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What happens during the switchover?

What happens during the switchover?

Updated: Monday 2 August, 2010

By Becca Talbot -

During the digital switchover the government will be turning off the old analogue signal, and replacing it with a new digital signal - this will offer viewers more channels, interactive menus and better picture quality.

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What will happen during the switch?

The digital switchover is being done in stages, starting with the Scottish Borders and Cumbria region in 2008, and finishing in 2012 with London, South East England and Northern Ireland.

When your area is ready to switchover, the government will switch off the analogue signal and replace it with a digital one, which carries an array of free and paid for channels, including the current BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5.

To watch the new digital TV service, you will need a Freeview digital set-top box or a TV with a built-in digital receiver.

Most of the country already has access to digital TV, but the government wants to make sure that everyone has access to better programming - some people still can’t get Channel 5. So the government’s plan is that by switching to digital, television will be fairer for everyone.

The switchover will be well advertised in your area so that you can prepare accordingly, and the BBC and government will be funding a help scheme so that elderly and vulnerable people won’t be left behind.

Why are we going digital?

In addition to being more efficient, the digital TV signal takes up far less space than the analogue one, which we’ve been using for over 80 years. Digital allows us to fit far more channels in, in far better quality.

Many other countries are going digital too, including France and Germany - parts of which have already switched over.

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