If you still own an old analogue television and live in London and the South East, the South, the North East and Northern Ireland then you will soon find your screen blank.
The UK’s Digital Switchover is well underway turning off the old signals that sent your favourite shows to your living room and replacing this technology with signals that ensure better quality pictures and audio.
And thanks to digital you can have loads of extra TV channels too, rather than simply BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The London, Anglia, Meridian, Tyne Tees and Northern Ireland TV regions are still to be retuned before the end of 2012. You can find out more at http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/when_do_i_switch including information on whether you’ll need to change your aerial to receive the new signals.
Get cheap digital TV
If you have a Sky or Virgin Media subscription, then you already have digital TV but one of the easiest and cheapest ways is to buy a Freeview box.
Currently around 18 million homes in the UK use Freeview on either their main or second sets. Simply by buying a Freeview box for as little as around £30, you get access to up to 50 standard digital TV channels, radio stations and interactive services through an aerial with no monthly bills or subscription charges.
A more expensive Freeview HD box gives access to four free HD channels – BBC One HD, The BBC HD Channel, ITV1 HD and Channel4 HD. A fifth HD channel will be launched in April 2012.
A Freeview box simply plugs into your existing high-definition TV and aerial socket. Not all aerials will be compatible but most will. You can find out more on the Digital UK website.
You can also buy TVs with the Freeview technology built-in, doing away with the need for a separate box. Many of these are also Smart TVs and come with apps including BBC iPlayer, LoveFILM, YouTube and Facebook.
Record TV with Freeview+
Or if you want to record programmes, another option is to buy a Freeview+ or Freeview+ HD box.
This works like Sky+ allowing you to pause and rewind live TV or store hours and hours of shows on its hard drive.
Since 2002 when it launched, 70m Freeview products have been sold and this week sees a brand-new TV advert launched in a bid to show people what Freeview can offer.
Freeview’s Marketing Communications Director Guy North said:
“The Freeview brand represents everything that television should be about today – quality television programmes for people to enjoy, in the format they want, without the worry of how much it’s going to cost them each month.
“The campaign will specifically target those people who may be considering an alternative to pay television to take a look at what’s available on Freeview and how to make the most of it with Freeview+ and Freeview HD.”
The 60-second film shows a viewer collecting all sorts of helium-filled balloons each representing different content and technology available through Freeview.
If you’re thinking of upgrading your current Freeview box, buying a new Freeview TV or switching to Freeview+ or Freeview HD, there are some great products and offers right now.
Our top Freeview digital TV boxes
Here’s some of our favourites below and you can also find out more in our Digital TV Buying Guide: