Digital Switchover

The map below shows the 14 TV areas of the UK and which year each area is expecting to switch off the analogue TV signal.

Digital Switchover Map

  • Border Nov 2008 – 2009
  • West Country April 2009 – Sept 2009
  • Granada 2009
  • Wales 2009 – 2010
  • STV North 2010
  • STV Central 2010 – 2011
  • West 2010 – 2011
  • Central 2011
  • Yorkshire 2011
  • Anglia 2011
  • Meridian 2011 – 2012
  • London 2012
  • Tyne Tees 2012
  • Ulster 2012
  • Channel Islands 2012

What Do I Need for the Switchover?

When it comes to the question of equipment, almost all televisions are capable of displaying digital TV, as long as they have some way of receiving the signal. Your old TV has an analogue tuner which currently picks up the 5 terrestial channels through your aerial – this is what will gradually be switched off between now and 2012, so you need to replace it with Freeview (via a set-top box or by buying a TV with Freeview built in) if you want cheap digital TV, or a satellite or cable subscription or a service which provides TV through your broadband like BT Vision. So, your TV is probably safe for now, but when you come to buy your next one you will need to consider firstly “Do I want a built-in digital tuner?”, to which the answer is yes, preferably two to enable you to watch one and record another, and secondly “Do I want HD TV?” – you can see a selection of great TV deals here.

Recording-wise on Digital TV Switchover your current recorder, be it DVD, hard disc or good old-fashioned VHS, will be able to record all of the digital channels you receive but remember a VCR, like your old telly, picks up the terrestial channels through it’s analogue tuner, which will no longer work. This means you’ll only be able to watch the channel you’re recording and vice versa, but there are several ways to get round this. On Freeview you can have two tuners (a set-top box or TV with two tuners, or one in your box and one in the TV), or you could opt for a single tuner set-top box coupled with a hard disc/DVD recorder with a Freeview receiver built-in – in a nutshell you need two tuners to receive two different channels at the same time. Sky, Virgin and BT Vision all offer PVR or Personal Video Recorder services like Sky+, Virgin V+ and the V-Box too.

Information on Digital Switchover

The main government website for the switchover is Digital UK, and there are many specialist help areas too, such as information on the Digital Switchover Help Scheme which can provide free installation and equipment to people over 75 and those with certain disabilities.

Digital Switchover Trivia

The first place in the UK to have the analogue signal switched off was Whitehaven in the Copeland area of Cumbria, on 14th November 2007. The first channel to go was BBC 2 on October 17th 2007. The MP for Copeland is Jamie Reed, who said “All eyes will be on Whitehaven, and Digital UK must continue it’s good work and make sure it gets the switchover right”. Reed is also chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Digital Switchover. An excellent guide to the channels available to each area of the UK can be found here.

Sky TV Starter Deal
Only £20 a month

Sky+ TV, broadband and calls £20 a month. Free Sky+ Box and set-up, up to 2GB broadband usage and included evening and weekend calls.

Visit site »

Virgin Value Bundle
£20 a month

Virgin TV M+

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.

Visit site »

BT Vision Starter Deal
£17 a month

BT TV, Broadband and Calls

£25 Sainsburys Gift Card > Free Vision+ Box > 16Mb Broadband – 10GB usage > Freeview, Catch-Up & Pay per View > Anytime calls > Online only offer

Visit site »

Top Up TV Favourites
£11.99 a month

Top Up TV TV Favourites

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.

Visit site »