If you are among the one in three who are thinking of going for free digital TV, you may be considering your options - and timing may be critical.
If you have been a Sky subscriber, your easiest free option is to simply cancel your account with Sky. Call them on 0800 0468857 and ask them to cancel all of your subscription as soon as possible.
As with all cancellations, you should cancel the direct debit to the company from your bank. Normally you would do this online, but a one-line letter to the bank is sufficient, or usually a phone call.
If you have a HD Ready (High Definition) television, but did not upgrade to Sky+HD, you may find that Upgrading from Sky to Freesat is a good option. Follow these instructions (but use an HDMI cable), the box cost around one hundred pounds.
If you use Sky+, if you terminate your contract with Sky, as above, you will no longer be able to use the play and record functions on the box. However, you can simply swap the box for a Freesat+ box (in HD). This will be a few-hundred pounds one-off cost, with no recurring charges.
Another option is to continue to pay Sky ten pounds a month for the use of the recorder facilities, but with the free channels.
Currently the BBC HD channel will continue to function if you cancel your subscription, and you will have no record or playback features. In this case, if you can live with just BBC and ITV HD for the moment, swapping a Sky+HD box for a Freesat+ HD box is straightforward.
Freeview HD will provide BBC HD, ITV HD, C4 HD/S4C and FIVE HD in 720-line resolution format without needing a satellite dish.
No current equipment can decode the signal yet, so a set-top box will be required. The 720-line picture is two and a half time better than those on standard definition, but half those on Freesat with the 1080-line service.
The good news is every transmitter in the UK will carry Freeview HD. Normally this will be on the last day of switch-over, starting from 2 November 2009. This means that in 2010 Wenvoe, Mendip and Durris all all their relays will have a free HD service.
Also in 2010, Stockland Hill, Calbeck, Caradon Hill will have switched this year, so they get the HD service one year from the last day of the switchover.
This means that for many people, Freeview will have an extra kick from the end of this year. As soon as the receivers arrive and the service starts, if you live in London (tbc), Wales, West and Southwest England, North Scotland, English and Scottish Borders, Manchester and Northwest England you will be able to watch four HD channels using an aerial.
Unofficially in April 2010 the North East (Pontop Pike) and Central Scotland (Black Hill) a Freeview HD will start and continue in May 2010 with Birmingham and the West Midlands plus Leeds and Yorkshire (Emley Moor)
Remember that if you tried Freeview and it didn't work, then once digital switchover finishes from your local transmitter, you will need a Freeview box to watch television from it.
If you currently only have four channels from a local relay transmitter, you will only get the public services (and Freeview HD) at switchover. If you can watch FIVE on analogue, you will probably get the full Freeview service at switchover.
The new high-power Freeview service at switchover should also make more channels watchable for people who are currently on the fringes of acceptable Freeview reception.To find out your switchover dates, put your postcode into the box at the top right of this page.
I would like to know if it is possible to stop my virgin subscription and be able to get the God TV channel and the basic channels for free. If this is possible please let me know how to do this as I won't have a clue.
Hi, i'm thinking about cancelling my skysubscription, i have a sky plus box( my own not from sky)and multiroom. will i still receive channels on both and will i still be able to record channels. also i have broadband and telephone line with sky, would i be able to keep these without having a tv package. thank you.
Josh: The old Cable TV Act had a "must provide" provision for the public service channels, but this has expired and Virgin are no longer required to do this.
The channels concerned are now encrypted on most Virgin systems, I suppose there might be some systems where they are in the clear, so a DVB-C card would pick them up, but I tried that on the Brighton one and all the multiplexes are encrypted.
Briantist: I've just tried it with my Samsung plasma TV which happens to have a DVB-C tuner built in, and I got all the BBC channels, (apart from HD), CITV, C4 & 5 and a channel that is actually a message warning me that I am using non-standard equipment. I am in the North Lincolnshire region BTW.