Stroud Switchover

Switchover Information for Stroud, Gloucestershire

Stroud SwitchoverWe’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 digital TV packages.

Stroud

Stroud and much of the surrounding area is served by the Mendip transmitter in the West TV region, and this transmitter switches to digital in 2 stages on 24th March 2010 and 7th April 2010. Freeview availability pre-switchover is very limited in parts of Stroud but after switchover viewers should be able to receive 18 channels at time of writing, but this is rising all the time. Equipment will need to be retuned after each of the switchover dates above but in most cases this just involves following some on-screen instructions on your Freeview box or TV with built-in Freeview tuner – more information on that here.

What will happen when?

  • 24th March 2010 – BBC2 analogue switched off
  • 7th April 2010 – Remaining analogue channels switched off

As a focus we looked at genuine addresses and postcodes in the area, one in Stroud, one in Chalford and one in Nailsworth and when we tried these in the Digital UK postcode checker we found the same result for Stroud and Nailsworth – the methods of reception for a one off payment are Freeview, Freesat and Freesat from Sky and available subscription services are BT Vision and Sky – and Chalford was similar but there was also availability for the subscription service Top Up TV.

Freeview

The big difference between Stroud/Nailsworth and Chalford is in the amount of Freeview channels available. Both Stroud and Nailsworth receive a TV signal from their own relays of the Mendip transmitter (called Stroud and Nailsworth relays) and availability for Freeview before switchover on these relays is nothing, followed by 8 channels after stage 1 and 18 channels after stage 2. Chalford, on the other hand, using the Mendip transmitter itself, already has access to 63 Freeview channels and will have 62 from stage 1 of switchover onwards (strange to lose a channel – it’s the Community Channel that will no longer be available). Viewers in Stroud and Nailsworth will need to retune equipment on the 2 switchover dates only but those in Chalford will need to retune at some point in 2011 and in 2012 in order to maintain the channels they have. Freeview TV is received through your regular TV aerial (in certain cases an upgrade will be required but generally not) and some kind of Freeview tuner – this could be a standalone box from around £15 upwards to a TV or hard disc recorder with a Freeview tuner (or two) built in. If you’re going to use Freeview on its own rather than in conjunction with Sky, Virgin or BT then you need to consider having two tuners or you won’t be able to record one programme and watch another.

After switchover the Stroud and Nailsworth postcodes we checked will have the following Freeview channels available;

  • BBC1 (Stage 1)
  • BBC2 (Stage 1)
  • BBC3 (Stage 1)
  • BBC4 (Stage 1)
  • CBeebies (Stage 1)
  • CBBC (Stage 1)
  • BBC News (Stage 1)
  • BBC Parliament (Stage 1)
  • ITV1 (Stage 2)
  • 4 (Stage 2)
  • Five (Stage 2)
  • ITV2 (Stage 2)
  • More4 (Stage 2)
  • E4 (Stage 2)
  • ITV2+1 (Stage 2)
  • BBC HD (Stage 2)
  • ITV1 HD (Stage 2)
  • Rabbit (Adult) (Stage 2)

The Chalford postcode we checked will have these channels in addition to the above, before and after switchover;

  • ITV3
  • Sky3
  • Dave
  • Dave Ja Vu
  • Virgin1
  • Virgin1+1
  • ESPN (Paid)
  • Viva
  • ITV4
  • E4+1
  • Film4
  • Five USA
  • Fiver
  • G.O.L.D
  • Yesterday
  • Quest
  • Big Deal
  • Create Craft
  • Price Drop TV
  • Rocks Co
  • Home (Paid)
  • Top Up TV Anytime 1 (Paid)
  • Top Up TV Anytime 2 (Paid)
  • Top Up TV Anytime 3 (Paid)
  • CITV
  • QVC
  • Ideal World
  • Bid TV
  • Teachers TV
  • Super Casino
  • 1-2-1 Dating
  • Sky News
  • CNN
  • Sky Sports News
  • Russia Today
  • TV News
  • Red Hot (Adult – Paid)
  • TMTV (Adukt)
  • Smile TV (Adult)
  • Partyland (Adult)

These are the results we got using the Sky, Virgin Media and BT postcode checkers.

Sky

Sky Postcode Checker

For the Stroud postcode we got “Great news, Sky Broadband is currently available in your area. Based on the postcode you have entered there is a good indication you are in a Sky Broadband network area, where Sky Broadband Base, Mid, and Max are currently available. In order to join Sky Broadband you will need an active BT compatible phone line.”
What does this mean? All of the services offered by Sky are available to you. Some areas of the country can only get Sky Broadband Connect, which means you can’t get the regular Sky broadband services but you can receive the 8MB Connect service down the phone line, but in all of our postcode areas there’s a full Sky service available.

The message for the Nailsworth and Chalford postcodes was the same; “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 free of charge and then £10 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.

Virgin Media

Virgin Postcode Checker

All 3 postcodes got this 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? You can get Virgin Media broadband down your phone line but no cable TV services – 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. Because Virgin Media relies on each street being cabled there are large variations in availability, so it’s always worth checking your own postcode by clicking on the logo above.

BT

BT Postcode Checker

BT broadband is available for all of our test postcodes, the difference being the speed – for Stroud we got;
“Your exchange is ADSL enabled, and our initial check on your postcode indicates that your line should be able to have an ADSL broadband service that provides a fixed line rate up to 2Mbps.
Our check also indicates that your line currently supports a potential ADSL Max broadband line rate of 6.5Mbps or greater.
Our check also indicates that your line currently supports a potential ADSL2+ broadband line rate of 9Mbps or greater.
The actual stable ADSL line rate supportable will be determined during the first 10 days of use. This rate may change over time, to ensure line stability is maintained.
If you decide to place an order, a further www will be performed to confirm if your line is suitable for the service you wish to purchase.”
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 so both of these postcodes should be fine but it’s advisable to check your own postcode to get your own particular line speed.

The result for the postcode in Nailsworth was the same but the fixed line rate was 2Mbps and ADSL rates 6Mbps – no ADSL2+ but still fast enough to support BT Vision

The Chalford postcode didn’t return quite such a good result, we got;
“Your exchange is ADSL enabled, and our initial check on your postcode indicates that your line should be able to have an ADSL broadband service that provides a fixed line rate up to 1Mbps. However due to the length of your line the 1Mbps service may require an engineer visit who will, where possible, supply the broadband service. Our check also indicates that your line currently supports a potential ADSL Max broadband line rate of 3.5Mbps or greater.”
What does this mean? BT broadband is available to you and may be fast enough to be able to use BT Vision but you need a broadband speed that averages at least 2Mbps to use BT Vision so you need to have the speed checked by an engineer.

Please note that our switchover pages refer to the switchover dates and channel information at the time of writing, which is generally pre-switchover, and for most areas circumstances will have since changed.

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