With the switch to digital television well underway, the term “Freeview” is one that is going to become more and more prominent as we head to the moment when an engineer will switch-off the last analogue TV mast in the UK.
As you may have seen from the TV ads, the old analogue TV system is progressively being switched off across the UK. Some areas of the UK, mainly along the west of the country, have already been “switched over” to digital and the process will continue until 2012. This year, the Yorkshire, Central, Anglia and STV regions will all ‘go digital’.
What that means, in simple terms, is that your existing analogue TV will stop working on the day of your switchover. This includes your television and any analogue video or DVD recorders that you may be using.
To make sure that you don’t miss any of your favourite shows, you need to make sure that you are ready for digital. If you have digital satellite or cable television, you won’t be affected by the changes but if you get your TV through your aerial, you’ll need to make sure that you have a digital “Freeview” receiver.
A Freeview set-top-box, such as this Goodmans Freeview Box, is the easiest and most cost effective way of getting ready for digital. This is simply a box that plugs into your existing aerial feed and then connects, usually via a Scart lead, to your television set. This gives you access to the full range of digital Freeview channels* and ensures that you won’t have any interruption in service when your region is switched.
The downside with a simple set-top box, or STB, is that it doesn’t address the problem of your analogue DVD or video recorders. Now, you can get a separate STB for each device but this can cause a lot of clutter so instead, many people are opting for Freeview hard drive recorders, such as this Toshiba 500Gb Freeview HD Recorder.
With a hard drive recorder, you can watch and record your favourite programmes directly to the built-in hard drive, doing away with discs and tapes in the process.
This particular Freeview recorder comes with High Definition capability, meaning that you can get crystal-clear image quality that is four times more detailed than standard definition.
The third and final way to get ready for digital is with a new television set and, with the new generation of flat screen plasma, LCD and LED televisions now hitting the market, like this LG 42in LED TV with Freeview HD, many people are going for this option. Almost every TV now on the market comes with a Freeview tuner as standard, so you won’t need to worry about any extra boxes or cables if you are just interested in watching your favourite shows.
If you have been putting off getting ready for digital, then now is the time to do something about it. You can check out Digital UK to see when your region is making the switch, so make sure that you don’t miss out on your favourite shows.
* Some geographic limitations may apply. See Digital UK for coverage limitations.
Main Image: VisMedia.