U.K. Regulator: Dates Formalized For Analog TV Switch-off

Last week, at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge, England, Tessa Jowell, United Kingdom culture secretary, announced the formal timetable for U.K.'s analog to digital switchover. Viewers on the English-Scottish border will lose analog TV in three years, followed by West Country, HTV Wales and Granada in 2009. In 2010, HTV West, Grampian and Scottish Television will switch off analog TV. Yorkshire, Anglia and Central areas lose analog TV in 2011. In 2012, the rest of the U.K. will lose analog TV, specifically Meridian, Carlton/LWT (London), Tynee Tees and Ulster.

At the conference, Jowell said, "Digital television is no longer a probability, it is a certainty. And I believe it can leave us with a legacy of more choice, for more people, than anywhere else in the world. When a new technology comes along, Governments have two choices. And only two. They can follow it, trying to make retrospective sense of how society is changing as a result. Or they can be ahead of the curve, shaping the future and ensuring that the fruits of technology are evenly spread. We have chosen the latter course."

"The way is now set for U.K. television to become fully digital. Everyone should now take their decisions about how and when to go digital with confidence," Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson said.

The U.K. Department for Culture Media and Sport is taking steps to make sure the poorest eligible households will be able to receive free help in converting to digital reception.

Jowell said that 63 percent of U.K. households already have DTV. However, until analog channels are shut off, many households are not able to receive the full range of U.K. broadcast digital services.

More information is available in the Department for Culture news release Tessa Jowell Confirms Digital Switchover Timetable And Support for the Most Vulnerable.

IDTV.co.uk - "The U.K.'s first independent Freeview receiver site," said the announcement of a formal shutdown date for analog TV will boost IDTV sales in the article, IDTVs set to surge as switch off announced. It also includes a summary of data from the Ofcom 2005Q2 Digital Television Update. Also see the Ofcom press release Digital television U.K. household penetration reaches 63 percent.