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Digital Switchover

What Is the Digital Switchover?

This process Ė named Digital Switchover Ė involves switching over the UK's current analogue television broadcasting system to digital, as well as ensuring that people have adapted or upgraded their televisions and recording equipment to receive digital TV. Any TV set or video recorder thatís not converted to digital when the switchover takes place will no longer receive TV programs.

The History behind Digital Switch Over

In September 2005, it was announced by the Government that the digital switch over would take place between 2007 and 2010. This is happening throughout the whole of the United Kingdom and will take place TV region by TV region.

What is the difference between Digital and Analogue Broadcasting?

Analogue broadcasting is the way our televisions currently receive and record information. It is referred to as analogue because the picture and sound that we receive on our televisions are 'represented' with electrical signals/voltages. This is different from the way that digital signal television operates where images and sound are sent as compressed data (they are coded into a series of '1's and '0's) which is then unscrambled by a digital box. The signal is sent by cable, satellite or through the air to your aerial.

What are the benefits of digital switch over?

Compared to analogue broadcasting, digital signal provides you with extra channels free of charge. There is also the option to subscribe to additional channels, new features available and access services.

Why is the Digital Switchover happening?

Currently in the UK the majority of households have already chosen to go digital, as Digital TV provides a better quality viewing experience. However, there are still some households which cannot get the full range of digital TV services available free through an aerial, and some households canít even access channel Five through their aerial. After the Digital Switchover the restriction to these services in areas like this will decrease making it fairer for everyone.

In addition to this the Digital switchover will also help ensure that the UK maintains their status as world leaders in broadcasting technology.

What equipment will I need for the digital switchover?

It is not essential that you replace your existing television sets to be able to receive digital services; however, you will then need some addition that will connect to your existing television.

  • Digital Terrestrial TV: viewers will need a digital set top box or a new television with built in digital adapter (known as an integrated digital TV, or IDTV). Some viewers may also need to replace their aerial.
  • Digital Satellite TV: viewers will need a satellite receiver and dish, provided by the satellite broadcaster.
  • Digital Cable TV: a connection to a cable system and indoor decoder box is provided by the cable company.


Advantages to Buying a Television with Integrated Digital TV / Freeview:

  • Receives all Digital TV / Freeview channels
  • Has a digital box built in - no need for an additional box
    Just connect it to your aerial for full Digital / Freeview service.
  • Advanced TV listing guide
  • Only one remote control
  • Ready for digital switchover
  • A digital TV comes with Digital TV box / Freeview box already inside
  • Digital TVs come in widescreen plasma or LCD format, too, making them perfect for even the largest lounges.


Advantages to Buying a DVD or Hard-Drive Recorder with Integrated Digital TV / Freeview:

  • Receives all Digital TV / Freeview channels
  • One touch recording
  • Advanced TV listing guide
  • Selected models allow you to pause live TV
  • Choose a digital TV recorder with a twin tuner so you can watch one channel while recording another


Digital UK is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established by the broadcasting industry to lead the switchover program. For more information about the detailed timetable and switching to digital television please visit www.digitaluk.co.uk. For queries relating to local, technical and reception issues you can contact Digital UK on 0845 6 50 50 50.


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