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The Digital TV Switchover Page

Presented in association with the Digital Outreach Programme from Age Concern Morgannwg on behalf of Digital UK


The Digital Switchover Help Scheme from the BBC


The Digital TV switchover is now complete!


Digital TV Switchover has affected everyone who receives their TV programmes through an aerial – including the few who could already pick up Freeview before. But viewers who get all their TV channels by satellite through a Sky or FreeSat dish, or via cable from Virgin (formerly known as NTL and CableTel) were not affected. Radio is also continuing as normal.

Gtfm teamed-up with Age Concern Morgannwg and the BBC's Switchover Help Scheme to explain the process in this area, which was organised by Digital UK, starting on Wednesday 3rd March 2010 and finishing on Wednesday 31st March. This included a 'countdown' to the switchover dates when everyone who watches tv through an aerial had to do something with their receiving equipment to keep watching their favourite programmes.


Gtfm's Station Manager answered Gtfm listener questions with information provided by the experts. You can contact him on weekdays on 01443 406111 or email any time to terry@gtfm.co.uk.


The Digital Switchover Help Scheme from the BBC

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GTFM Streaming Podcast

Digital Switchover Help Scheme

posted on Monday, February 22, 2010.
Duration: 4mins 22 secs

Click the 'play' arrow above to hear Melfyn Roberts, the Switchover Helpscheme's

Manager for Wales, talking to Gtfm's Alun Jones about the scheme.

Click below to go straight to the Help Scheme Website


BBC Help Scheme: www.helpscheme.co.uk

Digital UK: www.digitaluk.co.uk



This is what happened:             

Stage 1 - took place on Wednesday 3rd March 2010


At 1am on Tuesday 2nd March the BBC Two Wales analogue signal was switched off. Once this had happened anyone without a Freeview box or TV with built in Freeview (or a Sky, FreeSat of Virgin cable box) has not been able to receive that channel. The other three analogue stations remained on the air until 31st March - though ITV1 analogue moved to the BBC2 button on analogue TV's, which caught us all by surprise!  Meanwhile BBC One Wales and S4C analogue stations stayed in their usual places until all three were switched off early on 31st March.

Since 3rd March the BBC Freeview Multiplex* has been broadcasting right across the Valleys area, carrying BBC One Wales, BBC Two Wales, BBC News, BBC Three, BBC Four and two daytime childrens channels.

Finally, if you could already pick up Freeview before 3rd March, then lost your BBC channels, you had to 're-scan' your Freeview receiver to find the BBC channels on their new post-switchover TV frequency.


Stage 2 - took place on Wednesday 31st March 2010


Not long after midnight on Tuesday 30th March the remaining three analogue stations - BBC One Wales, ITV 1 Wales and S4C were turned off and replaced by the remaining Freeview channels. All viewers then had to re-tune their Freeview boxes or Digital TV's, once their local transmitter was modified, which took until mid afternoon in some areas including Tonyrefail.

As a result of digital switchover, everybody should now be able to pick up around 15 digital TV channels including (English) Channel 4 and the all-Welsh language version of S4C. These two digital services replaced the single mixed language programme schedule previously broadcast by S4C analogue. Other channels appearing everywhere for the first time included ITV2, five, More 4, BBC News, BBC Three, BBC Four and daytime childrens channels 'CBBC' and 'CBeebies'. ITV2+1 and C4+1 will also be available, channels which show the programmes on ITV2 and Channel 4 an hour later than the main channel.

Viewers able to pick up direct signals from the Wenvoe main transmitter, or the relay at Aberdare, can pick up more than twice the number of Freeview channels than viewers to the other Valleys relays, including E4, ITV 3 & ITV 4. This is because the commercial broadcasters couldn't afford the very high cost of installing new transmitters at all of the many hundreds of UK relay transmitter sites, deciding instead to use the network of 81 sites which carried the original low-power version of Freeview, reaching around 85% of the UK population. Please note however that if you used to be able to receive analogue TV from Wenvoe, but couldn't pick up the much weaker Freeview signal before the switch, you should now be able to receive at least the main 'public service' BBC and ITV/C4 channels from Wenvoe because these channels are now operating at high power. However, two of Wenvoe's commercial channel multiplexes will remain on temporary frequencies at lower power until sometime next year.


The Good News is that all tv's can be converted to show the digital programmes

Listeners who found themselves looking at a blank tv screen found all they had  to do was add an inexpensive Freeview box to their TV set to get your favourite programmes back! The exact type of box you’ll need will depend on whether your TV already has an ‘AV’ socket (or sockets) on it, or just an aerial socket. Most TV's do have at least one 'Audio Visual' (AV) input in addition to the one you use to connect the rooftop aerial. The most common type is a large rectangular socket with one end sloping, called a 'Scart' socket into which a 21 pin Scart plug is inserted. The plug on the other end of the connecting lead is then plugged in to a similar socket on the Freeview box (the same as for a DVD player or Sky Box).

Switched adapters are also available so you can connect several pieces of equipment to a single Scart (or similar) socket on your TV. Finally, to watch programmes coming to your TV set through an AV connection, you usually have to press an 'AV' or 'Aux' button on the TV remote control, though some sets switch over automatically when you turn the Freeview box on. Any Freeview box should be suitable for a TV with at least one scart socket, with prices starting from around £15.

But if your TV only has an aerial socket on it, look out or ask for a Freeview box with a built in 'modulator'. It should say if it has one of these on the box or in the instructions. The modulator is needed to turn the digital TV programme received by the Freeview box into an analogue TV signal, which is then fed to your TV set through the aerial socket. The TV then picks up the Freeview box signal like any other analogue TV station, so you can 'tune it in' on one of the now 'empty' TV channel buttons. To change TV channels you use the Freeview box remote control, in the same way as everybody else.

Please note that some old Digital set-top boxes designed to pick up 'On Digital' or 'ITV Digital', the forerunners of Freeview, will have stopped working after switchover - even if they worked ok on the pre-switchover Freeview service. The Digital UK website has more information about which models will be affected.

Of course, many newer flatscreen Plasma and LCD tv's already have a built-in Freeview receiver which won't have been working in much of the South Wales Valleys area before the switch because the Freeview signal wasn't available. If you have one of these TV's you won't need to buy a seperate Freeview box, unless you want to convert a second TV set, or keep using a video tape recorder. These TV's should now be able to pick up all the Freeview channels available at your location, but you will need to tell it to 'scan' for channels so it can find them. This is usually achieved by selecting 'Installation', or 'Auto Tune' from the TV's menu.


*A digital multiplex is a clever way of squeezing several TV stations into the single TV channel, formerly occupied by just one analogue station. This is how just four analogue TV channels can be replaced by at least 15 digital ones, plus some in High Definition.



Freeview HD (High Definition) - is also available now!

Freeview HD is now being broadcast by all transmitters, initially carrying the BBC and ITV HD channels.

But the service will eventually consist of four or five High Definition channels.

To pick up Freeview HD you'll need an HD Ready TV and a Freeview HD box

(which are starting to appear in the shops).