More changes ahead for Freeview, and the beginning of the end

This week’s hot topic will most certainly be (come the end of it anyway, unless something major happens) will be the beginning of the end of analogue broadcasts for viewers.

Tomorrow at 2 in the morning, TV viewers in the town of Whitehaven in Cumbria will become the first place in Britain to have its analogue TV signals turned off. First off will be BBC Two, and by November 14th, all of the five terrestrial broadcasts will not be able to be received.

Digital TV - you can't escape it!Whilst the rest of the country has up until 2012 before this affects all, it’s still worth sorting this kind of thing now.

Many customers will already have their main telly equipped with , Virgin Media or . But don’t forget those other tellies around them home. They are also going to need the treatment. Set-top-boxes (STB) start pricewise at £30, up to £180, so it isn’t that killer to bring them up to date.

Do note, that the digital switch over does not affect radios (yet). Plans for their digital switchover is some way off. So don’t think that you have to toss them.

Personally, I have been using Freeview for a good few years, and can’t really complain. The channel range isn’t that bad, but the main advantage is the picture quality is so much, much, better.

I have been using Humax STBs and I think they are the best of the range of STBs available. The main reason why I forked out for the high-end priced STB from Humax is because it was able to record TV directly into the STB. So if the range, or I just wanted to pause what I was watching and comeback to a program later I could. This is very similar to the concept of Sky+, but unlike SKY+ I just paid for the box, and not a monthly fee for the pleasure of the facility to be available to me. You can get Humax decoders from or John Lewis online.

Also this week, a new channel called ‘Dave’ (Slogan: “everyone knows a bloke called Dave”) is hitting digital screens. So once again, you may have to rescan you STB to pick it up. Don’t worry though, despite the poor choice of name, it’s not a shopping channel, it’s more entertainment. Some shows available on Dave are Top Gear, Parkinson, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Room 101, QI, Have I Got for You and Little Britain. With the launch of Dave, UKTV History reduced its Freeview hours and UKTV Bright Ideas closed. The channel is available daily, from 7 am to 3 am, on all platforms.

So, if you need help or advice on the digital switch over, do ask on my next visit to you, afterall you’re going to have to deal with it at some point – the end has a start.

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