Millions lose BBC2 signal during digital switchover

Caroline Cassidy

Up to a million households lost their BBC Two signal yesterday as the big digital switchover continued. As the largest phase of the switch began, the analogue signal for the BBC channel was shut down, affecting five million households.

Digital TV switchover
Digital TV switchover

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Those in the capital and the Home Counties were affected by the switch, leaving many viewers unable to see BBC Two at all.

Thousands reportedly called emergency help lines as the signal disappeared from an estimated one million TV sets and it is thought elderly and disabled viewers may need extra help with the change to digital.

Digital UK, the body leading the switchover, insisted that most viewers' main TV set was digital-ready but that older sets would lose channels. Research by the body revealed that 200,000 homes were unprepared with no digital TV set in the house.

Once completed in October, the digital switchover will provide most viewers with more than 40 extra digital channels and bring high-definition viewing to more people. The BBC Two analogue signal was the first to be turned off, with BBC One, ITV and Channel 4 expected to shut down within a fortnight.

Though it is unlikely that most will need to splash out on new equipment, experts advised that householders may need to retune their Freeview TVs or set-top boxes.

Last night a Digital UK spokesman said: "The switchover went according to plan and there were no reported problems.

"It was the single largest phase of the process and marked the biggest day for broadcasting since the introduction of colour in 1967."

Are you prepared for the digital switchover? Leave your comments below...