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The end of analog TV in Britain begins

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 22 Oct 2007 0:23 User comments (6)

The end of analog TV in Britain begins Last week Whitehaven, on England's northwest coast, became the first region in the U. K. to begin the transition away from analog television when BBC Two's signal was shut off, to be replaced shortly after with multiple digital channels. By mid-November all analog TV signals in the town will be replaced as well.
Unlike the U. S. or Japan where the entire country will lose all analog signals at one time, in the U. K. the transition will be gradual. It won't be complete for another 5 years. But don't take the transition's slow pace as a sign that the public won't be prepared. According to Digital U. K., the government entity created to shephard the country through this transition, more than 80% of primary television sets are already digital.

"We were the first to plan the switch to digital TV, but other countries have overtaken us," acknowledges Digital U.K.'s director of corporate affairs Simon Crine. "Most of Sweden, Finland and Germany have made the switch to digital. France is in the middle of planning, but they are likely to complete the switch before us."

Source: Variety

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6 user comments

122.10.2007 6:05
cousinkix
Inactive

Same here in the western USA. We already have several TV stations that broadcast both analog and digital signals. The government is gonna start advertising a digital converter box for low income people. There will be no more analog TV signals in the beginning of 2009...

222.10.2007 7:00

Quote:
According to Digital U. K., the government entity created to shephard the country through this transition, more than 80% of primary television sets are already digital.
- hmmm, i very much doubt that figure of 80%, can't see 80% of our country's poor (and i mean poor in the monetary sense) old grannies having digital TV's and/or digital boxes of some kind.. but guess it's time to start letting go of the Analog signal now, though am guessing the BBC are going to come up with ever devious plans to squeeze more money out of our beloved TV licence..



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322.10.2007 13:10

Originally posted by creaky:
hmmm, i very much doubt that figure of 80%, can't see 80% of our country's poor (and i mean poor in the monetary sense) old grannies having digital TV's and/or digital boxes of some kind.. but guess it's time to start letting go of the Analog signal now, though am guessing the BBC are going to come up with ever devious plans to squeeze more money out of our beloved TV licence..

Well the BBC are already crowing about the government refusing to bump up the licence fee. As much as the BBC is still a popular service - especially to the older generation - I think the time will come when common sense will prevail and we switch to a completely commercially driven alternative to this "Wasteful dinosaur" of broadcasting.

Back on-topic, it's a great idea. The switch of from analogue channels will free up more broadcasting space for digital terrestrial broadcasts. More choice to the masses.

422.10.2007 13:25
hughjars
Inactive

Originally posted by simpsim1:
I think the time will come when common sense will prevail and we switch to a completely commercially driven alternative to this "Wasteful dinosaur" of broadcasting.
- Christ no.

No way (if people have the slightest ounce of sense).

Anyone who has ever seen US commercial TV to know the difference wouldn't touch an all-commercial set up in the UK in a million years.

'Sh*te' is not the word for it (it's too 'kind').

Ad breaks so frequent and long as to make the program unwatchable (worse even than 'our' satellite TV......and they're so bad you can forget what you were watching by the time the ads end!).

They say familiarity breeds contempt.......and if ever there was a case of that being true it applies to the BBC and some in the UK.

The Beeb is a great bargain, 130p.a. effectively compared to a full Sky package of 45 per month = 540p.a. or 660 with the HD upgrade, and the Beeb is well known throughout the world for excellence and quality.
It's really only right-wing idiots in the tory party & tory press who whinge on and on and on about BBC 'waste' (of course it's not perfection.....but which business/human construct ever is, hmmmm?).
It's thanks to the competition the Beeb has provided for decades that UK commercial TV is watchable at all IMO.
We lose it at our peril.

Thankfully with an aging population that's unlikely to happen no matter what the 'airhead' MTV-youth generation might prefer.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Oct 2007 @ 15:22

522.10.2007 18:40

Okay you raised valid points, but we brits are far more conservative in our viewing habits than the US to allow programming to decline. The main area where commercial TV exceeds publicly funded TV is accountability.... A staion falls behind with standards, ratings go down, sponsors drop, the channel has to raise it's game to stay afloat. ITV and Channel 4 have in the past fallen foul of this and know enough now to keep standards high. The BBC has no such accountability. The funding never stops no matter if (or how far) standards slip. In fact we the licence payers are continually stumping up more money per year. Now the BBC are cutting it's programming and hundreds of jobs because the government is telling it that for once it has to make do with less.

Originally posted by hughjars:
It's really only right-wing idiots in the tory party & tory press who whinge on and on and on about BBC 'waste' (of course it's not perfection.....but which business/human construct ever is, hmmmm?).
I wasn't going to introduce politics into this at all, but if you insist, I'll try to be as unbiased as possible. I guess the beeb has had a fairly easy ride up until now, thanks to a traditionally left-leaning government, but you can't just throw endless money down a pit and expect nobody to complain about it. It seems even the left-wingers are calling time on this, not just the tories.

Also the issue of choice is at stake here. People of all generations like to have a choice of what to watch and not just to be restricted to soaps and news programs (All mainstream channels responsible for this, not just the BBC) which is where digital TV is excelling. As well as the popular stuff on mainstream TV and the MTV stuff you mentioned, there is also a wealth of factual TV, as well as programming to suit virtually any taste. Sure we're paying more for that with subscriptions, but we have a choice in whether we want to do that. With the licence fee you get no such choice, which in my book, makes it a tax, rather than simply a payment for a service and people are rightly very concerned about how their tax is being spent right now. That's not just because of "Tory" media, but because ordinary people want choice and want to know that they are getting value for money. Or perhaps we shouldn't know and just accept what programming were given and that we have to pay so much a year for it without arguing.

OMG look at me I'm off-topic again. The choice issue is definately the point here and it's why the big analogue switch off is happening. This has been driven mainly by consumer power, in their desire for a wider choice of viewing.

624.10.2007 6:28

Well i am sure that other countries will be watching this transition period quite highly to see how it flows if its smooth change or not. I just hope that we learn from it in Australia and make the transition as smooth and affordable for consumers of TV sets.

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