The digital switchover is a landmark in telecommunications history. All regions of the UK have now made the move from analogue to digital, massively transforming the range of TV channels and radio stations available across the country and ushering in new, interactive services that were not possible before.
Here we talk you through the switchover and explain what it means for the entertainment options available to you.
What is the digital switchover?
In a nutshell, the digital switchover is the process of turning off the analogue signal that has traditionally provided you with TV and replacing it with a digital signal.
The process started in 2009 and was complete by the end of 2012.
What are the advantages for consumers?
Moving to digital is a boon for UK consumers. Here are some of the positive changes it brought:
- More programmes to choose from on TV. With digital TV, everyone got at least 40 channels totally free of charge, including the five terrestrial channels. You'll also get the option to sign up for pay channel provider and get even more choice.
- A wider choice of radio stations.
- Extra interactive services.
- Better reception and picture quality.
*More room for new services such as wireless broadband, local TV and High Definition Television (HDTV).
These are just the improvements that affect everyone. The digital changeover also allows for improved subtitling, as well as additional audio accompaniment and sign language - all of which will has the scope to make programming more accessible to elderly and disabled viewers.
Paid-for digital TV services
Choose a TV package from Sky, Virgin Media and BT and alongside the channels everyone gets, you'll be able to subscribe to extra channels and services. These take in amazing premium channels, showing the best of domestic and international sport and the latest drama and comedy from the US. And you'll be able to combine your TV with broadband and telephone services and benefit from cheaper monthly outgoings too.
Digital TV with Sky
- Choose Sky's digital service and you get all the Freeview channels, and the likes of Sky Atlantic, Sky Living Comedy Central and FX as optional extras.
- On top of that you automatically receive more than 200 free-to-air digital channels, four times more than Freeview.
- All Sky boxes come with Sky+, so you can pause and rewind live TV.
- Sky+HD boxes let you access over 50 channels in HD.
Digital TV with Virgin Media
Here is a quick precis of what you get when you go digital with Virgin Media.
- Catch Up TV – that means you can watch the last 7 days' TV from BBC iPlayer, ITV Net Player and 4oD.
- Use of TV Choice on Demand, offering a huge library of shows, films and entire series that you can watch whenever you want.
- The option to add the likes Sky Sports, Sky Movies and more.
- A Tivo Box to enable you to pause and rewind live TV, plus the option to record programmes.
Digital TV with BT
- BT YouView boxes allow you to record, pause, rewind and record live TV.
- Catch up on terrestrial TV from commercial broadcasters and the BBC from the last seven days.
- HD movies on-demand.
- BT Vision+ customers can add Sky sports channels and ESPN to their TV package for an extra charge.
- A huge library of demand programming and movies.
- BT Sport free of charge, if you're a BT broadband customer.
Digital TV with TalkTalk
*TalkTalk offers YouView boxes for catching up on terrestrial TV and pausing, recording and rewinding live TV.
* Unlimited access to 4000 shows and films.
* Easy to use interface, so you can find what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.
* Add boosts for the best Sky channels and themed content.
* An impressive library of on-demand TV and movies.