It may seem a long way off, but from 7 March 2012, the Isle of Wight’s terrestrial TV signal will be turned off.
This means to continue receiving free-to-air TV channels such as BBC and ITV, households would require a digital set top box or TV with built-in Freeview.
Isle of Wight Council Trading Standards is advising residents considering buying a digital box to be wary of opportunist traders as they look to purchase new equipment or TVs.
Bill Murphy, IW Council Head of Planning & Regulatory Services says it is known that some companies try to take advantage of unsuspecting households. He said; “There are reports from trading standards elsewhere in the country of companies targeting vulnerable people and charging well over the odds for set top boxes ahead of the digital switchover. They also sell them equipment that is totally unnecessary.
“A typical digital box can be found for less than £20 and many TVs also have Freeview built in these days and these can by bought for less than £150. There are also many other ways, such as Internet-based services provided by major companies.
“Our advice would be to visit the Digital Switchover website for information, and also visit the council’s Buy With Confidence website for reputable companies.
“These local retailers and major companies can give you good advice and guidance ahead of the switchover in March next year. It may still seem a long way off, but it’s less than seven months away and will come around very quickly”
The Digital Switchover website can be found at www.digitaluk.co.uk or by calling 08456 505050, while the council’s website is accessed at www.iwbuywithconfidence.info
Meanwhile, the BBC is also providing assitance to help people with the digital switchover. The organisation is running ‘Help Scheme’ which is backed by the government and is aimed at the elderly and disabled.
Help Scheme is writing directly to people that are eligible for assistance and most people on the Isle of Wight should be receiving their first letter and information pack shortly.
The scheme charges £40 for help which includes easy to use Freeview equipment to convert one TV set, an approved installer and a 12 month aftercare service including a free helpline
The service is free for people who are eligible and who also receive pension credit income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance or income-related employment and support allowance. Other options and equipment are also available at an extra cost and are outlined in the information pack.