HE’S a regular feature on our television screens and loved by thousands of viewers.
But unless they act quickly, some fans may be left unable to see ITV Meridian presenter Fred Dinenage, as old-style TV channels are soon being switched off.
Fred is urging his legion of viewers to make sure they have the right TV equipment as the process of replacing all old analogue TV channels with digital ones begins tonight. The 69-year-old said people shouldn’t panic about the switchover.
‘It’s a simple process,’ he said.
‘All people need to do is buy a digital Freeview box, and that will work fine on their existing television. If they try watching channels without a Freeview box they’ll just get a blank screen – which wouldn’t be a good thing for me.
‘All I ask is for people not to switch me off.
‘It has been handled very well, so people don’t need to panic.’
Digital UK, the independent body in charge of the switch over, has been broadcasting messages on television screens over the last two weeks which tell people to get ready for the change.
Stage one of the switchover, which begins just after midnight, will see analogue BBC2 being permanently switched off.
The remaining channels – BBC1, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – will be switched off on March 21 at the same time.
Bill Taylor, Digital UK regional manager, said: ‘While the process will be straightforward for most people, some viewers may need a bit of extra help so we’ll be helping people wherever possible.’
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Q. What is the digital switchover?
Existing analogue television channels are being switched off and replaced by digital ones.
Q. What do I need to do?
To view digital channels you will need to have a freeview box, which can be found at most supermarkets for around £20.
During both stages of the switchover you will need to re-tune your freeview box to get digital channels.
Q. What help is available?
People aged 75 and over, eligible for certain disability benefits, registered blind, partially sighted or living in care homes are entitled to practical help.
For £40, they will be given equipment to switch one TV per household to digital. They will be able to have the equipment installed and a demonstration of how it works. If they’re eligible and on income-related benefits the help will be free. Contact 0800 40 85 900 or visit helpscheme.co.uk for more information.