News and Features
Somerset prepares for digital TV
Parts of the county will start to go digital on 06 May 2009, so BBC Somerset has put together the ultimate guide to tell you all you need to know about the switchover here.
Mascot watching digital TV
When do I switch?
That depends on which area of Somerset you live in and which transmitter you pick up.
For most of Somerset, you will switchover on 24 March 2010 which is when the Mendip analogue transmitter is switched off.
If you live in the southern half of Somerset then your analogue digital signal will be switched off in spring 2009. The Stockland Hill transmitter, which serves parts of South West Somerset, will start switching from analogue to digital signals from Wednesday 6 May 2009. Some viewers in the Chard and Ilminster areas may also receive their television signal from the Stockland Hill transmitter group.
Bill Taylor, South West Regional Manager for Digital UK, says there’s an easy way to find out when you switch to digital. “If you get your local TV news from BBC Spotlight - that’s from Plymouth - and some folk in Somerset will, then you switch between May and September 2009. If you get your BBC TV news from Bristol, Points West, then you switch in 2010 – it’s as simple as that.”
Somerset County Council Trading Standards is warning people to be vigilant against people trying to cash in on some of the ignorance surrounding digital TV.
Analogue transmitters will be turned off
Andy Fowler from the trading standards team says: “We’re pretty concerned that this is an opportunity that could be exploited by the rogue trader who could be knocking on the doorsteps of, particularly, the vulnerable and try and get into their house to see if they need a new tv or even a new aerial.”
The message is that very few people will need a new TV or aerial to pick up digital, and that no-one with a legitimate part to play in the switchover process will be knocking door-to-door and trying to access peoples’ houses.
“We don’t want to alarm people but we do want people to be on their guard for anyone just knocking on the door, especially saying 'Can I come in and check if you need a new TV?' because that should ring alarm bells,” said Andy Fowler.
The basic ‘building block’
According to the communications watchdog Ofcom, 95% of households will be fine with the aerial they have at the moment and shouldn’t need any expensive upgrades to be able to receive digital TV.
If you have satellite of cable television provided then you are also set for digital already.
It is the minority who do not already have a digibox that need to make sure they get one if they want to continue getting television after the switchover in their area.
“The basic buiding block is a digital box,” says Bill Taylor from Digital UK in the south west.
“It’s important to say nobody needs a new TV - almost every TV in existence at the moment, including black and white ones, TVs without a scart socket, TVs with an inside aerial: they can all be converted to digital TV with a digital box.”
There are a small number of older set top Freeview boxes and "digital ready" TVs that will fail to receive a freeview signal after switchover in 2009. Here is a list of the products likely to be affected:
Early Freeview receivers and IDTVs expected to fail:
For more information on anything to do with the digital switchover in Somerset you can call the BBC Digital Helpline on 03700 10 10 10 or visit www.digitaluk.co.uk.
last updated: 05/05/2009 at 12:01