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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 03:55 GMT 04:55 UK
Digital switch awareness 'is low'
Digital TV
A campaign is being launched to educate people on the switchover
Awareness of the switchover to digital TV in the UK is "alarmingly low", a survey suggests.

Consumer group Which? surveyed 1,952 UK adults and found 38% did not know about the government's intention to switch off the analogue signal.

And only 7% knew the switchover was planned to be complete by 2012.

Digital UK, set up by the TV industry to oversee the switchover, said a 200m public information campaign would be launched in May.

It said much of the money would go to retailers, manufacturers, charities and consumer groups to build awareness.

The Which? report found half the people surveyed did not realise they would require a set-top box, satellite dish, cable or broadband internet to receive programming once the analogue signal was disconnected.

It suggested as many as 9% of respondents would rather give up television than make the switch, while six out of 10 believed it was wrong to enforce the change.

'Fair situation'

"We've found that awareness of the digital switchover is alarmingly low, especially when you consider the first region is due to be switched over in just two years' time," said Which.co.uk editor Malcolm Coles.

"People need information now so they can plan ahead. Digital UK needs to pull its finger out."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport defended the switch, saying it was necessary to ensure everyone had access to digital TV channels.

"Only through switchover can we make the situation fair for everyone," said a spokeswoman.

"And we will ensure no one gets left behind though a comprehensive package of help for those who independent research tells us are most in need of it - over 75s and people with significant disabilities.

The Border ITV region will be the first to have its analogue signal switched off in 2008 as part of a trial, and Digital UK says there has been a "significant" increase in awareness in the region.


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