The exact date of the UK’s first digital switchover was revealed today.
The town of Whitehaven in Cumbria will be the first place to turn off the old analogue signal on 17 October.
After the switchover, all television in the region will be digital. Any household that doesn’t have a television set or video recorder that is not converted to digital when the switchover takes place will no longer be able to receive programmes.
To watch digital television you need equipment that can decode digital signals. There are three main options – satellite from Sky, cable from NTL Virgin Media, and digital terrestrial television better known as Freeview.
Whitehaven has around 25,000 households and was chosen partly because its residents have high awareness of switchover, according to the government.
Switchover will follow region by region and is scheduled to finish in 2012.
The body responsible for organising the switchover, Digital UK, said help with the installation of digital equipment will be available for pensioners over the age of 75 and people with certain disabilities.
The announcement comes after Ofcom research found that more than half the TV sets owned in the UK are not compatible with the digital signal.
By the end of last year, nearly 49 per cent of the UK’s 60 million televisions could receive digital.
But for many households the analogue set is not the main TV set. More than three quarters of the UK’s 25.3 million TV-owning households now have a least one digital television set
For more information visit www.digitaltelevision.gov.uk