The biggest challenge in the UK’s digital switchover programme begins today with the start of analogue switchover in London.
Analogue BBC Two was switched off last night allowing for a boost in DTT signals that should allow for Freeview reception for the 400,000 viewers in digital blackspots across London and the Home Counties.
The two-phase switch off will be completed in the London region on April 18 when the remaining analogue channels will be switched off.
Viewers reliant on DTT reception will need to retune their boxes both today and again on April 18.
Deborah Bain, London manager for Digital UK, said this morning: “This is the biggest day for TV in London since Crystal Palace started broadcasting 56 years ago. From today, thousands of viewers across the capital and beyond can receive more channels and better quality pictures”. She urged any viewers that had not made the change, not to leave it until the last minute.
An industry view was offered by Simon Woodward, CEO of digital TV specialist ANT Software who said consumers were not getting the full picture. “As London flips the switch from analogue to digital, UK consumers are opening their homes to the next generation of TV viewing experiences. But while there has been a lot of noise about the digital switchover itself, consumers still aren’t receiving the education and support they need to make the most of innovative new TV services. Many are investing in new devices, like connected TVs, but the key features remain unused”.
Digital UK has taken a number of bus sides on London’s famous double deckers to promote the switchover, but overall the focus has remained on terrestrial, rather than the satellite and cable alternatives.