Picture unclear on digital switchover

IN less than 100 days, our TV signal will go digital. Living in Felixstowe, there is no guarantee switchover day will provide everyone with a clearer picture and dozens of new channels expected.

The resort is a TV blackspot for several reasons and going digital could leave many families worse off when it comes to the small screen.

High-rise port cranes have caused problems for many years.

Households in the south of the resort suffered for years with snowy pictures until the transmitter in Ranelagh Road was put up, while people on Cavendish Park rely on the Anzani House relay station.

Weather, too, can cause problems – high pressure produces wavy lines, sparkies, and sometimes a complete loss of picture.

When it comes to digital, Felixstowe is right on the edge of signal strength – for a large number of households in the town there is no ITV1, 2, 3 or 4, C4 or many of the extra ones on Freeview.

The man behind the counter in Hughes in Hamilton Road told me Felixstowe was “absolutely awful” for digital, but he had been assured we would be in a string signal area once switchover begins.

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Even so, I am not filled with confidence.

The digital TV people say when the analogue channels are turned off – BBC2 on July 6 and the rest on July 20 – it will mean the digital signal can be boosted and so everything should be all right. Do I believe that? I’m not so sure.

A friend in the digital TV field believes we also may still need to change our aerial, but is that a cost I want to pay?

We watch fairly little TV and so getting rid of it is under consideration.

We could disconnect the aerial, just watch DVDs and BBC i-player and not have to pay a licence.

The question is how much we would miss live TV. That must see football match, Neil Oliver and the Coast team in a new series, that moment you just want to chill and watch anything, however awful.

Think we’ll wait and see what the digital picture is like first.

? According to the BBC i-player webpage help section and also the TV Licensing website, you do not need a TV licence as long as you do not watch or record live TV.

Watching catch-up i-player broadcasts of programmes which have already been shown, or watching DVDs, is completely legal – and there is no need to buy a licence.

“If you don’t watch or record television programmes, or you only stream TV programmes online after they’ve been broadcast – through on-demand services like YouTube, BBC iPlayer and 4oD – you don’t need to be covered by a TV Licence,” said the TV Licensing Authority.