Are we ready for digital switchover?

Columns & Opinion, TVs

Will Head writes…

We’re going to start seeing analogue TV signals being turned off across the country soon, but the rather worrying news is that half of UK tenants aren’t ready for it.

There is still time to fix the problem – there are over 150 days to go until the first signals are turned off in Whitehaven and then it’ll be a gradual process as the other areas are switched over between 2008 and 2012. But you’d think we’d at least be a little better prepared by now – it’s not like digital telly is a new thing anymore.

Now, flats and rented accommodation do pose a bit of a tricky problem about who should pay for any aerial upgrades that might be needed. Is it the responsibility of the landlord or the tenant? What if the occupiers are quite happy to foot the bill but their landlord won’t give them permission to go ahead?

All these things need to be ironed out before signal isn’t there – which is presumably why Digital UK, which is coordinating the process, released these statistics. Perhaps most worrying was that only three percent had got round to talking to their landlord about it.

There is also a slight problem with measuring current reception now, compared to what it’ll be like when the analogue signal has been turned off. In theory, with no analogue signal to contend with, it should be possible to make the digital one stronger -in some cases removing the need for a new aerial or allowing you to use a portable one instead.

The problem is, you won’t know until the signal is turned off – by which point it’ll be too late if it doesn’t work. Looks like everyone’s eyes will be on Whitehaven on 17 October. Let’s hope it goes more smoothly than it’s looking like it will at the moment.

Will Head
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One thought on “Are we ready for digital switchover?

  • We’re all doooomed. The blocky mp4 stream of freeview is an appalling way to watch any fast moving objects. Fine for talking heads, rubbish for action.
    We’re being forced to a pay-for-tv model.

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