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08/08/2001

GO DIGITAL PILOT PROJECT LAUNCHES

GO DIGITAL, the digital neighbourhood pilot project, have announced the launch partners and the trial location in the West Midlands comprising Sutton Coldfield, Tamworth and Lichfield.
The aim of the pilot project will be to address two key digital television switchover issues: The practical issues associated with converting typical households to all digital operation. All three main digital television platforms (digital terrestrial, satellite and cable) are participating within the project to enable a broad range of technologies and services to be tested within the trial; Viewers' attitudes and responses to the use of digital television equipment and services in their home. This will be achieved through a wide ranging viewer survey in the general trial area covering up to 2,000 households. The trial households' attitudes and experiences will also be monitored closely through a variety of techniques.
The Go Digital project will be phased, starting with the conversion of a small sample of about 30 households in the trial location in October. The project members are committed to go on from this to convert a further 300 households in the trial area to all digital television operation. At the end of the initial 30 household phase, a review of the findings will look at whether these plans will be sufficient to achieve the project's objectives or whether options for future trials - either in the same area or different areas - should be considered.
The household selection process and equipment allocation policy should enable conclusions to be drawn about viewers' behaviour across the UK from the trial results. It is therefore, important that the trial households are carefully selected to match a broad UK demographic profile.
Interactive services will be a key element in the range of services being offered by the digital television platforms and operators. All households will have at least one digital television receiver connected to an active return channel - a telephone line for digital terrestrial and satellite, and a high speed broadband cable modem for digital cable. This will enable the occupants of the trial households to use the full range of interactive services offered by each platform.
Go Digital has 17 full members from every sector of the broadcasting industry and Government. These are ITC, BBC, Boxclever, BSkyB, Channel 4, DCMS, Dixons, DTI, ITV Digital, NTL, Nokia, Novapal, Philips, Pace, Sony, Telewest, The Digital Network (TDN). (CD)
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