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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
'Tackle digital TV problems' call
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Wales will go all-digital in 2009, and the UK as a whole by 2012
A north Wales MP has called a special Commons debate to highlight worries about digital TV.

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas says many viewers in north east Wales - like other Welsh areas - either receive no digital signal, or get only English channels.

He wants the problem addressed before 2009, when all viewers in Wales will be obliged to have digital TV.

The existing analogue system will begin to be turned off in the UK in 2008, in the Borders area, and entirely in 2012.

Mr Lucas, whose 30-minute debate will be in Westminster Hall on Wednesday, said he wanted his constituents to have "as much choice as possible".

He said: "Wrexham has such an unusual situation in terms of what channels it receives.

"Currently, under the analogue system, many people are able to receive TV signals from the different broadcast regions. The pictures might be a little blurry, but you can see them perfectly well.

"But when the switchover comes in 2009, I'm concerned people might only be able to pick up programmes broadcast from one region.

Ian Lucas MP
There will be a queue outside my constituency office the day after switch-over day, if people wake up and they can't get the channels they are used to watching
Ian Lucas MP

"In other words, if you live in Wrexham, but your receiver is pointing towards the transmitter in the north west of England, does that mean you won't be able to pick up Welsh programmes any more?"

He is worried people who prefer to watch Welsh programmes may no longer be able to, and vice-versa.

Mr Lucas added: "The problem must exist elsewhere in Wales, for instance mid Wales, especially places on the border which can pick up other English signals, and of course in south Wales.

"At the moment, nobody seems too concerned about this, but you can bet your bottom dollar there will be a queue outside my constituency office the day after switch-over day, if people wake up and they can't get the channels they are used to watching.

"I currently receive my digital signals, like many of my constituents, through Freeview.

"As a viewer myself I know it is difficult for people in Wrexham to receive digital services from Wales through Freeview."

Digital UK, set up by the TV industry to oversee the switchover, launched a 200m public information campaign last month.

A report by the Which? consumer group found half the people it surveyed did not realise they would require a set-top box, satellite dish, cable or broadband internet to receive programmes when the analogue signal was disconnected.




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