Half of all tenants in rented accommodation do not understand how to switch to digital TV, according to new research.
Whitehaven in Cumbria will be the first town to turn off the analogue signal this October.
The process will be repeated region by region and the UK will be completely digital by 2012.
Anyone who has not switched to digital by the correct date will be faced with a blank TV screen.
But a survey by Digital UK, the body coordinating the switchover, revealed that only 43 per cent of private tenants and 54 per cent of council tenants understand the steps they must take in order to continue watching TV afterwards.
Both figures are significantly below the national average of 64 per cent.
Digital UK is now launching a campaign to raise awareness amongst landlords and tenants.
Many tenants live in blocks dependent on communal aerial systems which will need updating.
Only 3 per cent of tenants have discussed switchover with their landlord, the survey found.
And while three-quarters of tenants do have digital TV on their main sets – either through an aerial, satellite, cable or broadband connection – less than one-third of secondary sets in rented properties have been converted.
Ford Ennals, Chief Executive of Digital UK, said: ‘This research is a wake-up call for any landlords or tenants who have yet to start thinking about switchover.
‘Our message is simple: switchover is coming, the countdown has started and you need to prepare.
‘We have already been focusing communications on the social housing sector but are now stepping up a gear in response to low awareness, particularly among those renting in the private sector.’
The timetable for digital switchover (by TV region) is:
- Border – 2008-2009
- West Country/Granada – 2009
- Wales – 2009-2010
- West/STV North – 2010
- STV Central – 2010-2011
- Central/Yorkshire/Anglia – 2011
- Meridian/London/Tyne Tees/Ulster – 2012
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