Thursday, 18 June 2009

What the UK can learn from America's Digital Switchover

One of the reasons you might have bought or might be thinking about buying a freesat digibox or television with built in freesat receiver is to get ready for the big digital switchover which is looming. By 2012, the whole of the UK will have switch their television broadcast and viewing to digital, shutting down the old analog broadcast equipment and rendering any analog receiving equipment pretty much useless.

America has already completed their switchover - last Saturday, they officially turned off the analog broadcasts. The UK is well underway with the digital switchover and if you haven't decided how to move over to receiving the digital broadcast, you should be looking into something like Freeview, Freesat or Freesat from Sky. If you are confused about the difference between the three, don't worry, so was I..... :)

Anyway so all the US television stations have switched from analog to digital broadcasts and it would be remiss of the UK if they didn't look at the problems that occured in America and learn from them. According to lots of news sites, switching off the analog signals did not all go swimmingly. Some sources report that 2.5 percent of households in America were not ready for the switchover and have been left without any television, with some people completely unaware that the transition was taking place. America had already delayed their switchover by 4 months because too many people were not ready. Since TV is such a valuable form of public information, many TV stations in Amerca have introduced an Analog nightlight services where they broadcast an analog signal at night to advise about the digital switchover and to inform those who haven't bought their equivalent of a freesat box about any national disasters such as hurricanes. They analog nightlight services will air for 30 days after which analog tv will be in the dark.

I'm sure that the UK will have teething problems when all the analog signals are switched off, let's just hope they learn a little from Americas problems and our move is a little smoother.

Friday, 12 June 2009

NHK World on Freesat. Kore Kudasai.

I've noticed a new channel pop up on my freesat box. It's called NHK World TV, which is essentially and English language news and information channel from NHK - a Japanese public broadcaster. So now we have world news from a Japanese and Asian perspective on freesat, which is rather nice. It gives us freesat users an "Eye on Asia".

The NHK channel adds to an already international news line-up that freesat already offers, including Bloomberg Television, CNN, Russia Today, BBC (obviously) and France 24.

NHK World TV has already been available for a while on the 28 degree east satellite position via BSkyB, so it's no surprise that it has now been added to the freesat service. NHK World is automatically added to your freesat digibox and appears on channel 209, so you don't need to go through any complicated set up like you would if you wanted to add non-freesat channels.

The cool thing about NHK world, is that every now and then, they have a little Japanese tutorial - last night I learned how to say "I want that" - Kore Kudasai. I'm sure I'm using it wrong, but what the heck - watch freesat and learn a new language at the same time!

Kore Kudasai