Page last updated at 00:41 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Old TVs ditched over digital fear

By Jamie McIvor
BBC Scotland local government correspondent

television set from 1950s
Even the oldest televisions can usually be converted to receive digital

TV viewers are throwing away their sets in the mistaken belief that they could stop working when the analogue signal is turned off.

Argyll and Bute Council said it had seen a "significant increase" in the number of electrical items being taken to amenity sites for recycling - many of them are thought to be analogue TVs.

In 2008/09, 840 tonnes of electrical goods from the region were recycled.

That figure is expected to rise by some 12% to about 940 tonnes this year.

The chair of the council's Environment Policy and Performance Group, Councillor Donald Macdonald, said some people still seemed to be confused over what would and would not work after the switchover.

With very rare exceptions, all TVs can be converted to digital with a digital box - even black and white models
Councillor Donald Macdonald

He said: "There are many people out there who believe that they have to replace their analogue TVs with new digital models in order to be able to receive digital transmissions.

"This is not true. With very rare exceptions, all TVs can be converted to digital with a digital box - even black and white models.

"So there is no need to buy a new TV unless you actually want one."

The body co-ordinating the switchover - Digital UK - has been working hard to stress that virtually any television can be converted to digital.

Last year it uncovered a restored pre-war television near Edinburgh which was switched over to digital within minutes in a "ceremony" performed by John Logie Baird's grandson.

The analogue signal has already been turned off in several parts of the UK, including most of Wales and the former Border TV, Granada TV and Westcountry TV regions.

So far the process has gone smoothly and special help has been available to elderly and vulnerable people.

Additional channels

Analogue TV will be switched off gradually in the northern half of Scotland between May and October. The signal will be switched off around Oban, Mull and northern Argyll in October, with the rest of Argyll and the Central Belt following in 2011.

People who do not already have digital television are being urged to consider their options in good time.

The Freeview service - received through normal aerials - will become available to virtually everyone at the same time as the analogue service is switched off.

But people who get their signals from relay transmitters will only get a modest number of additional channels, including the BBC's extra services.

Some experts say that people who opt to wait for Freeview to become available in their area could buy their set-top box in advance to make sure there is not a rush or a shortage when the switchover actually happens.

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