Prepare for digital switchover – Beggs

Published on Wednesday 22 February 2012 15:13

EAST Antrim MLA Roy Beggs has urged the public to prepare for the switch over to Digital TV, due to take place in October 2012.

With most of the constituency receiving their TV signals from secondary relay transmitters, Mr Beggs has warned that residents of Whitehead, Glynn, Larne and the Glens could face sudden TV blackout in October unless they take advance action to put the right equipment in place.

In Northern Ireland, the BBC 2 signal will be switched off on October 10 this year and on October 24 all other analogue channels will disappear.

“I recently attended a briefing at Stormont from DigitalUK to explain how the switchover to Digital TV would operate in Northern Ireland – the ‘Switchover Help Scheme’. It is really important that people in East Antrim are up to speed with the major changes in television which are happening later this year,” Mr Beggs said.

“During the briefing I was advised that digital switchover would mean the loss of analogue BBC2 from the main transmitters on October 10 and its replacement by new digital signals. The other analogue channels from the main transmitter would run for a further two weeks in conjunction with the digital signals giving an overlapping period.

“However those of us who are served from secondary relay transmitters will have no such luxury. In this case all existing analogue signals will abruptly end and be replaced by digital.”

People who currently only receive the five terrestrial channels – BBC One, BBC 2, UTV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – need to convert their TV to digital or they will be unable to view any channel.

Those who already have freeview, BT Vision or Top Up TV will need to retune at each stage of the switchover, whilst those who have Sky TV, Freesat from Sky, Freesat or Virgin Media do not need to take any action.

“My advice is to be prepared well before the October deadline,” Mr Beggs added. “Secondly check with the Switchover Help Scheme to see if you are eligible for a free upgrade or the £40 assistance subsidy.

“Letters will be issued automatically by the Department of Health in April of this year outlining the help that will be available under the Switchover Help Scheme and I would encourage all those who are eligible to avail of it.”

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