At midnight tonight, Northern Ireland will be the final UK region to switch to digital TV, completing the UK’s £630m digital switchover programme. So how did you get on? All set up with digital telly?
More than 650,000 homes in Northern Ireland will switch to the new service tonight, bringing 50 years of analogue TV services to a close. And that’s a wrap; analogue TV is no more, with the good old Ceefax waving farewell along with it.
So, was the switchover a piece of cake, or was it fraught with difficulties? Let’s have a look at some of the experiences you’ve shared with us.
Dancing digital TV channels
Some have had a trouble-free time, like GillyGloucs:
‘We got Freeview set-top boxes so we could still use our old sets and not have to go to the expense of buying new TVs. We do get some signal problems from time to time and now we’re digi, we can get Channel 5 for the first time. Not sure how much of a bonus that is!’
Others had mixed blessings, including N Gawe:
‘Our Sony TV has had no problems – no retuning required or loss of channels. On the other hand, our second TV (Philips) has had no end of problems – daily retuning is required otherwise channels get lost and move to odd channel numbers. Only BBC1/2/3/4 actually “stay put”. Very frustrating.’
PeterW has also suffered problems with his channels:
‘We often ended up with the Welsh channels being selected as our primary ones. Although this could usually be manually corrected, we had major issues with getting the correct C4. Of course, any auto-retune meant starting again!’
Fed up with the digital switchover ‘aggro’
And then there are those who have had a pretty rubbish time, like the aptly-named ‘Fedup.com’
‘We have had zero channels since the second phase of the switchover. I re-scan several times a day and still nothing. Totally and utterly fed up with it all.’
Switching to digital was no fun for Peter Jones:
‘It was an unwanted pain in the ****. As an over-70 but under-75 year old I didn’t qualify for any assistance. I lost BBC2 signal for a couple of weeks and assumed that either the hand-me-down set-top box given me by my son didn’t work or there was a problem with my aerial. None of the provided help leaflets, web pages etc. were any good (except the Ceefax page that checks your aerial). Fortunately I didn’t rush to spend any money and magically, after completion of switchover the digi-box sprang into life and I now get all Freeview channels, which is some consolation for all the aggro.’
Ciao Ceefax – you shan’t be missed
Ah yes, Ceefax. After 38 years, Ceefax is now finally bowing out. But Par Ailleurs won’t miss it:
‘I used (note the past tense) to love Ceefax. But then again I used to think that a Morris Minor was a sensible car, cassette tapes were a brilliant invention and video recorders were great. That says it all really. Who can forget the thrill of wanting to check the travel news before setting out? Each page took about 15 seconds to change and you didn’t necessarily want to read anything on every one of them. Let’s face it there are only a few die-hards who mourn the passing of analogue TV. Ceefax is the same. Bye bye; it was nice knowing you!’
Finally, our thoughts are with Jacquie in Northern Ireland, who will be making her way to her parent’s house tomorrow for the final retuning:
‘I live in Northern Ireland and our switchover is happening on 10 and 24 October. I have two elderly parents and this has been a nightmare for them and a bigger one for me trying to sort them out. They signed up to the help scheme, which has turned out to be hopeless. It is only to sort out the bedroom TV and the reception is very bad.
‘Now I have to go up to their house on both dates early before I go to work to retune their downstairs TV, as they cannot comprehend that. Wish me luck for the next few weeks because I may end up in an asylum.’
Oh dear, hopefully the digital TV switchover hasn’t been such a nightmare for you.