Digital UK

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Digital UK
Digital UK.svg
Formation 13 April 2005
Type Company limited by guarantee
Purpose Supports Freeview viewers and channels
Headquarters 22 Percy Street, London W1T 2BU
Region served United Kingdom
Official language English, Welsh
Key people Caroline Thomson, Chairman
Jonathan Thompson, Chief Executive
Parent organization BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Arqiva
Website digitaluk.co.uk

Digital UK supports Freeview viewers and channels. It provides people with information about their options for receiving terrestrial TV and advice on reception and equipment. The company also handles day-to-day technical management of the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), allocates channel numbers and manages the launch of new services and multiplexes onto the platform. Digital UK has been licensed by Ofcom as an EPG provider.

From 2008-2012, Digital UK led the implementation of digital TV switchover and recently oversaw the clearance of terrestrial TV services from the 800MHz band of spectrum to prepare for the launch of 4G mobile broadband services.

The company is owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva. Caroline Thomson is the Chairman. Jonathan Thompson is the Chief Executive.

Digital UK was formed on 13 April 2005 as SwitchCo,[1] adopting its present name five months later. It is based on Percy Street in Fitzrovia, London.

The company completed the first pilot digital switchover in Whitehaven, Cumbria in 2007, and the last switchover was completed in Northern Ireland on 24 October 2012.[2] The organisation completed the project on time and under budget.[3]


Duties[edit]

Switchover Communication[edit]

Digital Switchover banner with text saying "Switchover starts here on 21 October"
Digital Switchover banner in Porthmadog, Wales, as seen in September 2009.

Digital UK was responsible for explaining switchover to the public.

Digital UK also provided information to consumers through a website and a telephone helpline (0845 6 50 50 50).

Transmitter work[edit]

One of the main reasons for switchover was to allow almost every home to receive a digital signal through their normal aerial – digital terrestrial television, usually known in the UK as Freeview.

Before switchover began, around one quarter of the UK public could not receive Freeview, because the digital signal was broadcast at low power in order not to interfere with analogue television. By switching the analogue signal off, it became possible to increase Freeview coverage. When switchover was completed, 98.5% of UK homes were able to receive the service.

Extending Freeview involved re-engineering work at 1,150 transmitter sites across the country between 2008 and 2012. Digital UK was responsible for co-ordinating this work, which was carried out region by region.

Freeview is only one way to receive digital television: the others are digital satellite (through Sky, or free-to-air systems), cable (through Virgin Media or WightFibre) and over a telephone line (through TalkTalk TV in London).

Suppliers[edit]

Digital UK also worked with electrical manufacturers and retailers, who supplied the equipment necessary for all the UK's television households to watch digital.

The company promoted the 'digital tick' logo, a certification mark for the public that identifies TV equipment in stores that will work before, during and after digital switchover.

The Switchover Help Scheme[edit]

Digital UK worked alongside the BBC-run Switchover Help Scheme, which helped older and disabled people convert one of their sets to digital.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Industry-funded SwitchCo launches today". DTG. 2005-04-13. 
  2. ^ "Analogue TV signals to end in October 2012". BBC. 2011-10-14. 
  3. ^ "End of an era: Analogue TV to be switched off". Daily Mail. 2011-10-14. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]