“The screen just went dead, Mum.”
That was the scream from a quarter of a million U.K. living rooms last week as some older-model set-top boxes conked out.
The mass blackout was a result of a signal upgrade beamed out by digital terrestrial TV service Freeview, which rendered early set-top boxes from Daewoo, Labgear, Triax and Bush obsolete overnight. The old boxes couldn’t cope with the increased signal.
“We appreciate the frustration of viewers; it’s a minority who have been affected by these enhancements,” Freeview said in a statement.
Disgruntled customers will still have to fork out for a new box, though.
It’s estimated that just 1% of the 23 million Freeview set-top boxes went dead from the new signal, which boosted Freeview’s offerings to 48 channels from 30. But try telling that to parents in that 1% who were forced to read to their kids rather than plop them in front of cartoons over the weekend.