Pros and cons of digital TV services

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I WISH to comment on the letters (June 22) regarding the new digital TV services.

On the positive side I think most people will be very happy with digital TV.

Roy Hills has highlighted the poorer aspects of going digital but failed to mentioned the many advantages.

r Picture quality is better and if viewers invest in a television set or set top box with a high definition tuner the picture is stunning.

On a larger screen, high-definition TV is more like the cinema than analogue television.

r An on-screen programme guide is available so you can see at a glance what programmes will be showing, up to one week in advance.

r Subtitles are available on most programmes on the major channels - a real boon to the hard of hearing.

r The digital equivalent of the video recorder, the personal video recorder, can be easily programmed directly from the guide screen with start and stop time set automatically.

r Many radio stations are also available via your television.

However, the way in which the changeover has been managed has been very poor.

l There has been a massive publicity drive to get people to retune their sets on the two changeover dates.

However, there was little publicity regarding a third TV retune required on June 27. That was for all viewers using the Heathfield transmitter. On this date some commercial channels disappeared and the set needed retuning.

So if you are currently receiving your picture from the Heathfield transmitter you will need to tune your set again otherwise you may have lost some channels.

l The advice line has limited information regarding specific local issues and is not sympathetic to people who may be less adept at using modern technology.

l None of the publicity material mentions any of the advantages of Digital Television, other than the number of channels available. So many people are unaware of the other useful features.

l People who live in an area of poor reception have been badly advised. In consequence people like Mr Parkman have been lead to purchase equipment which now turns out to be inadequate and will need to be replaced at considerable additional expense. Freesat is often the best option where Freeview signal is a problem, but this has not been clearly spelled out.

l People getting their signal from repeater transmitters, such as the South Cliff Tower repeater, will not receive all the channels, effectively receiving a second class service.

Again, these viewers should have been advised to consider Freesat before they purchased Freeview equipment.

So, all in all, there will be more complaints about the changeover, but in the long run I think most people will agree that they are better off with the new digital service.

MIKE PARRIS

South Lynn Drive