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Switchover month to be shortened or dropped

Digital UK publishes today a report into the successes and failures of the Whitehaven switchover.

Digital UK publishes today a report into the successes and fail
published on UK Free TV

Digital UK, the switchover co-ordination body reports from the experiences of the 25000 homes in Whitehaven and Copeland. This will inform the rest of the four-year switchover process, with the Selkirk transmitter (Border TV) region on November 6 this year.

Digital UK reports:

  • 95% understood what to do in order to be ready, and all homes had converted by the analogue switch-off date.
  • 81% had 'no problems' with digital television equipment, 50% found installing equipment 'easier than they thought'
  • About 10% of households needed the Switchover Help Scheme, 5% rang its help line and 5% of households sought help or advice from retail outlets.
  • 5% of homes needed a new roof-top aerial and 30% a new set-top aerial


For review is:

  • The four week 'transition period'. BBC TWO was turned off first, with the rest later, so Digital UK is 'reviewing the role and duration of transition periods.'
  • Some viewers were disappointed that the Copeland area received around 20 Freeview channels after switchover ("Freeview Lite", less if the HD services are introduced), most UK homes will receive 40 channels, which Digital did not make clear.
  • A housing association applied a service charge increase of 24 per annum for a new communal television system! Digital UK is 'developing a model for consultation for use by landlords'
  • Explaining the value of the Help Scheme as you have to pay 40 towards the cost of the equipment and assistance provided, unless you are on income-related benefits where it is free.


David Scott, (Digital UK's Chief Executive) said: "This first switchover showed that the approach to informing and supporting the public through switchover was effective. People knew what was happening and where to turn for help when they needed it. Im enormously grateful to everyone in the local community who helped ensure the switch went smoothly. We will now take on board what weve learned and refine our approach as the switchover programme gathers pace across the country over the next few years. This is a momentous change for UK broadcasting, but one we will make as simple and straightforward as possible for viewers."

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