Moving to the digital future
The UK is changing from the traditional analogue distribution of TV to digital, and the government has committed to switching off all the terrestrial analogue TV broadcasts in favour of digital TV within the next few years.
The digital switchover is being implemented region by region, to be completed by 2012.
Once a region has switched, residents are not able to receive analogue TV again, and will need digital television reception to continue watching any TV at all.
In a few cases where an existing communal TV system allows it, some measure of preparation for the digital switchover may be achieved by upgrading only for reception of digital terrestrial TV (Freeview) through an aerial. However, this severely limits the provision of digital services for residents.
Not only is the choice of digital TV channels reduced to less than 10% of the full complement broadcast, but opting for a terrestrial-only solution means that full interactive services, and even high definition TV, are not available to residents either. Residents need access to digital services via satellite to enjoy all that digital TV has to offer.
What’s more, in some parts of the UK, reception of all – or even any – of the Freeview channels will not be possible, even after the digital switchover.
It is estimated that up to a quarter of households in Wales and Northern Ireland, a fifth in some parts of England, and 12% of Scottish homes will not have access to all Freeview digital TV channels through an aerial when analogue TV has been phased out (source: Ofcom).
However, digital satellite is available throughout the country, and a communal TV system that includes digital satellite in its provision is the sure way to meet residents’ demands for a genuine full choice of services, for many years to come.
For more information on the analogue switch off visit: