By the end of this year the whole of the UK will have switched over from analogue to digital TV which means that if you still haven’t decided which digital TV provider to choose you’ll need to make a decision pretty soon.
Do I still need a TV license?
Whatever digital provider you use you will still need a TV licence. Your TV license funds BBC programming and eliminates the need for the channel to show advertisements. In the UK, if you own a television then you are required by law to purchase a license and renew your license every year. If you don’t do this you could be subject to a heavy fine and even a prison sentence.
Will I pay a monthly fee to my digital provider?
There are several different providers in the UK; some require a monthly subscription payment. The amount you pay will be determined by the package you choose. The more channels you have the more your package will cost. You may also be able to buy packages which combine TV, telephone and internet use.
With free digital providers, you pay a one of fee to purchase your digibox and after this your channels are completely free. You can also purchase different digibox packages depending on what you want. For example a package which offers the ability to pause, rewind and record TV programmes will be more expensive than a more basic offering. However, after the initial fee no further payment will be required.
Will I need to change my sockets or aerial to install digital TV?
Some existing sockets and aerials will be compatible with digital TV but some may not. You can consult a digital installer to find out if you’ll need new sockets and aerials installed. For some people, such as those on income support or retirees, they will be able to have their digital television installed for free by a not for profit installer.
If I choose free digital, how many channels will I get?
The number of channels you have access to will depend on the initial digital package you choose. The more you want to spend, the more channels you will be able to get. A subscription provider will have more channels available but free providers also have a substantial number of quality channels.
Freeview viewers can get access to over 140 television and radio channels and these include HD channels which can be viewed with a HD television set.
Once you’ve chosen a free digital package this doesn’t mean that you have to stick with the channels you’ve chosen forever. It is possible to upgrade your package if you decide you want to be able to access more channels.
If you haven’t switched to digital yet then you haven’t got long left so use these tips to decide which digital provider is right for you.
David John is a journalist from Brighton. He regularly writes about entertainment for leading websites and publications, including the benefits of Freeview. In his spare time he enjoys attending sporting events.