Thousands of Britons face blank TV screens

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In a speech in Cambridge yesterday the government’s Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell (nice smile) confirmed that the great switch off of analogue TV transmissions would begin in 2008 and finish just prior to the Olympics in 2012.

Already however there’s a huge controversy raging with some Britons facing the prospect of not being able to see any TV at all. On Radio Five Live! Last night The Guardian’s Media Editor Matt Wells cited a Which report which concluded that over a million homes wouldn’t be able to tune into digital terrestrial transmissions.

Their only alternative is to opt for satellite delivered services and due to geographical reasons – such as buildings and hills obstructing the angle of elevation  – and planning permission issues (i.e. listed buildings) there are still thousands of Britons who won’t be able to see satellite services. The government is already exploring the potential of IPTV – TV over the web – but would need to be able to offer broadband services to these homes many of which are in rural locations. The upshot is that as many as several thousand Britons won’t be able to see any TV service at all.

Many  Britons will also see their portable and personal TVs go blank and will have to ditch their models and upgrade to the new breed of digital TV devices which are being pioneered by the likes of Samsung and Nokia.

There are full details on the timetable for the switch off here.

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