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Jersey Digital Switchover FAQ

Digital family
Jersey will switch to digital television at the end of 2010

Since 2008 the UK has been switching from analogue broadcasts (through an aerial) to digital (through an aerial, satellite dish, cable or internet) region by region.

It was previously believed that the Channel Islands would be the final region to switchover in 2013.

However, at the start of 2009 Digital UK confirmed that the Channel Islands will actually switch three years earlier than expected - in November 2010.

So what does this mean for the islands television viewers?

If you already have Sky, Freesat or Newtel Cable, or if you watch all of your television through a computer, it won't mean quiet as much as it will for people with only an aerial.

But, as you'll need a digital receiver for recording as well as watching television, it is still worth reading the following FAQ.

Digital
Jersey will switch to digital television at the end of 2010

Basically digital switchover means that the existing television signal (giving you BBC One, BBC Two, ITV 1 and Channel 4) will be turned off and replaced with a digital signal.

To receive this you will need a television with a built in digital receiver or an external digital receiver (for example: a Freeview set top box).

Do I need digital?

From November 2010 all television in the Channel Islands is being switched over to digital, so you will need digital equipment to watch it.

You can wait until nearer the time to go digital through your aerial, or you can make the switch now through satellite or cable.

Do I need a new TV?

You won't need to buy a new TV to watch digital television BUT you will need a set-top-box.

This could come in the form of a Freeview box (connected to a television aerial), a satellite box (Freesat or Sky connected to a satellite dish) or a cable box connected to a cable from Newtel (only a few areas of St Helier, Jersey).

To continue watching TV via an aerial after switchover, viewers will need to convert their television using a digital box or make sure they have an integrated digital set.

Subscription and non-subscription digital TV services are also available via satellite (Sky and freesat) and cable (Newtel).

What channels will I get?

After switchover, virtually all Channel Islands households will receive approximately 20 of the most watched Freeview channels and text services.

These will include the public service channels BBC One, BBC Two, ITV1, C4 and Five, plus associated digital channels such as ITV2, E4 and BBC Three.

You will also be able to receive those and others without a subscription through Freesat or Freesat from Sky.

How much will it cost?

A Freeview box is currently available for around £30 and a Freesat box can be brought for around £50.

However you may need a new aerial to receive Freeview if you are in a poor reception area or a dish to receive Freesat.

If you live in a flat with a satellite socket in the wall or a house with an existing Sky dish you will be able to use that connection for Freesat (you may void your contract with Sky if you have had the dish less than 12 months) or to receive channels from Sky without a subscription.

How will switchover work?

Terrestrial television in the Channel Islands is provided by the Fremont Point transmitter in Jersey and seven 'relay' masts in Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney.

All of these transmitters will switch from analogue to digital TV on 17 November 2010.

The analogue channels will be permanently switched off and replaced by additional digital services.

How will I know when this is happening?

Digital UK will send leaflets to every home in the Channel Islands explaining switchover and the options available for going digital.

These will be backed up by radio and television advertising.

Six months before switchover, on-screen captions reminding viewers to get ready will appear on the television sets of those still watching analogue broadcasts.

What if I can't afford a digital box?

Digital UK will work in partnership with Channel Islands governments and local organisations to provide advice and assistance for those who may need extra help.

A help scheme will be available to those who need most assistance. You will be eligible if you are over 75 or entitled to certain disability benefits. The help scheme will be in touch in plenty of time to ask if you want help.

What does 'digital' mean?

Digital means that the pictures and sounds are converted into computerised 'bits' of information and compressed, and then sent from a transmitter to your TV set.

The signal arrives at your set via an aerial or via a satellite dish, a cable or broadband.

The signal is then converted back into pictures and sounds with the aid of a decoder which is either built in to the TV, PC, or in a set-top box connected to it.

What's the difference between digital and the old system?

Because the digital signal is compressed, it takes up much less space in the airwaves (bandwidth) than the old system (known as 'analogue').

This makes it possible to fit more TV channels, radio networks and other services into the same amount of space.

If we haven't answered your question above then you can call the Digital Switchover Helpline on 08456 505050

YOUR COMMENTS

Ryan (Host)

@Simon - You could use a Digital Satellite box or TV with built in Freesat from right now but a Freeview box will not work until 17 November 2010.

Simon, St Clement

Can I start using a set top box or built in DTV before November?

Ryan (Host)

@James - you could get a box now but it won't work/receive a signal until 17 November 2010 when the switchover takes place - so you could just as easily wait until switchover.

If you currently receive a good analogue television signal then you should receive digital without changing your aerial.

@Chris - I don't have a lot of information on French Digital Terrestrial Television but in theory the two are similar so you should be able to receive French digital in parts of the island.

Chris

Good evening, We currently watch a lot of French TV - will we still be able to receive French with a Digital Box or will need a 'French box' or Sky?

James

A local shop is selling Freeview boxes at the moment (Fotosound) is it worth getting it installed early to avoid the rush or is it simple to do my self once the switch over takes place?

Richard

Nobody seems to want to tell us which channels will actually be broadcast.

I have phoned up the Digital UK helpline who told me that we will be receiving 16 TV channels, Teletext, Red button, 12 radio stations and a couple of other services.

The TV Channels will be:

BBC1, BBC2, ITV, C4, C5, ITV2, BBC3, BBC4, C4+1, More4, E4, ITV2+1, CBBC, CBeebies, BBC News, BBC Parliament.

The radio stations will be mostly BBC stations.

Ryan (Host)

L - there will be NO changes to radio. FM & MW radio will still work as it does now. It is only television that is going digitial.

L

Will we still receive a radio signal or will we be required to buy new radio sets.

Ryan (Host)

@Michele - It's only 'normal' TV that is changing. So what you watch through SKY will stay the same but to watch the 'normal' TV content you'll need a Freeview box plugged into that TV.

@Andy - there are currently no plans to introduce digital radio in the island. This has to be done by the commercial radio sector as the BBC isn't allowed to launch a DAB system.

Andy

What about radio. When will we be able to receive digital radio signals and will the normal signal be turned off at any time ?

Michele

If I have 2 TVs and one Sky subscription, will I be able to watch different channels on them? At the moment I can only watch the same Sky channel on both TVs. If I want to have different channels running on both TVs, at the moment I watch one through Sky and the other through 'normal' TV.

Ryan (Host)

@Russell - at the moment there are no plans to launch a digital radio (DAB) service in the island. The BBC isn't allowed to launch a new DAB system - it has to be done by the commercial radio sector.

You can get all BBC Radio services through digital television, satellite and online.

Russell

There has been no mention of 'Digital Radio' please are you able to publish some information on when this service will be available.

Ryan (Host)

@Kevin - the simple answer is yes, the box should work fine.

@Steve - No, it is only television that's being switched over in the islands.

Steve

Will the switchover include radio? Will we be able to receive DAB radio stations?

Many thanks

Kevin

I have a 'Freeview Box' somewhere, which I used in England five years ago.

Will this be okay to use in Jersey or will it require some sort of adjustment?

Thank you

Ryan (Host)

Mrs Stewart - You do not need a HD TV for digital. Any television (with a freeview box, freesat box or sky box) can be used to view BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and other channels.

You only need a HD TV if you want to watch the high definition channels available on Freesat or Sky.

However, if you currently only receive the basic four channels then you WILL need a freeview box, freesat box or sky to receive television from November next year.

A freeview box will work with more or less any television. In fact the link below is to a story about a tv made in the 1930s that can receive freeview with a box connected.

Mrs Stewart

My TV is not HD ready, will this make a difference? I just have the basic TV channels.

Ryan (Host)

Jerry - without getting too technical it's all about available frequencies and because of our close proximity to France - we don't have enough in Jersey to have a full Freeview service available.

Jersey isn't unique in this though as a number of areas of mainland UK will also only have a public service package available.

However, what you will get in Jersey is a full public service - service. You should get all the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Five channels as well as radio stations and digital text.

If you have a satellite dish you will also be able to receive a lot more channels (most of what's available on Freeview and then some) through Freesat without a subscription.

Jerry

We have been told that there will be about twenty channels available in Jersey. The Freeview site shows at least 40. I also believe that there will be some HD content available on Freeview later in the year but there has been no mention of this locally. Are we getting some sort of inferior service in Jersey?

Ryan (Host)

@Andy - if you have a HD TV you will be able to watch HD channels BUT there are unlikely to be HD channels available in the Channel Islands through Freeview.

So to watch HD you will need a Sky HD box and subscription or a Freesat HD box which doesn't require a subscription.

@Ray - you can watch one channel and record another but your recorder will need to be able to receive a digital signal as well.

This could be done by adding a second Freeview box to your VCR as well as one to your TV (which is a little clunky) or by getting a box with a built in hard disk recorder.

Look out for Freeview+ if you want to receive television over your aerial or Freesat+/Sky+ through a satellite dish.

Andy

If I have an HD TV, will I be able to receive HD signals, e.g. BBC1 HD?

Ray

At present I can watch one channel and record another with a VCR.

Will I be able to do this with a Freeview or Freesat box?

Ryan (Host)

Helen - every television in your house will need to have a digital receiver - this could be in the form of one built in or it could be an external box.

If you get a good analogue signal already (BBC One, BBC Two, ITV1 and Channel 4) then you will probably be able to get Freeview through the same aerial. Alternatively you will need a Freesat or Sky box connected to the other televisions.

Helen

If you have more than one tv in the house do you have to have a digital box for each television? We only have sky on one of our tv's at the moment.

Ryan (Host)

@Paul - Car radios will work as normal it is only TV that is being switched to digital. Radio is likely to stay analogue for a long time to come.

@Mike - I'm working on an answer to your full question - my understanding is that it comes from the licence fee money set aside to help with switchover but will need to confirm it.

However, The States of Jersey and Guernsey have announced that they will have a help scheme for people who are 75 and over as well as disabled and blind people.

The details haven't been confirmed yet though - keep an eye on BBC News for information as we get it confirmed.

@Phil - It very much depends on the reception you currently get for the analogue channels through an indoor aerial. If you get a good reception then in theory you should also get a good digital reception.

@Jay - Yes you're all set for digital as you're receiving it from Sky. However if you have TVs connected to an aerial in another room or a VHS/DVD recorder with an analogue decoder (receiver) then you will need to get adapters for those devices.

@First Mike - As far as I'm aware there are no current plans to move to digital radio in the Channel Islands.

Jay

If I already have sky digital on an LCD tv then I should have no problems, is this correct?

Paul

Can you still use car radios?

Mike

How will the switchover help scheme work for Channel Islanders? Is this the same as the Switchover Help Scheme in the UK which is funded through TV license fees? What kind of help will they provide and how will people qualify for help?

Phil

Will it be possible to receive digital on an indoor aerial, or have to buy special aerial.

Mike

Although Sky TV has been great for us tv viewers over the last 20 years it will be great to have more channels from the BBC and other broadcasters.

Note in a home without a Sky dish who only have analogue TVs, each tv would require a set top box to the benefit of each member of the family. A good digital signal from the aerial system will be essential for Freeview.

I will now look forward to the the next digital transmitter upgrade to provide digital radio service, any news on this ?

Ryan (Host)

Chris - the simple answer is no as radio probably isn't going all digital for a while yet so your FM or AM radio will still work fine.

However you can receive all the BBC digital radio services such as 6music and BBC 7 through your Satellite box, will be able to receive them through a Freeview box and can get them all online as well.

Chris

Radios: Will we need to get a digibox or some kind to listen to our radios?

Phil

Jay, just the one Channel that you are watching on Sky downstairs. The other channels will go blank, unless you add a freeview box, a new digital TV or a second Sky box.

Ryan (Host)

Jay - you will still be able to receive whatever you currently get on that Sky channel - which I'm guessing is whatever they're watching in the other room.

However, if you get a reasonable analogue signal already (BBC One, BBC Two, ITV and Channel 4) then you should be able to receive Freeview - you'll just need to buy a Freeview set-top box.

Freeview boxes start from around £15 and should be widely available in Jersey from the middle of next year.

Jay

What I don't understand is say you have a bedroom tv which receives analogue, but with one channel which connects to the sky digital box in another area of the house, does this mean that my tv is ready for the switchover?

Will I only be able to receive what is being watched on that one channel connected to the digital box, or will I receive the 20 freeview channels?




SEE ALSO
Get local BBC updates via Twitter
19 Aug 09 |  TV & Radio
New 'virtual' radio service live
28 Sep 09 |  TV & Radio
Behind the scenes at BBC Jersey
17 Aug 09 |  TV & Radio
BBC Channel Islands news team
14 Aug 09 |  TV & Radio


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