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The Hidden Costs Of The Digital TV Switchover

Aug 18, 2007
Price comparison website uSwitch says that millions of television sets and video recorders will be dumped following the Digital TV switch-over. Their bold statement comes on the back of a survey of 2,500 UK adults.

The survey estimates that eight-million machines, enough to fill 100 Olympic swimming pools, will be dumped after being rendered useless by the Digital TV switch-over. Most existing TVs will continue to work once the analogue TV signal is switched off, but viewers will have to either subscribe to BT Vision, Sky or Virgin Media, or buy a Freeview box to continue watching television following the Digital TV switch-over.

However, older television sets without scart inputs will be rendered useless and one in five video recorders will also be dumped as they will not work in the same way. This is because the Digital TV switch-over will mean that most people will be unable to record one programme whilst watching another. One way around this is to purchase a digital recorder, or to buy a seperate Freeview box for solely recording from. Either way, many people will not have expected this problem and extra cost, whilst it will cause extra confusion and worry for more people already dreading the Digital TV switchover.

uSwitch has predicted that of the 25 million television sets in the UK yet to go digital, nearly five million will be unable to receive a digital signal. The national cost of making all UK television sets work will be 2.2 billion pound, with 15% planning to throw away their old sets. When this is added to the one in five video recorders that will be thrown away, with the cost of replacing them with digital recorders estimated at 1.1 billion pounds, it proves that it will not only be costly for the customer but for the environment too.

Steve Weller, head of communication services at uSwitch, says: "Not only is the switch-over costing the nation significantly more than the low cost of a Freeview box, but the potential environmental impact of the discarded VCRs and TVs is shattering."

The uSwitch findings have prompted calls for better education with regards to the Digital TV switch-over. Although the government and relevent authorities claim to be providing enough information for people in how to ensure their television set will receive Digital TV signals following the switch-over, there are major concerns that the use of video recorders has been overlooked. Finally, to avoid damaging the environment collection and recycling schemes need to be set up so that people can safely dispose of their old analogue equipment.
About the Author
Guide to TV discusses television options for residential customers, primarily for the UK market. Find out more about getting the best option for your home at Guide to TV .
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