Norwich is set for the digital switchover

More than half of people in Norwich know that the digital switchover will happen in the city in November, according to a survey.

But many have overlooked how the changes to the way their receive their television signal will impact video recording systems and other TV sets in their homes.

Analogue signals for BBC 1 and 2, ITV, Channel Four, and five, will be switched off in two stages at the Tacolneston transmitter – which serves Norwich and most of Norfolk and north Suffolk – on November 9 and 23. Turning off the analogue TV signals will allow the digital terrestrial TV coverage, known as Freeview, to be boosted and this should mean that thousands of people previously in digital blackspots will be able to receive Freeview channels for the first time.

Although many people already have Freeview, they will still need to retune their television sets to receive all the channels. Sky and Virgin Media viewers will not need to retune their televisions.

Those who have an analogue television will need to either buy a digital set-top box or a new television by November 9.

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People are also being advised to replace their video and analogue DVD recorders with a digital TV recorder such as Sky Plus or Freeview Plus.

This is because, after the digital switchover, video and analogue DVD recorders will continue to record and playback videos but will no longer enable viewers to watch one channel and record another at the same time. The other option is to buy a set top box for the video recorder.

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Robert Hughes, managing director of Hughes Electrical, said: 'Our experience is that people have largely sorted out their main TVs but have overlooked second or third TVs in kitchens and bedrooms and have overlooked their recorders.

'For a lot of people, the fact that they will have to change their recorders has come as a bit of a shock. The old video recorders are not going to work.

'There are two options – to have a hard disc drive, such as Sky Plus or an equivalent known as a personal video recorder, or use a DVD recorder and record on to a disc.'

On November 9, the BBC 2 analogue signal will be turned off at Tacolneston, followed by the signals for the other channels on November 23.

Viewers, except those with Sky or Virgin Media, will have to retune their televisions sets, even if they are digital ready. Most people will be able to retune their TV by using their remote control.

Figures from the Evening News survey revealed that more than 52 per cent of those questioned knew that the switchover will take place on November 9, all of whom had digital-ready equipment in their homes. Of the remaining 48pc, 75pc said they had some kind of digital service while a quarter said they did not own a television.

'This is the biggest thing to have happen in TV for a long time, nearly everyone has to do something,' said Mr Hughes. 'And it's so important for us to spend a lot of time educating and advising people.

'We've got specialist vehicles going around the county to road shows to educate people about the switchover and we've done countless talks.

'Sixty-five per cent will need to retune in one day. The call centres cannot cope with that volume, so we are very aware that people need to know all the information now.'

The digital switchover, which is being rolled out nationwide by Digital UK, has already taken place in other parts of the country and in some parts of Norfolk, such as King's Lynn and Downham Market.

Ceefax is being phased out as part of the digital switchover and the ITV Teletext service ended in December 2009.

New digital TV services, such as Freeview, Sky Digital and Virgin Media, offer a different text service.

Peter Monteith, Digital UK's regional manager in East Anglia, said: 'Most people have already made the switch to digital, but we know some people may leave it until the last minute, or may need a little extra advice.

'We're urging anyone still watching analogue television to make the change now and to contact the Help Scheme if they're eligible for practical support.

'Anyone who still needs advice on switching can visit the Digital UK website or call our advice line. We'll also be holding road shows and advice clinics at the time of switchover.'

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