The Digital Switchover

TV in the UK is now digital, and the existing analogue signal has been switched off.

There is information on the general digital switch over on the Digital Switchover UK web site at www.digitaluk.co.uk. Digital UK was set up by the Government as an independent not-for-profit company that is responsible for the digital TV switchover.

What does digital switchover mean for me and my Caravan?
Switchover means that any TV not ready to receive a digital signal will not work after the switchover.

Do I need to buy a new TV ?
The short answer is No – Any TV can be successfully made HD ready,however it will need to be connected to a digital receiver.

How do I watch digital on my existing TV?
There are two options available to allow your current TV to work using a digital signal.

1) Aerial – An aerial and a digital aerial receiver, such as freeview, that works in conjunction with a standard TV aerial (Note: An integrated digital TV (IDTV) is basically a TV with a built-in freeview receiver.)

2) Satellite – A satellite dish and a digital satellite receiver, such as Sky or freesat.

Which is better – Satellite or Aerial?
There are various pros and cons for using each option. These are outlined below:

1. Aerial
The advantage of an aerial system is that most people already have a standard TV aerial and are familiar with how it works. However with digital TV you are likely to need to upgrade your aerial, especially if using the standard TV aerials supplied with caravans and motorhomes.

If you do decide to use an aerial to receive digital TV, the best option would be a good quality directional aerial that is safely mounted as high as possible on your caravan. This will give you the best chance of receiving a TV picture.

However, the main overriding concern of using an aerial (whether standard caravan aerial or additional directional aerial) is that it will be extremely difficult to receive a good digital signal in a large parts of the country, especially in lesser populated areas, such as campsites and holiday parks. This is due to the fact that the digital transmission system has been designed for domestic housing only, without consideration for the ‘mobile population’. In domestic installations aerials can be installed at a greater height with less interference likely.
You can find out what Digital TV services are available in the TV region you are visiting by using Digital UK’s postcode checker atwww.digitaluk.co.uk. However do bear in mind that the postcode checker results for your destination will be based on a professional aerial installation on the chimney of a two storey house, not a temporary aerial installation attached to a caravan or motorhome.
2. Satellite
To help provide a reliable solution for areas and locations that find it difficult to receive digital signals through an aerial, a satellite based service called freesat, a joint partnership between the BBC and ITV was launched last March. This provides a free-to-air digital and high definition satellite service that has no contract, no subscription, just the one-off cost for the satellite dish and the receiver box. This means that as long as you are able to see (have line of sight to) the satellite and there are no obstructions blocking you, you will be able to receive the digital signals that will result in a perfect TV picture.
Also, you may already subscribe to Sky TV, have freesat or another free-to-air satellite service, in which case you will already have the mains powered receiver box, all you will need in addition is a satellite system from our selection of Satellite Touring Kits.

The great advantage of receiving TV through a satellite is that it is easy to set up and with over 99% coverage of the UK, so as long as there is a clear view of the southerly sky you will receive a signal. You do not have to be a Sky subscriber to receive satellite TV. For information on installing a satellite system in your caravan or mobile home, see our installation instructions pages.

Some caravan sites enable TV signals to be piped directly to vehicles through a communal aerial system. The site’s owner or manager will be able to tell you whether the system is able to receive a digital TV signal. However relying on this option will greatly restrict the number of locations that you will be able visit and watch television, and therefore compromise your freedom as a caravaner.