Switchover Information for Carmarthenshire
We’re taking random areas of the UK to see what the options are like for TV after the digital tv switchover, both the channel availability for Freeview and the availability of Sky, Virgin Media and BT Broadband/BT Vision services.
Carmel Transmitter Carmarthenshire
The Carmel transmitter switched to digital in two stages on 26th August and 23rd September 2009. Carmel has 18 relays and covers around 110,000 households, mainly in Camarthenshire but also covering parts of Pembrokeshire. It’s estimated by Digital UK that 63% of households in the Wales TV region can receive digital TV through an aerial pre-switchover, and this is predicted to rise to 98% able to receive around 17 channels after switchover and 73% able to receive more than that.
Our three random postcodes in the area are SA31 3JJ in Carmarthen or Caerfyrddin, SA70 8DX in Tenby or Dinbych-y-Pysgod and SA14 8SH in Llanelli, and when we tried these in the Digital UK postcode checker for methods of reception we found them very similar. For a one off payment you have Freeview, Freesat and Freesat from Sky and available subscription services are BT Vision and Sky – Top Up TV is also available in Carmarthen. These are the results we got using the BT, Virgin Media and Sky postcode checkers.
In the BT postcode checker the message was similar for all three of our test postcodes but with slightly varying speeds quoted.
For SA31 3JJ and SA70 8DX we got;
“We’ve just wwwed your line and can confirm your line supports the UK’s most complete broadband package, BT Total Broadband. We estimate your maximum connection speed to be up to 6.0 Mbps (Megabits per second).”
What does this mean? BT broadband is available to you and should be fast enough to be able to use BT Vision – you need a broadband speed that averages at least 2Mbps to use BT Vision. It’s advisable to check your own postcode to get your particular line speed.
The postcode SA14 8SH in Llanelli returned the same result with maximum connection speed of 4.5 Mbps.
For SA31 3JJ in Carmarthen and SA14 8SH in Llanelli we got “Based on the postcode you have entered there is a good indication you are in a Sky Broadband network area, where Sky Broadband Base, Everyday, and Unlimited are currently available. In order to join Sky Broadband you will need an active BT compatible phone line. Sky Broadband is exclusively available to Sky TV customers.”
What does this mean? All of the services offered by Sky are available to you.
For SA70 8DX in Tenby we got “Based on the postcode you have entered, there is a good indication that Sky Broadband Connect, is available in your area. Fast download speeds of up to 8Mb and a massive monthly usage allowance of 40GB can be yours now with Sky Broadband Connect. Please note: broadband speeds vary with location and line quality. In order to join Sky Broadband you will need an active BT compatible phone line.”
What does this mean? It means you can’t get the regular Sky broadband services as your exchange hasn’t been updated yet, but you can receive the 8MB Connect service – this doesn’t affect your ability to get Sky TV in the usual way using a Sky TV box and Sky dish. You need either a BT or Sky phone line – Sky will install a phone line for £10 and then £11.25 per month is charged. You can still take out any of the broadband TV packages but only with the Connect broadband rather than Base, Mid or Max.
The general rule with cable services like Virgin is you are likely to be able to get it in built-up areas and less likely in rural areas, so with Virgin Media more than any other service we recommend checking your own postcode here – it can vary from street to street.
All 3 postcodes returned the same message – “You’re not in a fibre optic area, but can still get our brilliant broadband down your phone line. With Virgin Broadband you can get the faswww broadband we can deliver down your phone line, up to 20Mb. Then, you can simply add any extras you want, including home phone. ”
What does this mean? As mentioned above, Virgin Media availability can vary from one street to the next, but in these three cases it means you can get Virgin Media broadband down your phone line but not their digital TV packages – they offer a Freeview box for £40 but this is not connected to the broadband (the way it would be with BT Vision), it’s just a Freeview box like any other you would get from a shop.
Our three postcodes varied on Freeview results in the amount of channels available and reception quality after Stage 1 (26th August) and Stage 2 (23rd September) of switchover. Carmarthen will have good reception at both stages, with 47 channels available now and after switchover, and a retune required at both stages. Here are the 47 channels that will be available;
Free Channels Available
- 4 Music
- Dave ja vu
- Virgin 1 *
- E4, E4+1
- Ideal World
- Gems TV
- Lottery Xtra
- Community Channel
- Teachers TV
- BBC News
- BBC Parliament
- Sky News
- Sky Sports News
- Russia Today
Subscription Channels Available
- TopUp Anytime 1,2,3 & 4
The outlook isn’t as good for Tenby and Llanelli where, according to Digital UK, there are 8 channels available with poor reception on Freeview after the first stage of switchover on August 26th (BBC1, 2, 3 and 4, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News and BBC Parliament) and then up to 19 at good reception after September 23rd. Here are the 19 channels that will be available;
- Community Channel
- BBC News
- BBC Parliament
- Caradon Hill Switchover
- Carlisle Switchover
- Carmarthenshire Switchover
- Cornwall Redruth Switchover
- Dumfries and Galloway Switchover
- Exeter Switchover
- Lincolnshire Switchover
- North Devon Switchover
- Preseli Switchover
- Sedgemoor Switchover
- Sheffield Switchover
- South Gloucestershire Switchover
- South Somerset Switchover
- Southwark Switchover
- Stoke Switchover
- Stroud Switchover
- Swansea Switchover
- Torbay Switchover
- Wenvoe Switchover
- Wyre Digital Switchover
Digital TV Packages
- Sky+ HD Starter
- Sky+ HD with Sky Movies
- Sky+ HD with Sky World
- Sky+ HD with Sky Sports
- Virgin TV L + Phone M
- Virgin Media TiVo Starter Bundle
- Virgin Media TiVo XL
- Top Up TV Favourites
- Top Up TV Complete Sports Pack
- BT Vision Gold Pack
- TV Essential + Broadband and Anytime Calls
- TV Unlimited + Broadband + Anytime Calls
Sky TV Starter Deal
Only £20 a month
Sky+ TV, broadband and calls £20 a month. Free Sky+ Box and set-up, up to 2MB broadband and included evening and weekend calls.
Virgin Value Bundle
£20 a month
This bundle has size ‘M+’ TV, that’s 65 channels, TiVo, On Demand & Catch-Up, 10Mb Broadband plus Phone with unlimited weekend calls! £20 a month plus line rental.
BT Vision Starter Deal
£18 a month
£4 a month first 4 months! > Free Vision+ Box > 20Mb Broadband – 10GB usage > Freeview, Catch-Up & Pay per View > Anytime calls > Online only offer
Top Up TV Favourites
£11.99 a month
Library of popular TV – over 700 shows to choose from each month including Life on Mars, Little Britain, Lost and many more. Top Up box from £39.99 – £20 set-up.