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What is the Digital Switchover?

Starting in 2008 and ending in 2012, television services in the UK will turn completely digital region by region. After that time, you won’t be able to watch television on any set that hasn’t been converted to digital. This process is called the Digital Switchover. Please see the map below to find out when your region goes digital.

Switchover will happen over 2 different dates, which are typically about 2-4 weeks apart. Switchover date 1 is the date when BBC2 will switch from analogue to digital broadcasting. Switchover date 2 is when the rest of the analogue broadcasting services will switch to digital broadcasting. Note that different areas within each TV region (shown above) can switch at different times depending on which transmitter an aerial receives its TV signal from.

How do I check the actual date my region goes Digital?

Visit, and you will see the Postcode Checker on the home page. Here you need to enter your postcode and the name or number of your house. It is important to put the number in, as TV reception at the top of a hill can be very different to that at the bottom, and your house might share the same postcode. The postcode checker will confirm how many digital channels you are likely to receive through your aerial now and after switchover and provide you with the date of the switchover for your postcode (please note that the actual date is confirmed closer to the time). It also lists the channels, and the alternative digital platforms available at your address, so you can make an informed choice.

What is digital TV?

Digital TV is a broadcasting platform that uses less broadcast space than analogue. This means that there will be more room for new channels and services, such as:

  • On-screen listings
  • Interactive features i.e. the 'red' button
  • Digital radio
  • Additional premium channels
  • Broadband and telephony
  • High Definition Television (HDTV), which has more than the usual number of lines per frame, meaning that it can show more detail and therefore a better quality picture. But don't be confused by HD as going digital does not mean that you will automatically receive HDTV, a HD receiver must be in place and the services broadcast in HD for this to happen.

How do I “go digital”?

As switchover moves around the country you will need to convert all your TVs to digital. You can do this in the following way:

  • Buy an integrated digital TV (built in digital tuner).
  • Attach a set-top box or digital TV recorder to your TV’s
  • Make a one-off payment to satellite options provided by Freesat or Sky
  • Subscribe to chargeable services, such as those provided by Cable or Satellite.

How many channels will I receive?

Most households will be able to receive more than 40 Freeview channels through their aerial, whilst around 20 of the most-watched Freeview channels will be available elsewhere. Some people however, may still not receive digital TV; in this instance they may consider Satellite or Cable TV. Similarly, if you wanted more channels, you should also consider satellite or cable TV options.

Do I need a new aerial?

If you have good quality pictures on your analogue channels your aerial will probably be fine for switchover. Similarly, if you currently receive digital TV through your aerial but the signal is not very good, it should improve after switchover as the signal strength is being significantly increased. You can also check the signal checker on analogue Teletext page 284, or page 484 on S4C which will indicate whether your aerial might need looking at.

What about recording?

After the digital switchover VCRs and analogue DVD recorders will only be able to record the same channel that is being watched. A twin tuner Digital TV Recorder, also referred to as a "DTR", "Personal Video Recorder" or "PVR", will enable you to record a different TV channel to the one being watched, whilst also allowing you to pause and rewind "live" TV at the touch of a button (commonly known as Freeview +). Like a set top box it can also be used to convert an analogue TV to digital signal through an existing aerial. These products usually record programmes onto a hard disk, like a computer. There are a range of different sizes available dictating the hours of TV that can be recorded and stored on the device.

Retune, retune, retune......

Retuning is an integral part of receiving digital TV through your aerial. It is important to make it a habit to retune once a month, or even more regularly if new channels launch, to make sure your digital box or digital TV is kept up to date with the latest channels and services. At the time of switchover everyone watching digital TV through an aerial needs to retune at each of the two switchover dates. Failing to do so may result in services being lost or not updated.

Support and advice

If you have any questions about the Digital Switchover please contact one of the following:

  • Asda Electrical Helpdesk
  • Telephone: 0844 481 5000
  • Digital UK
  • Website:
  • Telephone: 08456505050
  • Freeview
  • Website:
  • Telephone: 08701 111 270