Starting on 4 April 2012, analogue TV signals will be turned off and Freeview digital channels made available to thousands of extra homes for the first time. Any television currently using an aerial will need to be converted to digital to continue receiving programmes. The campaign will explain what viewers need to do and their options for digital TV.
Digital UK is the independent body co-ordinating the campaign and will use local advertising, roadshows and community events to spread the message. A Switchover Help scheme has been put in place to help viewers make the switchover. From 1 October this year, an advice line with Bengali-speaking advisers will also be available.
The Switchover Help Scheme will be sending out letters offering eligible older and disabled people practical help to switch one TV in their household to digital. The Help Scheme provides:
• Easy-to-use equipment to convert one TV set
• An approved installer to supply and install the necessary equipment, and
• A 12 month aftercare service including a free helpline.
People are eligible for the Help Scheme if they are aged 75 or over, have lived in a care home for six months or more, get (or could get) certain disability benefits, or are registered blind or partially sighted. The service costs £40 but is free for people who are eligible and also receive pension credit income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance.
Help Scheme engineers are flexible in terms of installation appointments (especially during prayer times) and will visit when a family member or friend is able to be present during installation, if required.
The Digital UK website and advice line provides viewers with all they need to know about the switchover in their area.
• Digital UK: 08456 50 50 50 (English) 0845 6063961 (Bengali, from Oct 1), digitaluk.co.uk
• Switchover Help Scheme: 0800 40 85 900, helpscheme.co.uk