Saturday, October 07, 2006

Digital TV Switchover - the professionals are not happy

Spent some time this morning talking to one of the people in West Cumbria who knows most about televisions. No names, no packdrill, but anyone who talks to the installers and local TV/electrical business professionals who know a great deal more about TV signals in West Cumbria than most of the rest of us, is likely to be told that they are worried about how well the digital switchover is going to work and what the area will get out of it.

If you live in most of Copeland, and watch terrestial TV, this affects you from September next year. (Sky viewers who never watch TV through a normal aerial will not be affected.) If you are in the rest of the country, this will hit you by 2009 - though if we have serious problems it is likely that the TV authorities will learn from them and sort things out before putting the rest of the country through switchover.

One of the statements made at the public meeting on 21st September was that there would be a meeting with the installers the following morning. There was, for the four who turned up. (It appears that the same problem with the public meeting, e.g. not everyone having an invite, applied to the following day.)

The agenda had about a dozen items but most of them developed into what is sometimes known as a "frank exchange of views" and it didn't get beyond about item four.

Issues raised by local professionals include

* A huge proportion of the digital services which make up the full service, including channel five, will not be available as part of the digital service which we will get in 2007. They are not likely to be made available until the Caldbeck transmitter is switched over in 2009.

* Local installers are concerned that they are not being given enough technical detail about the channels which will be used, power of the transmitters, etc. They were concerned that the meeting they attended was heavy on PR material, "health and safety" items and trading standards, which have already been promoted in great detail, but light on technical expertise and detail.

Indeed, if they are in the game of learning lessons, it sounds as though one which Digital UK need to learn is that they must communicate with local installers regularly from an early stage and include plenty of technical and engineering information.

Because the Whitehaven TV area (most of Copeland) will be the first to have the analogue signal switched off and replaced by digital, we have sometimes been called the "flagship" of the digital switchover. A leading local supplier has commented that rather than being a flagship, we're more of a tug boat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just looking on the web for Digital tv advice and have come across a site called http://www.digitaltvcumbria.info

It looks like a local site for local people to share comments and problems depending on where they are in the county.

Maybe worth a look if you are unsure or want some advice... you never know but your whole street may have the same problem and one person has found the solution.