London TV switchover has begun

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
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Freeview viewers reminded to retune as signal is boosted to reach all areas

The biggest change to television in a generation is underway as the UK’s largest digital switchover begins today across the London TV region.

Analogue BBC Two was turned off last night at Crystal Palace and other transmitters across the region, marking the start of a process that will see Freeview coverage boosted to reach all areas.

From today, more than 400,000 viewers in former digital blackspots across Greater London and much of the Home Counties can receive Freeview channels for the first time.

Homes already watching Freeview will need to retune their TVs and boxes in order to regain their BBC services, which are missing this morning.

Digital switchover will be completed in the London region on 18 April when the remaining analogue channels will be switched off. Channel 5 and further Freeview channels from ITV and Channel 4 will then be available from local transmitters for the first time.

The Switchover Help Scheme is still welcoming applications from eligible older and disabled people to get help to convert one television, including a choice of equipment, installation and aftercare. For those who have already signed up, the Help Scheme call centre is available to help with any problems and can be contacted on 0800 40 85 900.

Deborah Bain, London Manager for Digital UK, said this morning: “This is the biggest day for TV in London since Crystal Palace started broadcasting 56 years ago. From today, thousands of viewers across the capital and beyond can receive more channels and better quality

“Anyone who still hasn’t switched to digital should prepare for 18 April when the last analogue channels will be permanently switched off. We urge everyone to get ready now – don’t leave it until the last minute.”

Digital UK, the body leading switchover, continues to provide support through local advice points, as well as its website and advice line. Switchover roadshows are also running today and tomorrow in Basildon, Croydon, Enfield, Guildford, Hackney, Harlow, High Wycombe, Sevenoaks, Slough, Southend-on-Sea and Watford.