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How do I switch to Digital TV?

The UK Digital Switchiver is now complete. This means that BBC1, BBC 2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are not available via a TV aerial without a digital TV or set-top box.

If you haven't made the switch to digtal TV yet, here is some advice on the options to you, now that the switchover is complete.


What are the options?

If you don't have a digital TV service yet, there are four options:

  • Freeview - This uses a TV aerial (in most cases your existing TV aerial will be fine). You will need a Freeview receiver. New TV sets have these built-in, otherwise you'll need to buy a set-top box for around £20. With Freeview, there is no subscription. for details on how to watch Freeview, see our Freeview basics guide

  • Satellite TV - You will need a satellite dish and a decoder box. Sky offers the widest choice of TV channels, but you'll need to pay a monthly subscription. Alternatively, there's a free-to-view satellite service called Freesat. More: Satellite TV Basics

  • Cable TV - If your house is in a Virgin Media area, you can get Digital TV, phone and Internet on subscription using their cable network. More: Virgin Media Basics

  • TV over Internet -In some cases, you can watch TV over the Internet, either on a computer, or on a TV connected to a special set-top box


Freeview box, from PhilipsIf you have a decent TV aerial, Freeview is likely to be the cheapest option. Here's what you need to know:

  • Freeview uses a TV aerial, just like analogue TV
  • Freeview boxes cost £20 upwards and connect to your existing TV (normally using a SCART lead)
  • There's no subscription - just the one-off £20 for the box
  • You need to be in a Freeview reception area.

Buy a Freeview box from £20 from Currys, Tesco and Argos

More information, plus help: See our Freeview Page


What do you need to do?

  • Pick one of the options listed above
  • Purchase the appropriate receiver - the cheapest option is to get a Freeview box
  • Connect a Digital TV receiver to your TV

Remember: As well as your main TV set, you also need to consider other TV sets in the house, portable TV sets, as well as any video recorders or DVD recorders that you may have.



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