Digital UK, the not-for-profit organisation in charge of the UK’s digital switchover, has announced the last analogue TV signal will be turned off on 24 October 2012.
The date comes four years after the digital television switchover began in 2008 and eighty years from the first experimental TV broadcasts. Once the switchover is complete it will extend Freeview coverage to ‘virtually’ the whole of the UK.
The extra bandwidth created by switching off the analogue TV signal will be used to provide new wireless services, which could include 4G and ultra-fast broadband.
Digital UK also announced its project has come £53 million under budget. David Scott, Digital UK Chief Executive, said:
“The analogue era was a defining period for TV but the fully digital age will be even better, with a greater choice of channels for viewers everywhere. I’m looking forward to October next year when we will have brought the benefits of digital to every corner of the country.”
What regions are left?
Large parts of the UK have already completed the digital TV switchover. The remaining regions that will be making the final switch in 2012 include the London region (including parts of the home hounties), the Meridian region (encompassing the south and south east), Tyne Tees and Northern Ireland.
Once the switchover is complete, most people will receive the full 50 Freeview channels. However, approximately 10% of people who receive TV via ‘relay’ transmitters will receive only 15 channels that include all those funded through the TV license. If you receive TV via a relay, it may be worth considering alternative digital services such as Freesat – the free Satellite TV service.
For more information, read our complete guide to Freesat digital TV.
Will I need a new TV aerial?
Regulator Ofcom estimates that only 5-10% of homes will need a new TV aerial to receive Freeview after the switch to digital. If you currently receive a good Freeview signal, your existing TV aerial should still work afterwards. Even if you can’t pick up a Freeview signal right now, don’t assume you’ll need to buy a new aerial.
The current Freeview signal is too weak in some areas of the UK for TV aerials to pick it up. The digital switchover will strengthen the Freeview signal so that after the switch, many households will be able to watch Freeview for the first time without having to buy a new aerial.
Read our full guide to Will I need a new TV aerial? for more detailed information
- Digital switchover explained – everything you need to know about the digital switchover
- Digital radio switchover explained – the digital switchover affects radio as well
- Which? Local – the best place to find TV aerial installers
How to follow the latest Which? Tech news
Are you a Twitter user? Follow WhichTech on Twitter for regular tech tweets.
Prefer RSS? Don’t miss a thing with the Which? tech RSS feed.
For just the main headlines in newsletter form, sign-up to our weekly Which? tech email.
Apple iPad 2 3G data plans compared – find the best 3G plan for your iPad
Best Android tablets round-up – we look at the best iPad alternatives around
Best cheap laptops for under £500 – find the best laptop deals