UK public ignorant of digital switchover

The roadmap has been set-out: each region will switch to digital TV at some point between 2008 and 2010

The UK public are clueless when it comes to knowledge of the digital switch-over. That's according to a survey which shows there are millions of people in the UK who don't know anything about the switch-over. They don't know how it will affect them or what to do about it.

Four million television sets and four million video recorders will be thrown away by the UK public when the digital switch-over goes ahead from next year. All because they don't know that they can simply buy a Freeview box to keep their TVs alive.

The survey of 2,500 UK adults indicated that many people would bin their TVs because they don't know what else to do. The equipment will be worth in the region of £800,000,000. And if you needed any more evidence that there is widespread ignorance in the UK about the digital switchover, try this. Some 46 per cent of the British population are unaware their VCRs will cease to function when the analogue signal is turned off.

Digital ignorance

Uswitch places the blame firmly on the government's shoulders for failing to educate the public to a satisfactory level. Steve Weller at, said: "The Government has spent millions of pounds attempting to boost consumer awareness, yet it's clear that there's more to be done.

"Not only is the switchover costing the nation significantly more than the low cost of a Freeview box, but the potential environmental impact of the discarded VCRs and TVs is shattering.

"VCRs won't work in the same way after the switchover. They will not be capable of recording anything other than the channel you are watching," he continued.

"If you go out, or even go on holiday, you would have to leave your digital receiver switched on and set to the channel that you want - hardly in line with the drive to improve household energy efficiency. With 21 million video recorders in use across the UK - or about 1 per household - isn't this something that perhaps we should have been warned about?"

The digital switchover is being publicised by the Department for Trade and Industry alongside the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and Ofcom. The terrestrial broadcasters also have their own organisation to promote the take-up of digital TV.

James Rivington

James was part of the TechRadar editorial team for eight years up until 2015 and now works in a senior position for TR's parent company Future. An experienced Content Director with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), E-commerce Optimization, Journalism, Digital Marketing, and Social Media. James can do it all.