Jowell warns that millions are set for digital darkness

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net1

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#1
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell this week said the Government would take action to prevent millions of households being plunged into a digital television blackout.

Huge holes in digital coverage across the UK mean that despite the success of Freeview, broadcasters and advertisers are losing the chance to reach 25% of the country, said Jowell.

The situation has dramatically reduced the chances of a switch off of the analogue TV signal by 2010.

“We have reached the point where Barb’s figures indicate that over 50% of households have digital television. This means that those without digital are now a minority,” she told the Oxford Media Convention this week.

But she added: “I receive a constant stream of letters from people in areas where DTT is not available, frustrated that they cannot get Freeview. Some 20-25% of the population will not be able to receive digital terrestrial until after switchover.”

Even though figures from Barb – which measure TV audience – suggest that digital take-up is thriving, Jowell was less than optimistic about the switch from analogue television broadcast and refused to confirm the switch-off date when questioned after her speech.

Stephen Carter, chief executive of media regulator Ofcom, expressed concern over the switchover, urging the Government to put an end to the uncertainty this week to shore up industry and public confidence in the digital medium. “2004 will be a year of transition, during which the key strategic decisions need to be taken; so that we can move beyond not just whether but when,” he said.

A major barrier facing Jowell came with the findings of a report, which suggested that 13% of people across the UK said they did not want digital TV and would not invest in the new technology, “come what may”.


“This shows that there is still a challenge for us all in persuading people that digital TV is right for them. The Government has always made clear that, in planning switchover, the interests of consumers must be looked after. That means that digital TV must be accessible and affordable to the vast majority.”

Jowell’s pledge to act to fill the digital void was welcomed by Andy Roberts, executive trading director at Starcom Motive.

He said: “The point is that the Government cannot afford to bring in the analogue switch-off until digital can reach 100% of the country. It would be political suicide. For one thing, the Government is one of the largest advertisers in the country itself and it needs this kind of full coverage, so it can’t even afford to disenfranchise even five per cent of the country. Full capacity will come with great difficulty, but the Government will have to find some way of achieving it.”

Dave Jowett, deputy broadcast director at MediaCom said: “The Government has to turn off the analogue signal at some point, but the exact point that there are a small enough number of refuseniks is not really known.

It’s not going to happen in this decade in my personal opinion.”

However, Jowell told the convention the future of digital in the UK will not just be about TV.
 
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robbins1940

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#2
Make digital tuners in TVs, VCR and DVD recorders complusely. Then spend some money getting digital to these black spots.

Could be done if the will is there.

David
 
rolfw

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I agree David, seems ridiculous that there seems to be very little movement by the manufacturers for dedicated digital TVs, if there was the prices would probably drop and more people would start buying them. It has got to the ludicrous situation where if someone needs to replace a portable TV, they cannot replace it with a digital model.
 
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That link seems to be inactive
 
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Repaired link. :)

PaulR said:
I'm beginning to sound like some boring old fart
Far be it from me to cast the first stone PaulR. ;) :D
 
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#8
robbins1940 said:
Make digital tuners in TVs, VCR and DVD recorders complusely. Then spend some money getting digital to these black spots.

the only way you can make that happen is to make everyone write to their MP's and pass a fast bill to make the manufacturers make their products duel transmission tuners so that they can receive in both analogue and digital

alex
 
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