Switchover date for digital television

The digital TV switchover in Norfolk is due to begin in November next year.

Digital UK, the organisation responsible for rolling out the switchover nationwide, said analogue signals for BBC One and Two, ITV, Channel Four, and Five, would be switched off in two stages at the Tacolneston transmitter which serves Norfolk and north Suffolk, and replaced with digital services.

Turning off the analogue TV signals will allow the digital terrestrial TV coverage, known as Freeview, to be boosted and this should mean that thousands of people previously in digital blackspots will be able to receive Freeview channels for the first time.

On November 9 next year the BBC Two analogue signal will be turned off at Tacolneston followed by the signals for the other channels on November 23.

Today the switchover robot Digit Al will be aboard a boat travelling along the River Yare to urge people not to 'miss the boat' and to make sure they are ready for the switchover.

Peter Monteith, Digital UK's regional manager for the area, said: 'The key message is if you are currently an analogue viewer with just the four or five channels, you will need to get a digital set top box or buy a new television by November 9 next year. Almost any television, even black and white televisions, can be converted to digital with a set top box. It is not essential to buy a new TV.

'There will be a big information campaign in the run-up to the switchover. Every home will get an information leaflet delivered to them about three months before, and we will run road shows throughout the area. There is also an extensive website explaining everything.'

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People who are already using the Freeview digital service will also need to retune their TVs or set top boxes on the two switchover dates, but viewers who use a satellite TV service will not be affected.

Mr Monteith said the digital TV switchover should enable more people to access an increased number of TV channels for a one-off cost of a digital set-top box that usually costs between �20 and �25.

?For more information about the digital switchover go to www.digitaluk.co.uk or call 08456 50 50 50.

?There is a Switchover Help Scheme available to people aged 75 or over, people who are eligible for certain disability benefits, registered blind or partially sighted, or who have been living in a care home for six months or more. For �40 they will be given equipment to switch one TV per household to digital. They can have the equipment installed for them and a demonstration of how it works, as well as a number to call while they get used to digital TV.

Everyone eligible for the scheme will be contacted directly before switchover. More information is available at www.helpscheme.co.uk or by calling 0800 4085900.