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Scotland to complete digital TV switchover in less than 100 days

Wednesday, March 16th 2011 by Nigel Adie

The country's analogue signal will cease to operate on June 22nd 2011.

Less than 100 days remain until Scotland becomes a fully digital TV nation when it turns off analogue signals.

The nation's final old-style transmitter - located in Black Hill - will cease to operate on June 22nd 2011, 59 years after Scots first got access to analogue television.

This date will mark the completion of the country's digital switchover. Since work on the project began, Freeview coverage has increased to approximately 98 per cent of households north of the border.

Parts of central Scotland are set to begin the process on May 11th when BBC Two will become the first digital-only station, with all other channels due to follow suit on May 25th.

Lothian and some sections of Edinburgh and Fife are scheduled to make the change to digital on June 15th, followed by the remaining areas of central Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh on June 22nd.

With these dates approaching fast, viewers who are still relying on an analogue set are being urged to make preparations as soon as possible or risk being left with a blank screen. To receive digital signal, TVs must be connected to a Freeview box or satellite and cable services such as Sky and Virgin Media.

Paul Hughes, the national manager for Scotland at Digital UK - the non-profit company tasked with leading the switchover - reassured residents that practical support and advice will be available to those who need it.

Iain Logie-Baird, the grandson of television's inventor John Logie-Baird, insisted the move offers numerous benefits to viewers.

"Analogue television has served us well over the decades, but digital will offer more ways to enjoy sport and other programmes," he explained. "People will increasingly be able to watch at their convenience and enjoy special features."

While the project is about to get underway in Scotland, many Welsh consumers are still unable to watch a full complement of digital TV channels almost a year after its switchover took place.

The Western Mail revealed much of the country - including parts of the south Wales Valleys - can only pick up 16 stations, rather than the 60 or more available in other areas.

Sera Evans-Fear, Plaid Cymru's candidate for the Rhondda, said the political party refuses to accept the region being stuck with an "inferior service".

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