The UK is in danger of reaching a digital disaster if more people don't convert their homes to digital TV sooner rather than later. Ford Ennals, chief at Digital UK , says that if too many people leave digital conversion until the last minute, there will be huge digibox stock shortages. Thousands of people will be left without access to television signals.

A Digital UK survey found that 34 per cent of analogue households in Whitehaven, Cumbria intend to convert "at or after the switchover". If this happens, it could result in a severe shortage of Freeview digital set-top boxes.

Ennals said: "It's good news that everyone we spoke to said they were intending to convert to digital. However, we also found that over a third of households yet to convert are planning to convert at and around switchover.

"[This] increases the risk of problems and a further third have still to decide. Too many people converting late would put a strain on suppliers of equipment, installers and other sources of support."

No need to panic

If 100,000 people walked into the Whitehaven branch of Comet on the same Saturday morning looking for a Freeview box to buy, it would obviously cause problems. But the situation is unlikely to be as bad as this.

Stock piling of Freeview boxes will definitely occur in areas just before and after each region switches over to digital. And the whole point of going region-by-region was to prevent these kinds of problems anyway.

Still though, if you live in an area which can already receive digital terrestrial TV signals , it would definitely be a good idea to convert early to avoid the last minute rush.