back to article Axe hangs over UK town's analogue TV signal

Residents of Whitehaven, Cumbria will tonight become the first UK inhabitants to lose analogue TV transmissions. At 2am, the region’s BBC 1, ITV 1 and Channel 4 analogue signals will be permanently switched off. Whitehaven_map The Whitehaven and Copeland TV region Last month, the town and surrounding area of Copeland lost …


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  1. Steve

    There are other choices!

    "either subscribing to Sky or switching to Freeview"

    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

    You can get almost all the standard channels (except Ch4 and Five), plus the extras like BBC3/4, with a standard £50 digital satellite receiver from B&Q (plus dish) NO subscription required.

    You can get *all* the standard chanels including Ch4 and Five and the extra with a one-off £20 "Freesat from Sky" receiver, plus dish.

    There is *NO* need to pay a subscription.

    Satellite TV does not equal Sky TV. We expect that rubbish from "government spokesmen", but surely El Reg is better informed?

  2. Jeremy

    Six channels?

    They only have six freeview channels up there? I have 86 on mine, not too far away (as well as four analogue).

    Of course, 80 of them are crap so...

  3. Anonymous Coward

    El-Reg Geography Sucks

    "Next for the chop is the Boarder TV region on 6 November 2008."

    I'm so glad I live in my own flat - if I were a boarder, I'd lose my telly...

    Oh, you meant BORDER - as in Scottish Border...

    Use a brain, not a spell-checker. Tossers.

  4. Jeremy

    Six channels?

    They only have six freeview channels up there? I have 86 on mine, not too far away (as well as four analogue).

    Of course, 80 of them are crap so...

  5. Dazed and Confused

    I wonder how much of the area can get a digital signal

    When I was up in Eskdale Green in August there was still no receivable digital signal. They don't seem to be giving the local residents much time to switch over. But then they don't live in London so why should the bureaucrats care.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Any idea why Channel 4 and 5 aren't available for free via satellite?

    IIRC my generic dish pointed at one of the Astra satellites can receive Channel 4, but it's encrypted pay-to-view.

    Jeez how desperate would you have to be to pay for 'Celebrity How Clean is your Relocation, Relocation, Relocation' with Vernon Kay.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Ahh, Border TV...

    ...(in)famous for bringing 'Mr and Mrs' to our telly screens, live* and direct from their massive media complex** in downtown Carlise.

    Am I showing my age?

    BTW, Whitehaven is part of the Border TV region.

    * - Probably not.

    ** - Actually, it's a shed.

  8. Jaster


    According to Freeviews own site the coverage at the British Nuclear Fuels Plc, Sellafield, Seascale which in the middle of the region already has 31 channels?

    This does include Channel 4 ? (but not Five)

    It's a rather limited list but it says "You should be able to receive some Freeview channels now, but when your region switches to digital you should be able to receive the most popular channels"

    This is the list now (before the switchover)


    ITV 1/2/3/4

    Channel 4 E4 More4 C4+1

    CBBC Cbeebies CITV

    News24 Parliment Community

    Plus some teletext and radio stations

  9. Graham Jordan

    Heres one for all you smart bods

    Assume i have an old anolouge TV and no digital reciever and i happen to live in an aera where the anologue signal is turned off. Would that mean those bastards who claim to know what im watching on TV by sitting in a white van outside my house wouldnt be able to trace that i do in fact have a tv, its hooked up to a pc which downloads all my shows off the tinternet and i use it for ps2 use and hardcore pornography?

  10. Tom Haczewski

    @Anonymous Coward

    Wow, somebody got out the wrong side of the bed this morning.

    Don't worry, El Reg. We loyalist Vultures knew what you meant.

  11. Ian Sneyd
    Black Helicopters

    Someone will probably answer first making me look like a dick...

    But, technically the problem with Channels 4 & 5 is the difference between free to air and free to view....

    You can get a card from Sky that will decrypt 4 & 5 and you don't need to subscribe for this facility but you do need a sky receiver rather than a generic sat box (because of the proprietary encryption, having a card slot on the receiver doesn't help) the reason is some obscure deal done in the past and there are rumours that they will both become free to air in the new year.

  12. Steve


    Ch 4/5 are still tied into a contract with Sky that requires them to be encrypted, although not subscription. The 'freesat from sky' card will allow them to be decrypted, they are "Free to view" although not "Free to air" (i.e. in clear). One of them (Ch4? I forget) comes up for renewal soon, so it may change.

  13. Jon Lawrence

    so you pay out more.

    Regardless of which option you go for you will have to pay out something in order to view the channels.

    I've already paid a f'in license fee so why should I have to pay out more. Charging a license fee for something I can't get would be illegal surely.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Switch it off!

    Thanks El Reg for the info about the great Border's TV switch off.

    Back in the summer a couple of people from the Quango mentioned in the article came to my mums town of Langholm and confused the proverbial out of the good but elderly folk that live there. (BTW not all of Langholms residents are elderly or confused)

    Last time up there I sorted out a digital flat screen tv for her, but at the moment there is no digital terrestrial signal. So now I know I've got at least over the summer to install a suitable antenna on the chimney for her. The ever so helpful people at COME[off i]T couldn't even tell us if digital was available in the area.

    All that just to watch the Beeb, although me mum was quite taken with the idea of getting the radio through the telly

    As previously stated in the comments, most of the content is K-wrap

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Disaster Looms

    Am I the only one thnking that 'everything digital' is creating an upside-down pyramid?

    I think it's time to get pally with the local radio enthusiasts. When the crash comes they will be the only ones able to communicate on a strangely clear 'Top Band' at 12WPM with their home built 3 Valve transceivers.

  16. Tom

    Think this is bad...

    Wait until the USA switches off its analog TV. It happens ALL OVER the country (yes, all 50 states) in January 2009. Just in time for the new president to be sworn in, and AFTER the election. This is going to be a REAL interesting date.

    Of course, it could be deferred (we can hope), but when it happens it will be a BIG DEAL. It will make this event seem like very small potatoes!

  17. David Gosnell

    Not the first

    I see the article parrots the common assertion that Whitehaven are the first to lose analogue, when this has repeatedly been pointed out as untrue. Quite possibly the first large area to switch, but certainly not the first of any size. In my town (Farnham, Surrey) challenging terrain means some neighbourhoods have had digital-only reception for quite some time, and they're not the only ones.

  18. Nick Denny
    Thumb Up

    @Graham Jordan, @Tom

    Graham, apparently not...

    Tom, surely that depends on how many people actually watch broadcast tv, as opposed to cable / satellite. In my experience, the broadcast tv signals are so weak that it's barely worth it. That could be because I live in a big concrete apartment block, though...

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Heres one for all you smart bods

    Look up PAL RCA to RF converters (or SCART to RF, whatever).

    They're ass-cheap, and can be used to convert old coaxial-only TV sets to receive data from SCART or RCA sources.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Re: There are other choices

    The best thing I ever did was consign my TV to a skip. No more crappy home improvement shows, no more EastOaksHollyEnders, no more I'm A Big Brother Get Me Out Of Here and, best of all, no more paying the bloody TV tax. For added irony, I did all this just before doing some contract work at the BBC.

    Freeview? You can keep it - the only good thing about it was the radio stations, and I can get them on my DAB receiver anyway.

  21. Rob
    Black Helicopters

    @Graham Jordan

    In short yes they would, it's easy to detect the signals your talking about and impossible to narrow it down to 1 household as the signal is everywhere right now (currently being received by your fillings if you have any).

    The people in the van use a combination of databases and laser microphones. An address that used to have a license is flagged, van pulls up outside house, microphone is pointed at each window, if they a hear a TV show, they'll come a knocking on your door. If your watching downloaded content, I think technically it's out of their jurisdiction, but they'll probably make sure you get done anyway, somehow. Think of them as Traffic Wardens of TV's... also don't forget you can refuse them entry as well, they need a warrant for that.

  22. andy gibson

    The TV Licence

    The licence doesn't necessarily allow you to watch TV programmes, it's a licence for you to own and operate a television set - regardless of what you do with it.

    If you don't watch broadcast TV on it and just use it as a computer monitor (Sinclair Spectrum?) then you have to contact them to be exempt. But they will hassle you, just like they have done with my friends who don't own or watch TV. The TV licencing company find it 'odd' that people don't want to watch TV and think you're trying to pull the wool over their eyes. Maybe if they turned on a TV once in a while and saw the output they'd realise.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Standard satellite boxes don't work with "Freesat from Sky"

    Standard satellite boxes that you can buy off-the-shelf don't work with the Freesat from Sky cards. You need an actual Sky digibox, which is about £50 or so second-hand, and well over £100 new (not to mention much harder to get hold of than a generic box, especially new).

  24. Nicholas Moore

    @andy gibson

    You've been misinformed mate. I'll quote from the TV Licensing website:

    "You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, set-top boxes, video or DVD recorders, computers or mobile phones to watch or record TV programmes as they are being shown on TV."

    If you're not using it to watch a TV program, you don't have to pay or even register.

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