Set-top-box manufacturer, TVonics, has reminded consumers that just about any TV, regardless of age, can be converted for use after the digital switchover.
TVonics feels that the ‘publicity surrounding the digital switchover has meant that many people now wrongly believe they have to upgrade their entire television to get all the channels from Freeview‘. TVonics claims that this is causing people to unnecessarily buy new TVs and throw out perfectly good older models.
The digital switchover is the gradual switching-off of the UK’s analogue broadcasting TV signals, for them to be replaced with digital signals such as Freeview or Freesat. Freeview and Freesat are already available in much of the UK, but the digital signal will strengthen, and coverage will increase in the build up to 2012 when the UK’s final analogue signals will be switched off.
Preparation for the digital switchover
For a TV to work after the digital switchover, a digital receiver is required. Set-top-boxes act as digital receivers and can be plugged in to almost any TV. Many new LCD and plasma TVs have digital receivers integrated, but the average cost of such a model is greater than the average cost of a set-top-box.
Figures from TVonics suggest that despite the current credit crunch, around eight million new TVs will be sold this year, resulting in many older TVs being thrown out. European legislation stipulates that all discarded TVs have to be recycled. TVonics states: ‘It makes much more sense, environmentally and financially, to use existing TVs until they reach the end of their natural life.’
Michael Briggs, principal Which? researcher, said: ‘TVonics is a set-top-box manufacturer, so of course there is a vested interest in the promotion of these products for the company. But the fact that buying a set-top-box rather than a new TV is a more financially and environmentally sensible option is unarguable. However we would point out that one integrated digital TV will probably use less power than a TV and a separate set-top box.’
LCD and plasma TVs don’t always offer the best picture quality
Research suggests many people believe that LCD or plasma TVs offer better picture quality, when in reality, this may not always be true. The Which? guide to buying a new TV provides further information about this matter.
Which? has test results on almost 40 set-top-boxes – including a Best Buy model from TVonics – and a report containing reviews on more than 180 LCD and plasma TVs. For further information read our advice on the digital switchover guide.
The digital switchover is being incrementally carried out across the UK, with Whitehaven in Cumbria, and parts of the Scottish Borders region already having switched. To find out more information about when the switch will occur in your area, visit the Digital UK website.
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