Old style, analogue televisions will need a digital tuner set-top box added.
(Picture by avlxyzused under CC license)

Nothing but a snowy picture will be left on some TV screens in Whitchurch and the surrounding area this February, as the analogue signals are turned off for good. In the early 2000s, digital television transmitters started being used alongside the analogue ones. But now the time has come to turn off the old system.

This means that if you have an older style television without a digital tuner then you will have to buy an add-on digital tuner or a whole new television. Alternatively, you might decide to forego a television altogether – as 3.3% of UK households do. According to the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board there are half a million households with analogue televisions.

The Hannington transmitter tower is north of Whitchurch.
(Picture by Hooch used under CC license)


Even if you already have a digital tuner in your television – as most TVs manufactured in the past 10 years do – then a retuning of it will be necessary: the transmitted digital signals will also be adjusted to give the best signals to as many households in the area.


Seniors in Whitchurch should have already received an information packet in the post from digitaluk which details the switch-over and offers a paid-for service to upgrade televisions.

Often, though, you can do the upgrade yourself by purchasing a digital set-top box which connects between the television’s SCART plug and the antenna socket on the wall.

Sometimes, a new antenna will be required to receive the highest quality signal. Alternatively, a free satellite television service call FreeSat is also available – but you will need to install a satellite dish in order to receive this signal.

Many details are available from Digital UK which is the not-for-profit company leading the UK’s switchover to digital television. Consumer magazine Which? also has information HERE.
A list of cheap digital tuner boxes is available HERE. Which? magazine lists its choices of digital boxes HERE (subscription required). Information about the free digital satellite service is HERE.
There are 27.1 million homes in the UK as of January 2012 according to the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board, of which 26.2 million have televisions. There are about 500,000 analogue televisions in the country. See BARB.
The schedule for the digital switch-over for the Hannington transmitter which serves Whitchurch is HERE.
Facts and figures on TV license takeup is HERE. An overview of technical details of digital television are HERE.

A video showing the shutdown of the analogue transmitters in Lichfield (Hints) is on YouTube HERE:

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