WITH just weeks to go until the first analogue TV signals are switched off in Northern Ireland, The Coleraine and Ballymoney and Moyle Times have teamed up with Digital UK to provide readers with this special guide to digital TV switchover.
Digital TV switchover is the biggest change in television since the introduction of colour. Analogue signals are about to be switched off and replaced with new digital services. This will make Freeview available for the first time to thousands of homes watching local ‘relay’ transmitters in areas such as Ballycastle, Lisbellaw, Newcastle and Armagh.
Viewers in many areas will also be able to receive Republic of Ireland services (TG4, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two) via either Freeview or Saorview.
Digital UK is the independent organisation set up by the broadcasters to lead the switchover. It provides an advice line and website to help with general questions about getting digital TV and preparing for the switchover.
Denis Wolinski, Digital UK’s National Manager for Northern Ireland, says: “Switchover will change forever how television is broadcast.
“I’m delighted that, very soon, viewers who have previously been unable to get Freeview services will be able to do so for the first time. Most people are well prepared; but for those who still have questions, we are here to help.”
How will switchover happen?
SWITCHOVER will happen in two stages.
If you currently receive your TV signal through an aerial, in either analogue or digital format (e.g. Freeview, Top Up TV, BT Vision), you will need to make a note of the information below. Televisions connected to a cable or satellite service are not affected by switchover.
Stage one – 10 October 2012:
In the early hours, analogue BBC Two will be switched off and replaced with a new digital signal. Local ‘relay’ TV transmitters will also start to broadcast the BBC’s other digital channels for the first time.
Readers switching to digital for the first time via Freeview, Top Up TV or BT Vision will now be able to set up their equipment. Homes already watching these services should retune their digital boxes or IDTVs.
Stage two – 24 October 2012:
All remaining analogue channels will be switched off and replaced with additional digital services. Everyone watching Freeview, Top Up TV or BT Vision will need to retune their equipment again to receive all available channels.
On both dates, these changes will happen overnight. For most viewers, services will be restored by the morning. Households receiving their TV signal from local relay transmitters will receive new digital services later in the day and should tune in for the first time or retune from this point.
After switchover, most viewers will be able to get TG4, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two via an aerial, either from Freeview in Northern Ireland (HD equipment required) or via Saorview – the Republic of Ireland digital TV service.