Digital television is a more efficient method of television transmission. Many television channels can be squeezed into the space used to carry a single analogue channel.
This technology also has the potential to offer other services such as high definition television and wide-screen pictures, CD quality sound and near video-on-demand (a film can be shown at different times on different channels so that the viewer can choose a convenient time to start watching), interactive services like home banking and connection to the internet.
Digital television can be delivered through an existing television aerial (Digital Terrestrial Television – DTT), through cable (Digital Cable Television) or via a satellite dish (Digital Satellite Television). A set-top box decoder is required for all types of digital delivery. The set-top box also provides the means for broadcasters to supply services for which a charge is payable. This is called conditional access. Television sets with built-in decoders are now available.
Digital Terrestrial Television
In 1996 the Government announced plans for the introduction of digital television based upon the use of six digital networks (multiplexes). The Government allocated the multiplex with the highest coverage to the BBC.
The Broadcasting Act 1996 enabled the ITC to license the remaining five multiplexes. One of these was to be reserved for ITV, Channel 4 and teletext services and was awarded to Digital 3 and 4 Limited.
Digital 3 and 4 Ltd Unit 4, 56 Norich Road Wymondham NR18 ONT Telephone 01953 608040 Fax 01953 601196 Email firstname.lastname@example.org Chairman David Scott Project Director Mike Hughes
The licences to operate the remaining four commercial multiplexes (A to D) were advertised in October 1996.
Multiplex A was awarded in July 1997 to S4C Digital Networks Ltd (SDN). Channel 5 and S4C have guaranteed capacity on Multiplex A, which is also required to carry Gaelic programming in Scotland.
SDN Ltd 2/3 Bedford St Convent Garden London WC2E 9HD Telephone 020 7240 6567 Fax 020 7836 5854
Multiplexes B, C and D were awarded in June 1997 to British Digital Broadcasting plc (BDB). Jointly owned by Carlton Communications and the Granada Group, BDB was later renamed ONdigital which was renamed ITV Digital in 2001. ITV Digital went out of business in 2002. Multiplex Service Licence B was awarded to the BBC and Multiplex Service Licences C and D were awarded to Crown Castle on the 19th August 2002. The licences will run for a 12-year period from the commencement date of the new licensed services.
BBC Free to View Limited Room 3761 Broadcasting House Portland Place London W1A 1AA Telephone 020 7765 0337 Fax 020 7765 4381 Contact David Serjeant Website: www.freeview.co.uk Viewer Enquiries: 0870 8809980
Crown Castle UK Limited PO Box 98 Warwick CV34 6TN Contact Colin Coghlan General Manager Broadcast Telephone 01926 416211 Fax 01926 416812 Viewer Enquiries: 0870 0108583
Digital Satellite Television
Sky Digital launched its services in October 1998. It offers the free-to-air terrestrial channels (except ITV and ITV2) and a range of subscription channels. For more information call the number below.
Sky Digital British Sky Broadcasting Ltd 6 Centaurs Business Park Grant Way Isleworth TW7 5QD Telephone 020 7705 3000 web site: www.sky.co.uk Viewers Enquiries and Comments Telephone: 020 7705 3000
Digital Cable Television
Services via cable delivery are beginning to be introduced.