As the region’s last digital switchover completes in Plymouth, parts of Devon and east Cornwall, digital TV is now available through an aerial to 96% of households in West Country, up from just 63% when switchover began at Torbay in April.
All terrestrial TV signals were turned off shortly after midnight and a team of engineers worked through the night on the switch to all-digital TV services. Analogue services will remain switched off permanently, allowing new Freeview channels to be broadcast from 29 local relay transmitters serving areas such as Tavistock, Plympton and Kingsbridge for the first time.
Viewers receiving their signal from relays will see the number of TV channels available free via an aerial increase from four to around 20.
When the transition is completed later today, Freeview, BT Vision and Top Up TV equipment should be retuned in order to receive all the channels available.
Digital TVs or analogue sets converted with a digital box will be able to receive BBC One, BBC Two, ITV1, Channel 4 and Five – plus additional digital channels, digital text and radio services.
Bill Taylor, Digital UK’s South West Regional Manager, said: “This is a truly historic moment for television in the West Country. Later today, the last analogue signals will be shut down from local transmitters and almost everyone will be able to receive Freeview. With satellite and cable also available, viewers across the West Country finally have a choice of ways to get digital TV.”
Digital UK, the independent body leading switchover, continues to provide support through local advice points (see notes), its website (digitaluk.co.uk) and helpline (08456 50 50 50). A switchover roadshow is also running today in Place de Brest, High Street, Plymouth.
The Switchover Help Scheme is still welcoming applications from eligible older and disabled people to get help to convert one television – including a choice of equipment, installation and aftercare. But they need to act now, because they can only apply for up to a month after today until 8 October. Eligible people who have already converted a TV set without the Help Scheme can still apply to convert a second set. Viewers can contact the Help Scheme on 0800 40 85 900.
Caroline Byng, Regional Manager for the Help Scheme in the West Country, said: “Although switchover in the West Country has gone smoothly the Help Scheme is never complacent about reaching everyone that needs our help. Anyone that thinks they could be eligible or anyone who knows they are entitled to our help but hasn’t been in touch so far should contact the Scheme before the 8th October”.
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