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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 10:50 GMT
BBC Two first to go fully digital
Analogue switch-off will start in 2008 and be completed by 2012
BBC Two will be become a digital-only channel in the weeks immediately before analogue broadcast signals are turned off in regions across the UK.

The move is intended to make sure viewers are aware the full switch-off will take place about a month later and to encourage them to use new equipment.

"This will be the start of the reality of the switchover," said Digital UK, the group behind the roll-out.

The change to digital will take place, region by region, between 2008-2012.

Digital UK will launch campaigns to target each region at a time, three years ahead of their digital switchover.

Grace period

Notices will appear on screen to warn viewers of the impending change before BBC Two disappears from the analogue signal, a Digital UK spokesman said.

"BBC Two will move first and there will be approximately a month's period of grace before the rest of the channels will be switched simultaneously," he added.

There were also some technical advantages to following such a process, Digital UK said.

Digital television can be accessed through Freeview set-top boxes - which utilise existing aerials - or via digital satellite, digital cable and television over broadband services, where the set-top box can be provided for free or with other subscription costs.

'Extremely stressful'

At present 63% of UK households watch digital television, with 200,000 moving to digital each month, according to watchdog Ofcom.

Digital TV
An estimated 63% of UK households have digital TV

On Tuesday, Ofcom said TV viewers reluctant to move to digital television - an estimated is 10% of all households - will cost 572m to convert when the analogue signal is switched off.

But it added the figure accounted for just 2% of UK consumer spending on home entertainment.

There will be government help for those 75 and over and those with disabilities.

Some industry analysts, however, have expressed doubts over the government's plans to switch off the analogue signal.

"For a large fraction of the population, digital terrestrial television represents nothing of benefit whatsoever," independent analyst Chris Goodall told a House of Commons select committee.

He said the switchover to digital would be "costly and extremely stressful".

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