First digital switchover begins

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The first full-scale digital television switchover in the UK got under way today.

Analogue BBC2 was switched off at 12.31am in the Scottish Borders in the first stage of the nationwide programme.

The replacement digital service was being activated today.

Around 52,000 households in the Selkirk transmitter group are affected by the changes.

Viewers have had to get ready for the changes by making sure they have equipment which can pick up the digital signal, such as a Freeview box or a television fitted with a digital receiver.

The changes mean viewers will be able to receive a greater number of channels through their TV aerials.

Digital UK, the independent body overseeing the switch, said an improved digital signal would be available from the transmitter and its 11 relays, which carry the signal into more remote areas.

A spokesman said around 99 per cent of people in the affected area were aware that switchover was taking place, and 97 per cent of people had digital television plugged in or the equipment ready to go.

The remaining analogue channels will be switched off on 20 November.

All TV regions are expected to go digital by 2012.

A trial switchover was run in Whitehaven, Cumbria, in October last year.

Paul Hughes, Scotland national manager of Digital UK, said: "Scottish Borders residents have really responded to the information campaign and they're well prepared to lead the first, full-scale digital switchover."