Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Tuesday, 16 October 2007 12:20 UK

Family gets set for switchover

John Brenan
John Brenan says he would have liked more information
Plumber John Brenan, 41, from Whitehaven, is preparing for Wednesday when the Cumbrian town becomes the first in the UK to lose its analogue signal.

Mr Brenan, his partner Janice, and children Ben, 17 and Kim, 15, have Sky TV, but their three other TV sets only pick up analogue signals.

Mr Brenan explains how his family has been getting ready for when the BBC Two analogue signal is turned off.

DO YOU HAVE ANALOGUE OR DIGITAL TV AT THE MOMENT?

We've got Sky television in the sitting room downstairs. Our other TVs are in the bedrooms, and we're not sure if the aerials are going to be compatible.

We've bought one digital box for one TV, and once the switchover happens we're going try all the aerials to see if they work. If that's OK then we'll get digital boxes for the rest of the house.

WHEN WERE YOU FIRST MADE AWARE OF SWITCHOVER?

I would say about two years ago. We knew it was happening, but we thought 'we'll sort that out tomorrow'. Even now we've reached the stage where we are going to switchover on Wednesday, but we still don't know if the equipment we have is going to work properly. It's a case of wait and find out.

All the supermarkets around here have been pushing digital boxes, with big signs telling you when the date of the switchover is. On the harbour they had a big digital clock so if you were out walking through the town you could see the clock counting down to tell you that you didn't have much time left.

That's all well and good if you know exactly what you're doing, but some people don't even know if they need digital boxes or not. It's quite strange.

They've been putting adverts on the TV telling people when the switchover was going to happen. They've been on for quite a while now and as the date has been getting closer I reckon they have been putting them out every day.

WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION HAVE YOU RECEIVED ABOUT SWITCHOVER?

I don't think there's been as much information as there could have been. It's all been a bit confusing for everybody.

They began by putting small leaflets in the local papers to say it was going to be switched over, but I don't think there was as much technical information to tell people what they needed.

Some people have been told that their aerials are OK and other people - like me - have been told that the aerial possibly needs updating as well. It means we are in a position where we can't switch our other TVs over yet.

I'm a self-employed plumber and I don't get a lot of time because I'm always working, so I'm not keen on the thought of having to swap the aerial and cables in my own house. But I suppose if it's got to be done, it's got to be done.

We don't really have a choice though, except have no TV at all. I think we'll get the first one done and if that works then we can go ahead and do the others over the next few weeks. I think it's OK for us because we're quite young people, but I think it's going to be harder for elderly people.

WHAT DOES THE FAMILY THINK?

I think they're in the same position as me - we know we're going to have switchover. The children both have TVs in their rooms, but they have the aerials that plug into the back of the set, so now they're going to be no good whatsoever. They're not really that concerned about it - they don't watch that much TV in their rooms anyway - and it's up to dad to fork out for the aerials!

We bought one digital box for the home, and we've had to buy a digital box for the caravan as well. For the home alone we spent about 35 for the box. If we need an aerial and all the cables altered I would say that could run into over a 100, but I really don't know until switchover and then we can test things.

I'm not too happy about it really. I think we've got good pictures on the telly anyway.

It's OK for me because I can afford to do it, but I think other people are really going to struggle. I think especially elderly or people who maybe can't get out of the house too much - I think they are going to struggle financially.



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