What is Digital TV?

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Digital is a way of transmitting TV pictures and sound as computerised bits of information. This takes up much less space in the airwaves, making more room for more channels and features than is available on traditional analogue TV. Between now and 2012 all TV is being switched over to digital, and if you are currently only receiving the five traditional channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5) via nothing more than your aerial you will need to upgrade in some form. Any TV can be adapted simply by connecting it to a set-top box via a SCART lead which plugs directly into the back of your TV. You will need to adapt every TV in your home, and in addition any video or DVD reorder.

There will be no effect on satellite TV transmissions which are are already digital, and require a dish rather than an aerial.

There are several ways to get Digital TV:

  • via your aerial (Freeview)
  • via a satellite dish (Sky)
  • via a cable (Virgin Media)
  • via a phone line (BT Vision)

To find out which digital services are available in your area, put "can I get digital tv postcode checker" into your search engine.

The cost of the digital switchover is basically up to you. It all depends what platform, what service, and what equipment you decide upon. Set-top boxes can be purchased for as little as £20 these days, Sky's Freesat service goes for about £150. This can be all you spend, or you can opt for a subscription service, which will give you all the free channels, features and equipment, plus all manner of other options - sports, films etc. This is where the likes of Sky come in to their own.

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