An Idiot’s Guide to… The Digital Switchover

Kindles, iPads, cryogenics, Google goggles, jetpacks, electric toothbrushes…can we please stop technological advancement now?
No you simpering technophobic Luddite cave-dweller, this is a necessary and positive thing for the advancement of humankind’s march towards scientific fulfilment, and also, y’know, providing truckloads of dollar for already hideously wealthy corporations. Plus the Government says so.
Well, although my double award science GCSE hasn’t provided knowledge of the difference between analogue and digital, I know I prefer analogue – old skool.
Only a fool dares to defy the Law of the Televisual Realm in the wake of those totalitarian TV license helicopter ads by the Beeb a few years ago. You only just got out of the Gulag, remember. And if you don’t comply, you’ll start losing all your channels. You’ll only be able to watch your favourite TV shows if you have either a television with a built-in digital receiver, a satellite or cable service such as Sky or Virgin Media, or trusty old Freeview.
I’m scared. I might miss MasterChef. What do I do?
Hire a small doe-eyed robot called Al (whose full name is Digit Al – badaboom!) into your house to give you guidance as he works through doddery old women and Corrie-watching communities, aiding them in the Digital Struggle.
Oh I’ve seen that delightful little robot! Don’t get what his sweet face is on about though.
No, his endearing benevolent nature is not enough to explain such a momentous paradigm-shift.
Can you tell me?
Yes. I may be the only person in the country who knows. The analogue television signal that you receive through your aerial, agitated so often by pigeons, is about to be switched off. It will be replaced by digital transmissions, which will give you access to many extra channels in addition to the main five.
Who has to switch over when?
Everyone. But not at the same time. It is a mounting tsunami of inconvenient change. The analogue TV signal will be switched off according to TV region. The whole of the UK won’t be switching to a Digital TV signal at the same time – the process has started in 2008 with the Border region as cowering guinea pigs, and will end in 2012 with the Meridian, London, Tyne Tees, and Ulster regions.
So what do I need to do, as a proud dweller of the Meridian with solely terrestrial channels?
You can either get Freeview, or some similar digital set-up box, a digital receiver built into your telly box, get cable or satellite – for bad boys like Sky and Virgin, or use broadband internet services like BT Vision or TalkTalk. Freeview users will retune their channels, which is easy-peasy as it can be done from a remote control. For more help, like, say, a sentient robot’s shoulder to cry on, call 08456 50 50 50 or visit
And will it vastly improve my life?
Well, you’ll have far more programmes to choose from, your TV will keep working, and you can finally join those smug masses who can actually achieve something when they “press the red buttonâ€?.
Ooooh will I get more adult channels?
Nope. That’ll be the Digital Legover.

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