Putting record straight over Virgin Media analogue switch-off in Stevenage

CONFUSION over Virgin Media s analogue TV switch-off in Stevenage in two weeks time is still beleaguering residents. Virgin Media has taken the decision to pull the plug on analogue transmission up to two years earlier than the official digital switchover

CONFUSION over Virgin Media's analogue TV switch-off in Stevenage in two weeks time is still beleaguering residents.

Virgin Media has taken the decision to pull the plug on analogue transmission up to two years earlier than the official digital switchover in the town.

Stevenage Borough Council and Stevenage Homes have agreed to install integrated reception systems (IRS) in flat blocks and sheltered housing schemes so residents can continue watching the five analogue channels until the official switchover which begins in Stevenage in April next year.

In a bid to stem residents' panic over what the switch-off means to them, The Comet has taken the opportunity to dispel some of the myths which have been circulating.


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MYTH

Virgin Media will be completely switching off the signal on April 1.

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FACT

On April 1 Virgin Media will be reducing the number of channels available via analogue cable to the five that are available through a standard terrestrial aerial. These are BBC1, BBC2, Anglia, Channel 4 and Five. These channels will be switched off by Virgin Media on July 1.

If you are a Virgin Media Digital customer your service will not be affected.

MYTH

I will still have to pay for Virgin Media cable.

FACT

Stevenage Borough Council tenants who currently pay 90p per week for Virgin Media's analogue service will not be charged after April 5.

MYTH

IRS is not needed because you can fit several aerials onto a block.

FACT

If a block is under 15 metres high only two antennae can be fitted to it without planning permission.

MYTH

I do not need permission to fit an aerial or dish to my house.

FACT

If you are a council tenant you must get landlord's consent before fitting any aerial or dish to the outside of your home. You may also need to get planning permission if you live in a conservation area. To check, call the council's planning department on 01438 242242.

MYTH

The services available through the IRS can be received through a set top aerial.

FACT

Set top aerials rarely work effectively unless they are on the uppermost floors of tower blocks. Customers wishing to view digital channels may find that a set top aerial will not work at all.

The IRS can provide Freeview, Freesat HD, Sky, Sky HD and Top Up TV. It's also ready for 3D TV when it becomes available. In addition the system includes FM and DAB radio aerials.

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