THE digital TV switchover is on track and under budget, says David Scott, chief executive officer of Digital UK. The timetable for implementation of the switchover in Britain, announced in 2005, is progressing according to plan. By end of March 2010, 20% of households in the UK had been transferred to digital terrestrial television with an access to Freeview. By 2011, 40% of homes would have undergone the switchover and by the end of 2012, 98.5% of households will have digital terrestrial TV coverage.
The project is under budget by £55 million, said Mr Scott, which is an important achievement since some costs of the switchover are paid by TV licence payers.
Mr Scott said that most viewers didn’t need help with switchover. Those who contacted Digital UK (around 1%) had concerns regarding retuning of Freeview equipment. In the border areas (eg Wirral and Welsh borders) there is some signal overlapping in which case manual re-tuning is required.
The current priorities for the Digital UK include launching communications campaigns for 11 million households across STV Central, Yorkshire, West Midlands and Anglia and working with Arquiva to deliver transmitter upgrades for London, Meridian, Tyne Tees and Ulster regions. The regional campaigns are delivered by locally-based teams bringing together charities, retailers and local authorities and Switchover Help Scheme. Digital Switchover has also brought together Age Concern, Help the Aged (now Age UK), Community Service Volunteers and Collective Enterprises ltd in a £7million partnership and joint venture of public and private sectors, Digital Outreach.
According to recent research conducted by Digital UK among viewers over a quarter of people (26%) who got digital TV became more confident about using technology generally. Among older people (65+) this increased to 31%. 64% of those who become more confident said that are planning to try other new technologies as a result, such as digital cameras or use the internet.