Digital TV - what's happening, why, and what to do

Large parts of Shropshire will today lose parts of their analogue television signal forever, with tens of thousands of households waking up to a new era of digital TV.

Digital TV - what's happening, why, and what to do

Large parts of Shropshire will today lose parts of their analogue television signal forever, with tens of thousands of households waking up to a new era of digital TV.

The first phase of the digital switchover at The Wrekin transmitter will affect homes in north Shropshire, while the Ridge Hill mast will today transmit digital signals to homes in parts of south Shropshire.

It means that people will no longer be able to receive certain channels if they have not fitted equipment that will unscramble the new digital signal sent to their TV aerials or have a digital receiver service such as Freeview integrated in their sets.

Today's first-phase switchover started in the early hours and will see analogue BBC Two permanently switched off from the Wrekin transmitter and its relay transmitters.

Some Freeview digital channels, including BBC Two, will become available for the first time to viewers served by relay transmitters.

Stage two starts in the early hours of April 20 when the remaining analogue channels - BBC One, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5 - will be permanently switched off. These services and a range of other Freeview TV, radio and text services become available to viewers served by relay transmitters for the first time.

At both switchover stages, new and existing viewers with Freeview, BT Vision and Top Up TV will need to retune their TVs or digital boxes to pick up all the services available.

Telford based aerial and FreeSat installer Paul Brown, said: "The digital switchover has been coming for a long time and will offer a wider choice of TV viewing.

"Most people have got their main TV ready for digital and have some sort of understanding about the switchover."

But homes in part of south east Shropshire, including Bridgnorth, are unaffected by the switchover. Many viewers in this area receive transmissions via their aerials from the TV mast at Sutton Coldfield. Digital switchover takes place for this area in September.

The digital switchover affects any TV that receives its signal from an aerial.

  • Digital switchover at the Wrekin, Ridgehill and their relay transmitters takes place in two phases today, April 6, and on April 20. People who pick up signals from Sutton Coldfield, including parts of south east Shropshire, will switch over from September 7 to 21.

  • People who need help with aerial installation after switchover are advised to use a reputable installer, ideally one registered to carry the pink digital 'tick'.

  • Switchover Help Scheme is being run by the BBC to help older and disabled people make the change to digital TV. More information is available from helpscheme.co.uk

  • Viewers who receive their signal through cable or satellite services are already digital.

  • To receive digital terrestrial TV - through an aerial - viewers will need a digital set top box or a new television with built in digital adapter. Some viewers may also need to replace their aerial after today's switch to receive all channels.

  • Viewers can check their switchover date and options for getting digital TV by using the Digital UK postcode checker at digitaluk.co.uk or by telephoning 08456 50 50 50.

  • TV licences are not affected by the digital switchover.

By Ben Bentley

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