Friday, 7 August 2009

Looking forward to digital Freeview

It's less than a week now before this part of the world loses analogue BBC-2 in favour of digital TV for terrestrial transmitters at Kilvey Hill and its repeaters. Kilvey is just in broadcasting penumbra this side of Skewen, but I receive a decent signal from the Briton Ferry repeater.

I confess geekily to looking forward to having BBC-Parliament available in my living-room, as well as Channel 4 News. Less worthy is the desire to see whether 5 still runs those cheesy day-time soaps like "Sunset Beach", which I used to revert to when I lived in Pontardawe and wanted to put my brain into neutral after some hard programming.

I rather jumped the gun by buying a DTV receiver cum recorder through Radio Times' readers offers when it was announced, a year or so ago, that Kilvey Hill would be transmitting a digital signal alongside the analogue. Unfortunately, it soon transpired that, for technical reasons, digital could not be transmitted at full power while analogue was in operation, so I had only tantalising glimpses of what digital could do. Now I understand that the signal standard has changed subtly so that some of the early digital receivers do not work. Fortunately, I also have a more recent dual-standard portable.

The Burry Port pilot scheme went so well, that I am confident that the transmitter company and BBC will manage the changeover smoothly. However, even established digital providers can get it wrong. The Sydney Morning Herald reports a cock-up by Channel Nine down under:

"Channel Nine went dark for digital television viewers across the country this week after the network switched on its new digital channel, Go!

"The new entertainment channel, which will air shows including Weeds and Curb Your Enthusiasm, is scheduled to launch officially on Sunday, but Nine switched it on on Wednesday.

"Viewers with digital TV tuners found the standard and high-definition versions of Nine went blank as soon as they picked up the new Go! channel."

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