UK Government Gives Away Trial Set-top Boxes

350 households in Carmarthenshire, Wales will be given digital TV set-top boxes for three months, and their analogue signals will be switched off. The trial is scheduled for November, so if you live in Ferryside or Llansteffan, well now you know.

The towns were chosen because they are both served by the same transmitter and the trial would not affect anyone else. Attempting a trial like this in a more urban area would cause significant problems as transmitters overlap and serve far greater population densities.

In this trial, households will be given access to all BBC digital channels, ITV1 and 2, C4, S4C, S4C Digidol (that’s Welsh for “digital”) and Five.

Lord Macintosh, Broadcasting Minister told Broadcast Magazine: “This is an opportunity to test the technology. The important thing here is that we haven’t yet done that, except on a tiny scale.”

Ofcom’s Digital Switchover Report

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?