Page last updated at 06:58 GMT, Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Dates for digital switch unveiled

TVs on display
Wales will be the first nation in the UK to go completely digital

The body leading the digital TV switchover has unveiled the dates for Wales becoming the first digital nation in the UK.

Digital UK also announced that Cardiff will become the first UK capital to start to go digital from 3 March 2010.

The switchover from analogue at the Wenvoe transmitter near Cardiff, which serves south east Wales, will make Freeview available to most homes.

A survey says 90% living in south east Wales are now aware of the switchover.

That will mean anyone without a digital TV or adaptor box in the area will not be able to watch television.

Digital TV said the switch would offer viewers much more choice.

The change, which is taking place throughout Wales, will allow almost every household in the country to pick up digital television through an aerial.

The number of free channels available will increase from four to around 20 as a result of the move.

Most existing televisions can be converted to pick up digital television through an aerial, satellite dish or cable.

Two stages

In south east Wales, analogue services will be switched off in two stages at each transmitter group.

The first stage will see BBC Two cease broadcasting in analogue and the first group of Freeview digital channels becoming available.

Four weeks later, the remaining analogue channels will be permanently switched off and replaced with additional digital services.

DIGITAL SWITCHOVER, 2009-2010
Digital Al, the image of Diigital TV
Kilvey Hill; Swansea area; 12 August-9 Sept 2009
Preseli; south west Wales 19 Aug-16 Sept 2009
Carmel; parts of south and central Wales 26 Aug-23 Sept 2009
Llanddona; north west Wales; 21 October-18 November 2009
Moel y Parc; north east Wales 28 Oct-25 Nov 2009
Long Mountain; parts of east and central Wales; 4 Nov-3 December 2009
Blaenplwyf; parts of west and central Wales 10 February-10 March 2010
Wenvoe; Cardiff, Newport and south east Wales 3-31 March 2010
Transmitter, area served and switchover stages. Source: Digital UK

Digital UK, the independent body leading the switchover, said research indicated that nine out of 10 people in south Wales were aware of the switchover and 92% have already converted their main TV set.

Other findings from the Digital UK/Ofcom Tracker survey (to September 2008) revealed that 65% in the area have already converted all of their sets to digital; 81% recognised the digital tick logo; and 84% said they were not concerned about the switchover.

Gwenllian Carr, Digital UK's National Manager in Wales, said: "Once the process is complete, virtually all viewers will have the opportunity to enjoy digital TV through an aerial, offering many homes more choice than ever before."

Leaflets

Digital UK said leaflets, advertising and on screen captions for viewers still using analogue would be used to remind people about the approaching switchover.

Extra help will also be available to people aged 75 or over, those registered blind or partially sighted, people on certain disability benefits or living in a care home for six months or more.

The switchover at Wenvoe will be the eighth in Wales. The process begins at the Kilvey Hill transmitter which serves the Swansea area on 12 August 2009.

Wales will be the first nation in the UK to go completely digital with the traditional analogue signal turned off in 2010.

Turning off the analogue signal will free air waves to be used for other services, such as wireless broadband, mobile television and high definition channels on Freeview.

The Digital UK helpline is 08456 50 50 50 (08458 484848 for Welsh speakers).

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