? It was a lot easier when Saturday nights were always The Two Ronnies and it all went black after The National Anthem at midnight.”
Disclaimer: This is not a real news story. Any resemblance to real people or organisations is purely for the purposes of comedy, being defined as something which the author thought was funny, and should not be taken as representing reality beyond the confines of his/her subjective perception.