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The latest news about digital television switchover - FIRST MERIDIAN SWITCHOVER NEXT MONTH


There is now just over a month to go to the start of the digital TV switchover in the Meridian region. The Hannington transmitter group, which serves viewers in parts of Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey, will switch to digital on 8 and 22 February, making Freeview available for the first time to thousands of viewers watching services from relay transmitters.

The remaining transmitters in the west of the region (serving West Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and parts of Dorset) will switch during February and March. The east of the region, which includes most of Kent and East Sussex, will switch during May and June.
When you switch depends on which transmitter broadcasts a TV signal to your home - a list of switchover dates across the region is available here. Viewers can find out when they are due to switch, and the channels they should receive after switchover, via Digital UK's online postcode checker.

The digital TV switchover is a two-stage process. At stage one, analogue BBC Two is switched off. The BBC Freeview channels are then boosted in power and become available from local relay transmitters for the first time. A fortnight later at stage two, all remaining analogue services are switched off and all other Freeview channels increase in power and become available from relay transmitters.
Viewers with digital TVs or Freeview, Top Up TV or BT Vision boxes will need to retune their equipment at both stages of switchover. Guidance on retuning and selecting preferred regional services is available from our website and advice line.
While most viewers find switchover straightforward, some may have questions or need extra assistance. Our roadshow teams will visit locations across the region over the next few months - find out here when they will be near you.
Hannington viewers can receive help and information at both stages of switchover from our Reading roadshow, which will be located outside Pret A Manger on Broad Street East (RG1 2AF). Advice points will also be held - more details on these will be available on our website soon.

There is still time for eligible older and disabled people to apply to the Switchover Help Scheme for practical help converting one TV set to digital. The Help Scheme has written to everyone who is eligible but people must respond to get help.
The Help Scheme (, run by the BBC, helps older and disabled people make the change to digital TV. For £40 (or free for those on certain income-related benefits) all eligible people will be offered practical help to convert one of their TV sets to digital including easy to use equipment, installation and aftercare. People are eligible if: they are aged 75 years and over; or they have lived in a care home for six months or more; or they are registered blind or partially sighted or get (or could get) certain disability benefits. Eligible people can receive help for a second set even if they have already converted a TV by themselves.
The Help Scheme's local community campaign, Helping Hand, will be taking place across areas served by the Midhurst transmitter on January 18 2012. The campaign encourages everyone to make sure older and disabled relatives, friends and neighbours know about the help they can receive. For more information about forthcoming Helping Hand campaigns in your area please contact the Help Scheme's Regional Manager, Caroline Byng.
Both Digital UK and the Switchover Help Scheme are working with local charities to deliver extra information and advice to viewers who need it. Leading this work in Meridian are Action with Communities in Rural Kent, Action in Rural Sussex, Age Concern Isle of Wight and Community Action Hampshire. To contact the organisation that will be working in your area, please email Ian Smith.

Digital UK's Regional Manager for Meridian is Bill Taylor.
He can be contacted by email or phone 07970 861 238. 
The Switchover Help Scheme Regional Manager is Caroline Byng. She can be contacted by email or phone 07590 306 930.