There are just two weeks to go until the first stage of digital switchover takes place in the West TV region and we are now entering the final wave of our communications campaign, which will ensure viewers know when it is happening and what to do.
Latest research indicates that nine out of ten homes served by the Mendip transmitter group, covering Bristol, parts of Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire are ready for switchover, but some still need to get ready or risk having a blank screen.
Two-stage process: Switchover is a two-stage process, which begins on Wednesday, 24 March and ends on Wednesday, 7 April and will make Freeview available from all relay transmitters in the area for the first time.
Viewers who get their signal from a relay transmitter will see their line-up of terrestrial TV channels increase from four or five to around 15. Once it is complete, Freeview coverage in the West TV region will have been extended to reach 99 per cent of households.
Retuning: Viewers with digital TVs or using Freeview, Top Up or BT Vision boxes will need to retune their equipment at both stages of switchover. As was the case with analogue TV, some viewers may find they can receive more than one regional version of BBC and ITV channels. Viewers can make their preferred services easier to find by using either the ‘favourites’ list or manually retuning their equipment. Guidance on retuning and selecting your preferred regional service is available from the Digital UK website and advice line.
SWITCHOVER HELP SCHEME ASSISTANCE
There is still time for eligible older and disabled people to apply for help from the Switchover Help Scheme (helpscheme.co.uk). For £40 (or free for those on income-related benefits), people aged 75 and over, eligible for certain disability benefits, registered blind or partially sighted or living in care homes are entitled to receive practical help to switch one TV set to digital, including a choice of equipment, installation and aftercare. Eligible people can receive help for a second set even if they have already converted a TV by themselves.
The Help Scheme has written directly to everyone who is eligible – people must respond to get the help. The Help Scheme’s Regional Manager, Caroline Byng, can be contacted on 07590 306930 and would be happy to help with any questions you may have in the run-up to switchover.
Other support: At the two stages of switchover there will be advice points where people can drop in for face-to-face help. There will also be roadshows at both stages of switchover in Bath, Bristol, Swindon, Taunton and Weston-Super-Mare.
As always, if there is any matter that I can help you with concerning switchover, then please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to discuss it with you.
South West Regional Manager, Digital UK
phone 01963 350596