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The digital switchover affects the way we all watch TV. On this page is some advice on a number of common digital TV accessibility issues.

Help for blind or partially-sighted

Information on services available on digital TV services that can help those with sight problems:

Help for the hearing impaired

There are several services available on digital TV services that can help the hard-of-hearing and the deaf:

  • Consider getting a digital TV service that offers subtitles. More and more channels are now offering subtitles, and just about all digital TV boxes and TV sets support subtitles, including Sky, Freesat, Virgin Media and Freeview. For more on subtitling, go to the RNID site.

  • Some programmes support Signing - an overlay of a person commentating on the programme using BSL (British Sign Language). For more on subtitling, go to the RNID site.

TV remote controls

In many cases, remote controls supplied by manufacturers are fiddly or cluttered with unnecessary seldom-used buttons. To make it easier for the partially-sighted, elderly, or those with limited dexterity, consider replacing remote controls with an all-in-one controller, with nice clear buttons:

Big Button Remote
  • Recommended for the elderly or partially-signed, consider the Big Button Remote at Maplin, pictured. With large, clear buttons, this is a 6-in-1 universal remote control for controlling TV, VCR, satellite, DVD, cable and audio

  • For a remote control without too many unneeded buttons that's also a comfy hold, consider the Medium Size 3-in-1 Remote from Maplin. It has large backlit buttons and is ready to operate almost all brands of TV, DVD, video recorders and many Freeview boxes

You can also buy universal TV controllers from Currys, Argos and

Also worth considering, is upgrading to a TV set that has a built-in Freeview receiver. This means that the new digital TV channels are available without needing a separate set-top box, and without a second remote control to worry about.

TVs with built-in Freeview are available on the high street, or online at the likes of Currys and Argos

Financial help with the switchover

The UK Government has indicated that it will offer assistance to the disabled and people on certain disability allowances.

For the details, go to our Digital Switchover Help page.


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