West Midlands prepares to go digital

Television screens will start going blank in a few hours as the digital revolution arrives in the West Midlands.

West Midlands prepares to go digital

Television screens will start going blank in a few hours as the digital revolution arrives in the West Midlands.

BBC2's analogue signal will be switched off permanently shortly after midnight tonight.

And, on April 20, the four remaining terrestrial channels will no longer be available on televisions that rely on an analogue signal.

It means people wanting to watch television will have to buy a Freeview box or subscribe to satellite or cable suppliers such as Sky, Freesat and Virgin.

Those with existing Freeview boxes will have to retune both tomorrow and on April 20 to ensure they keep their channels. People who currently have satellite or cable will not notice any change.

The switchover involves sets served by transmitters at the Wrekin, Bromsgrove, Lark Stoke, Nottingham and Ridge Hill.

Those served by the transmitter at Sutton Coldfield, which serves the vast majority of Stafford, Cannock and Lichfield, won't have their channels switched off until September.

Messages will flash up on TV screens to let people know when they are due to change.

The digital signal will be strengthened as part of the changes meaning that some areas including Halesowen, will now be able to access Freeview for the first time.

Research shows nine out of 10 homes in the West Midlands have already gone digital.

Peter Monteith, from Digital UK, the organisation which is co-ordinating the country's move to digital television, said: "Most viewers are ready for switchover and many are looking forward to getting digital TV for the first time."

The digital Help Scheme call centre can be contacted on 08456 505050.

There are also more details at www.digitaluk.co.uk

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