Late surge as 50,000 people switch to digital TV
THERE has been a late surge in those switching to digital TV, with 50,000 making the changeover in recent weeks before the old analogue signal is switched off.
New figures show one-quarter of those who still had an analogue TV service this summer have now switched to a digital service in advance of the October 24 move to digital-only broadcasts.
However, this leaves 150,000 people who still have to make the switch before the analogue TV signal is switched off, leaving them with blank screens.
And TV installers yesterday predicted many of those would leave it till after the deadline of October 24.
Tony Moore of installation service satellite.ie said that business had picked up significantly in the last two weeks, but he expected it to be "like Christmas shopping" after the changeover.
"I spoke to a colleague in Germany who told me they were actually busier after their switchover a few months ago, because so many people didn't do it in time," he said.
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said that the latest figures showing high numbers switching between mid-August and mid-September were encouraging, and did not include those who made the switch after a special publicity campaign two weeks ago.
And a Millward Brown Lansdowne survey also showed that awareness of the digital switchover has risen to 94pc of the population, and at 97pc is even higher among those with an analogue signal.
Digital switchover packages, including installation of an aerial and Saorview box, are available from €219, and viewers then have no ongoing monthly costs as the Irish stations are received free of charge.
For those who also want to avail of free British digital stations, a package including an aerial, satellite and Saorview/ Freesat receiver boxes is available from around €329, with no ongoing subscription costs.
Customers of UPC and Sky do not need to do anything to prepare for the digital switchover.
Meanwhile, UPC said yesterday it was adding TG4 HD and RTE News Now to its Irish TV packages.
Sports fans will be able to watch this Sunday's All-Ireland Ladies Football Final in high definition on the channel.
RTE News Now is a 24-hour news channel carrying all RTE's radio and TV daily news programmes as well as current affairs shows. TG4HD is on UPC Channel 137 while RTE News Now is on channel 200.