Yesterday I thought that I would check out the new ‘five Life’ digital channel. Ellen DeGeneres has a talk show in the US that I had seen clips of and ‘five Life’ were showing two shows back to back from 4:00pm. The Sony TV that I have has an integrated tuner which needed updating to receive the new channels. I’ve done this before, it just takes awhile for the set to find all the channels that are available to it. This all ran through fine and the picture returned. I selected channel 36 with the remote but the station wasn’t tuned in. Bugger. So I thought that I’d leave it and do some investigating later. I then tried to select BBC News 24, the only ‘extra’ digital channel that I watch, and it wasn’t on channel 80. Double bugger, because I hadn’t made a note of the channel and service numbers so that I could tune it back manually.
The rest of the evening was spent trawling the internet trying to find these elusive numbers for my region. I couldn’t find them. I had already tried switching the set off on the wall for 10 minutes, switching it on with the aerial unplugged, doing the auto-tune to clear out the stations, switching the set off again for 10 minutes without power, plugging the aerial in and doing another auto-tune… all to no avail.
Channel 80 was listing some channel called ‘smileTV’ which is only broadcast between 1am and 5am. Brilliant just what I need. I wouldn’t mind but BBC News 24 worked perfectly at lunchtime. I even dug the User Guide out (RTFM right?) to see if I was missing something. No luck.
This morning I phoned the Sony support line. The only thing that they could suggest was that the signal may have been quite weak last night when I was running the auto-tune and that I should keep trying it. They also gave me the phone number for Freeview, which I didn’t use.
This evening I had a walk around to the shop that I bought the set from. I told the guy in the store what had happened and he looked as if this wasn’t the first time a customer had asked about this today. He’s probably gone through this hundreds of times recently.
It seems that the Freeview channels have jumped from being just a plain 2 digit number to being a 3 digit number. This of course screws up the older sets, like mine, that only have room for 99 channels. He said luckily I could manually tune a blank channel and he dug out a print of a web-page. 56 is the ‘channel’ number for BBC News 24 and he said that I would have to try different ‘service’ numbers before I found the correct one.
When I arrived home I tried it out and it all worked fine. BBC News 24 was back up and running.
The chap who helped gave me the URL for the Digital TV Group. He said that the page he was looking at was maybe for retail trade only. There is a retail section to the site but I can’t find a page that lists the ‘channel’ and ‘service’ numbers for my area. So I think that it’s going to be trial and error to find ‘five Life’.