Digital TV: The Most Frequently Asked Questions


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Digital TV Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Read the most frequently asked questions about digital TV; see the answers, compare quotes and find the best deal to suit you.

What does the term digital TV mean?

As part of the government’s digital switchover Digital TV replaced traditional analogue TV.

You can find out more in our beginners’ guide to digital TV.

What are the benefits of digital TV over analogue television?

  • You can receive programmes in high definition (HD)
  • Better quality in picture and sound
  • Interactive services
  • Programme guides
  • You can pause, record and rewind programmes
  • Programmes on demand for some
  • More channels

How can I receive a digital signal?

You can get this from:

Do I need specialist equipment?

A new television should be ready for digital TV set up; most of the older sets can be converted using a digital box.

A digital box can be purchased with a one-off payment; it may be supplied by your channel provider. Providers like Sky, Virgin Media and BTVision are specialist providers in Broadband; bundling your services together will be more efficient.

How will I be asked to pay?

The two main payment options for digital television are:

  • One-off payment: purchase a digital box for access to free channels. There are then no further costs (apart from the compulsory television licence fee) and no contracts. This is often known as Freeview, but other providers offer a similar service
  • Monthly subscription: pay for a channel package through a provider such as Sky, Virgin Media or BTVision; they will supply the digital box. Costs are higher than with Freeview but there are more channels from which to choose and more digital box features available

Is there anything else I should know about?

  • The channels that you can receive and the provider who you can use will depend on your area.
  • Most new TVs are more energy efficient than the old analogue sets
  • Providers like Sky, Virgin Media and BTVision are specialists in providing Broadband; bundling your services together is more efficient and cheaper.

What about high definition?

To be able to watch HD programmes, it is necessary you have an ‘HD ready’ television. High definition gives you a far superior picture and quality of sound than standard digital televisions.

For answers to any further questions, see our digital TV guides.

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