Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has urged the public to prepare for the switch over to Digital TV which is due to take place in October of this year.

With most of East Antrim receiving their TV signals for secondary relay transmitters, Roy Beggs MLA 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. The analogue television signal is being switched off across the United Kingdom. In Northern Ireland the BBC 2 signal will be switched off on the 10th October this year and on the 24th October all other channels will disappear.

Mr Beggs said:

“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. During the briefing I was advised that digital switchover would mean  the loss of analogue BBC2 from the main transmitters on 10th October and its replacement by new digital signals.  The other analogue channels from the main transmitter would run for a further 2 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.

The East Antrim Ulster Unionist MLA added:

“My advice would  firstly, be prepared well before the October deadline.  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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