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300 households will participate in digital TV pilot scheme ...
300 households will participate in digital TV pilot scheme
E-commerce minister Douglas Alexander and culture minister Tessa
Blackstone today welcomed the Independent Television Commission's
announcement that an area encompassing Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield
and Tamworth will provide the location for the first 'Go Digital' TV
pilot project.
Under the Go Digital programme, a representative sample of volunteer
households will be identified by a professional research company
working in consultation with the local authorities.
They will be loaned equipment allowing them to:
* Watch all the existing free terrestrial channels on digital TV
where the reception is usually better
* Watch in addition the current free digital TV channels (those
wanting access to subscription channels will need to pay to subscribe
according to the operators' usual terms and conditions)
* Use their TV set to access interactive services including learning
and shopping
* Send and receive email
Jointly backed by government and industry, the pilot project will
help experts to build a better understanding of the technical and
social issues which viewers face in switching from analogue to
digital TV services.
The scheme will be led by the Independent Television Commission, who
in partnership with industry identified Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield
and Tamworth as an ideal launch pad for these studies. There were two
main factors in selecting these areas:
* The availability of digital TV signals from all platforms
(terrestrial, satellite and both cable networks)
* A population demographic which can yield a sample representative of
the national profile.
The progress and findings of the trials will be periodically reviewed
to ascertain whether further trials - possibly in different
geographical areas- might be desirable to achieve the project's
Mr Alexander said:
'This project, which brings government and industry together, is an
important first step in understanding how we will be using our
televisions in the all-digital environment of the future. The
consumers taking part in these real-world tests will play a vital
role in ensuring that the benefits of digital TV can be made more
accessible to all.'
Ms Blackstone said:
'Digital television will transform the communications services
available in the home. The pilot project will be vital in assessing
the impact on viewers adopting these new services. Those taking part
will have the opportunity to shape the future of digital TV.'
1. The Project Management Board will recruit a professional research
company and work with Local Authorities to identify a representative
selection of households to take part in the pilot. However, members
of the public who are interested in further information about the
project should contact the ITC at the following address: Digital
Planning, Independent Television Commission, Staple House, Staple
Gardens, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8SR. Email:
2. Organisations involved in the digital TV pilot project are: BBC,
Boxclever, BSkyB, Channel 4, DCMS, Dixons, DTI, ITC, ITVDigital, NTL,
Nokia, Novapal, Pace, Philips, Sony, TDN (The Digital Network) and
3. Currently over 30% of UK households are receiving digital TV
services. In September 1999 the government set out its conditions for
switchover from analogue to digital TV transmissions, and expects
these to be met within the period 2006-2010.
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