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15/10/2001

GOVERNMENT SIGNALS NEXT STEP FOR DIGITAL TV

MOVES to increase quality, reliability and geographical coverage of Digital TV have been announced by Douglas Alexander, E-Commerce Minister, and Kim Howells, Broadcasting Minister.
Outlined with the publication of the draft Digital TV Action Plan were the next steps aimed at keeping the UK at the forefont of the Digital TV revolution.
The draft plan is a consultative document for key stakeholders and government to work together to develop a pathway towards a digital future.
The document includes plans to boost the power of terrestrial Digital TV signals to improve quality and the reliability of coverage; extend terrestrial Digital TV geographical coverage so that 72 per cent of households have the potential to access all channels and 84 per cent can access digital channels from BBC, ITV and Channel 4; launch a pre-Christmas Digital TV publicity campaign aimed at increasing the knowledge of retailers and consumers; and the appointment of a Digital TV Team Leader who will act as a focal point for work on Digital TV.
With around eight million UK households already watching Digital TV, the majority of the population can receive existing free to air channels with a set top box. Digital TV increases choice and quality of picture and sound, with a wider choice of programmes and access to the Internet. It also offers a wide range of new interactive services such as home banking and shopping.
The Government also announced the launch of a dedicated website www.digitaltv.culture.gov.uk to provide clear, up to date information on Digital TV including what it is and how to connect. It will answer frequently asked questions and provide advice for different groups of people.
E-Commerce Minister Douglas Alexander said: “UK broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and viewers have already put the UK at cutting edge of the Digital TV revolution. One in three households already have access to digital services and our aim is to ensure that the UK keeps the most dynamic and competitive market for Digital TV.
"These plans signal the next phase of the Digital TV revolution, aiming to extend the benefits more widely, opening up new opportunities for entertainment, education and information.”
The draft Action Plan will be adapted and refined to ensure that the UK can benefits from the long-term advantages of Digital TV and make switchover possible in 2006-2010. (CD)
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