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November 22, 2006

Digital TV Changeover

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This week, I’ll be banging on about the change.

No, not that change! The change.

The digital TV changeover or ‘Digital Switchover Programme’.

As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s a worldwide effort in progress to get from the crazy mixed-up analogue and digital soup that we currently have, to an all-digital terrestrial broadcasting platform.

Each country is busy with their own plans, but these must all be brought together to ensure that an entire continent can make the transition smoothly. Here in the UK, the Government confirmed in September 2005 that digital switchover will take
place between 2008 and 2012, ITV region by ITV region, starting in the Border region.

The current timetable looks like this, but is (of course) subject to change:

2008 > Border
2009 > West Country, HTV Wales, Granada
2010 > HTV West, Grampian, Scottish Television
2011 > Yorkshire, Anglia, Central
2012 > Meridian, Carlton/LWT (London), Tyne Tees, Ulster

Now, this is a complicated business. It’s the next ‘decimalisation’ or ‘Year 2000 problem’.

It’s also a bit like one of those kids toys. The ones with the square tiles and just one gap, where you have to shuffle everything around one square at a time.

The airwaves are so full, that it’s going to take five years to shuffle those squares, releasing one analogue frequency and replacing it with a ‘digital multiplex’ (containing many channels). This ripple effect will continue until the whole process completes.

OK, so much for the public service announcement, but what’s that got to do with satellite TV?

Well, digital changeover is so much more than this.

People will no longer be able to watch analogue TV, so they must do something.

Many people already have. Most have bought a ‘Freeview’ box in the UK. That’s basically a digital terrestrial tuner in a standalone box - the digital equivalent of the analogue tuner in their older TV’s.

Newer TV’s have a digital tuner inside too, and this is all good news for switchover.

But you have a choice. There’s cable TV and satellite too.

We’re not going to discuss cable, because you either have a cable outside your house or not. Satellite TV however, is available to everyone who’s allowed to install a dish, and this is satellite’s greatest advantage - coverage.

Terrestrial reception is going to be a little patchy and messy, with all those re-scans of digital mux’s (multiplexes) going on. Why not sit back with your cheap and easy-to-install digital satellite TV system, and make sure you don’t miss a thing?

You refuse to subscribe to Sky?

Who mentioned Sky?

This is subscription-free TV. Really genuine, free, legitimate digital TV.

A far larger selection of channels than is included in the terrestrial ‘Freeview’ package. Check out Free To Air Satellite TV for a complete list, which will be brought bang up to date again this week. The site also explains the difference between FTA and FTV channels.

More information about the UK digital switchover can be found in the following Government leaflet:

…and of course, if you wish to discuss the satellite options, costs etc. please register at our satellite forum, where we’re delighted to welcome complete newcomers to Satellite TV!

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1 Comment »
  1. Ofcom have recently released figures showing that the UK have a digital coverage of around 86% as of November 2008 showing that on a whole the UK are well prepared for the continued changeover.

    Freeview is leading the way as the solution to upgade to digital coverage although sales of tv’s with built in freeview have also increased.

    Comment by Darren — November 23, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

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