The final preparations have begun for the first switchover to digital television in the UK however, according to recent research carried out by Virgin Media, one in ten people were unaware of the historic switchover and a further two thirds of respondents questioned admitted they weren't prepared for the transition.
What’s more, a further 15% refused to ditch their old analogue TV in favour of a digital one. However, as Britain switches over, there are concerns that some householders will suffer as a result of the digital revolution. James Kydd, Managing Director of marketing at Virgin Media, explains: “TV is changing so rapidly, it's not surprising consumers feel unprepared, but now is the perfect time to upgrade to digital and get to grips with the technology in time for the switchover.”
To make sure that consumers in other regions are well-prepared the National Consumer Council (NCC) has requested that consumers receive clearer information made available on the high street so there is no misunderstanding about what they are buying. There is also a demand for ‘robust consumer protection measures’ to help avoid consumers being ripped off by possible rogue traders and distraction burglaries as well as ensuring that landlords do not pass on unreasonable costs to tenants.
Alison Hopkins, Expert on Digital Switchover at NCC comments: “We are concerned that as digital switchover rolls-out, some people might get left behind or ripped-off in the process. And although there is a help scheme available for the most vulnerable, not everyone who needs help will be eligible for it.”
In a move to make the switch hassle-free and with as few interruptions to TV viewing as possible, anyone who is aged 75 or over, severely disabled, blind or partially sighted will receive equipment to convert their TV set, as well as receiving help with installation and follow-up support. However, despite the buzz over digital, in the postcode lottery, some homes may be able to watch more channels than others depending purely on which region they live in.
BBC Two will be the first station to go with the remaining analogue channels being permanently switched off in four weeks time. UK households will then be able to receive 18 channels as standard, including BBC News 24, Film Four and CBeebies.
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