Sony DVD recorders lose Freeview access

SonySony has confirmed that a major technical problem means that its DVD recorders - as well as many produced by Pioneer - lost access to Freeview over the weekend.

After owners of the company's HXD models received a software update on Friday evening, their devices became unable to receive or record Freeview channels. Some have instead been stuck with a seemingly permanent 'Updating' message.

Certain Pioneer recorders - the DVR-550HX, DVR-560H, DVR-LX60, DVR-LX70 and DVR-LX61D - have also lost the service. "The models that are affected are Sony clones - using Sony parts but with the Pioneer name on," a spokesman explained. He said there wasn't a great deal that Pioneer could do without knowing the details of the software update, but promised that the company had a technical team on the case and was talking to Sony about solutions.

Sony itself is looking into exactly how the problem arose, and is promising regular updates on its Twitter account. It's pinning the blame on a change in the way that Arqiva, which owns and operates Freeview in the UK, transmits its electronic programme guide. "We are already trying to understand what has happened and how this can be rectified, realising that a large number of people have been affected," says the Sony support team on a company forum.

The good news is that - for most viewers, at least - there is already a relatively simply way to return things to normal. Sony advises unplugging the unit, turning it off for 30 seconds and then running 'Easy Setup'. Users stuck with the 'Updating' message should press and hold the on/off button until the unit turns off - then quickly press it again briefly, before the unit gets the chance to go back into update mode.

This should work for Pioneer machines as well as those from Sony. However, some users report that they've needed to do this more than once before getting the programme guide back again and a handful say it hasn't worked at all.

The problem is unconnected to the poor reception many Freeview viewers have experienced this week, which is down to the high pressure over the UK. This has brought interference from other transmitter sites in the UK and northern Europe.

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