Page last updated at 12:35 GMT, Wednesday, 11 July 2007 13:35 UK

6,000 unprepared for digital TV

Digital countdown clock in Whitehaven
A billboard with a digital countdown has been erected in the town

About a quarter of households at the forefront of the UK's digital TV switchover have yet to convert.

With just under 100 days to go until Whitehaven's analogue signal is turned off, approximately 6,000 homes have not upgraded their equipment.

The research, by Digital UK, also shows that about 2,000 households in the West Cumbrian town intend to wait until the 17 October deadline.

The firm said converting at the last minute could put a strain on suppliers.

Too many people converting late would put a strain on suppliers of equipment, installers and other sources of support
Ford Ennals, Digital UK

Whitehaven's BBC Two signal will be the first channel to go, with the remaining analogue channels turned off on 14 November.

By that date, all televisions will need to be connected to Freeview, satellite, cable or broadband in order to receive broadcasts.

Ford Ennals, chief executive of Digital UK, welcomed the progress being made in public awareness of switchover but also warned viewers not to leave it too late.

He said: "Around three quarters of homes already have digital television via satellite, levels of awareness are excellent and everyone our researchers spoke to said they were intending to convert to digital.

Reminder captions

"However, it is concerning that over a third of households yet to convert may be planning to convert at the last minute, which increases the risk of problems.

"Too many people converting late would put a strain on suppliers of equipment, installers and other sources of support."

He urged residents to make preparations in good time and register for the help scheme, details of which will be sent to eligible households.

From later this month, every home will receive a 20-page guide and on-screen reminder captions will be broadcast on analogue channels.

The whole of the UK will follow the same process as Whitehaven by the end of 2012.

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