Digital UK

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Digital UK
Digital-uk-logo-2022.png
Formation13 April 2005
TypeCompany limited by guarantee
PurposeSupports Freeview viewers and channels
HeadquartersDigital UK, Riverbank House, 2 Swan Lane, London, EC4R 3TT
Region served
United Kingdom
Official language
English, Welsh
Key people
  • Caroline Thomson, Chairman
  • Jonathan Thompson, Chief Executive
Parent organization
BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5
Websitefreeview.co.uk/corporate

Digital UK is a British television communications company owned by the BBC (1922), ITV (1955), Channel 4 (1982) and Channel 5 (1997) which supports Freeview viewers and channels. It provides information about 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.

In 2015 Digital UK and Freeview developed Freeview Play, a connected TV service offering both live linear TV and on-demand content, including a range of popular catch-up players. The service is available on both TVs and set-top boxes and is now widely supported by more than 20 manufacturer brands.[1][2]

Digital UK leads development of the Freeview Play product specification which is based on open standards, working with manufacturers and industry bodies.

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

Digital UK was formed on 13 April 2005 as SwitchCo,[3] adopting its present name five months later. It is based in Mortimer 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.[4]

In July 2021 Digital UK acquired Freesat the free to air satellite television platform, from the BBC and ITV and formally merged into Digital UK.[5] [6]

In December 2021, Channel 5 joined the venture, marking it as "the first time that the venture has been wholly owned by all four PSBs".[7]

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 the switchover from analogue to digital television broadcasting to the public and provided information to consumers through a website and a telephone helpline.

Transmitter work[edit]

One of the main reasons for switchover was to allow reception of digitals signals through normal aerials and 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Suppliers[edit]

Digital UK also worked with electrical manufacturers and retailers and 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Previous shareholders[edit]

Until March 2021, Arqiva was a shareholder of Digital UK, but was asked to stand down by the other shareholders at the time.[8] Arqiva subsequently went through a process of restructuring.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About us". Freeview.co.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  2. ^ "Digital UK - About Freeview Play". Digitaluk.co.uk.
  3. ^ "Industry-funded SwitchCo launches today". DTG. 13 April 2005.
  4. ^ "Analogue TV signals to end in October 2012". BBC. 14 October 2011.
  5. ^ BBC, ITV and Channel 4 announce the completion of Digital UK and Freesat’s integration BBC Media Centre. 8 July 2021.
  6. ^ UK TV Earthquake: Freeview And Freesat Become One Company by Or Goren, Cord Busters, July 8 2021.
  7. ^ "Channel 5 joins Digital UK". Freeview.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Digital UK shareholder update". Arqiva. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  9. ^ Bevir, George. "Arqiva confirms restructure and redundancies". IBC. Retrieved 4 June 2021.

External links[edit]