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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 10:13 GMT
Viewers 'unaware of analogue end'
Digital TV
An estimated 63% of UK households have digital TV
Only a third of viewers know analogue TV is to be switched off between 2008 and 2012, a survey has suggested.

Just 37% of those surveyed knew about the switch to digital, as opposed to 73% who did not know when analogue would be switched off in their area.

Only 30% of the over-60s surveyed knew about the change at all.

However, a body set up to co-ordinate the switchover process says awareness is higher than the poll - conducted by retailers You Me TV - suggests.

A spokesman for the independent not-for-profit organisation Digital UK said its own surveys contradicted the findings of the You Me TV poll.

"A BMRB survey conducted immediately after the switchover programme was announced shows overall awareness significantly higher at 65%," he said.

He added that "early signs from an ICM survey we have currently in the field reinforces this in the Borders region", the area that will be the first to convert to digital in three years' time.

Digital UK's campaign will target each region at a time, three years before its digital switchover approaches.

Awareness campaigns

The You Me TV poll stated 62% of respondents said the government should help pay for the switch.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed - 61% - worried about the cost of making the move to digital, while a third believed the BBC should help with the costs.

Just 5% said those costs should be paid directly by the public.

Of those surveyed, 86% thought they were already paying too much for the licence fee, while 51% said they were confused about the different digital TV packages available.

Tessa Jowell
Ms Jowell said the over 75s will be helped with the switch
People in Scotland had the lowest level of awareness, with just 29% knowing about the change.

You Me TV chief executive Daniel Green said the survey showed the public was "still not tuned-in to the big TV switch-off".

"We discovered the majority of people don't know about the main issues surrounding digital TV," he said.

"The government and the BBC face a big task to educate the British public about the switch-off, especially amongst those over 60 and people in Scotland."

But Digital TV have questioned those claims, saying awareness is high in the Border television region which is the first to convert in three years' time.

Timetable plans

The survey's findings come after media regulator Ofcom's consumer panel said last month that vulnerable people needed more government help to make the switch-over.

The BBC is spending 200m on raising awareness about digital TV, and has put this money into Digital UK.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell outlined help for the elderly and disabled to access equipment needed for the switch when she announced the formal go-ahead and timetable last month.

The You Me TV survey was conducted with 1,421 people in shopping centres nationwide last month.

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