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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 11:49 GMT
Villages tune in to digital trial
Digital television channels
Digital television gives viewers a greater choice of channels
Two Carmarthenshire villages have become the first in the Wales to be converted to digital television under a UK government plan to phase out the analogue signal.

More than 350 homes in Ferryside and Llansteffan have tuned in after they received free digiboxes.

Digital transmission to the villages was switched on at the weekend.

The trial is aimed at ironing out any hitches before the conversion is rolled out across the UK.

We were quite apprehensive but now we've got them working the picture quality is so good it's been worth it
Bryan Peebles

The two communities were selected for the experiment because they receive their signal from a single relay, often resulting in poor reception.

Although some households already had satellite television they could not receive digital because of the poor signal.

The existing relay now broadcasts both analogue and digital but the analogue signal is likely to be switched off in March.

Residents were given free digiboxes although in future people will have to pay for them themselves.


They have been encouraged to set them up themselves to see what problems they encounter.

But a helpline was set-up, surgeries have taken place and one-to-one help has been available for the elderly.

Ferryside resident Bryan Peebles said: "We were daunted to start with when we realised that we were going to have set-top boxes, we did not understand what was involved in it.

Bryan Peebles
Bryan Peebles said the picture quality had improved in Ferryside

"We were quite apprehensive but now we have seen them and now we've got them working they are very easy and the picture quality is so good it's been worth it."

The trial is being conducted by the Department for Trade and Industry and the Department of Media, Culture and Sport.

The UK government eventually plans to switch off everyone's analogue system, although probably not before 2012.

David Harby, the DTI's project manager for the trial, said: "Essentially the tests that we are doing here are looking at the whole of the UK so the sort of work we are doing here is the sort of work we will need to do in major areas as well.

"It's all about the things people need to be concerned about.

"What the government needs to do to communicate with the industry and vice versa, right down to the shopkeeper dealing with Joe Public when they go in to see them."

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