Frequently asked questions on digital TV

Get the answers to FAQs on digital TV, then compare prices to find the right deal for you.

What is digital TV?

Digital TV replaced traditional analogue TV as part of the government's digital switchover.

Read more in our beginners' guide to digital TV.

What are the benefits of digital TV?

Advantages over analogue television include:

  • Digital televisionHigh quality picture and sound
  • Interactive services
  • Programme guides
  • Can broadcast in HD (high definition)
  • Able to pause, record and rewind programmes
  • Some will have programmes on demand
  • More channels

How do I get a digital signal?

Methods of receiving digital signal include:

  • Digital receiver
  • Satellite TV
  • Cable
  • Broadband connections

What equipment do I need?

Providers like Sky, Virgin Media and BTVision are also experts in broadband and bundling your services together can make sense

Any new television should be set up for digital TV, while most old sets can be converted using a digital box. This can be purchased with a one-off payment or may be supplied by your channel provider.

How do I pay?

There are two main digital television payment options:

  • One-off payment: Purchase a digital box for access to free channels. There are then no further costs (apart from the compulsory television licence fee) and no contracts. This is often known as Freeview, but other providers offer a similar service
  • Monthly subscription: Pay for a channel package through a provider such as Sky, Virgin Media or BTVision, who will supply the necessary digital box. Costs are higher than with the Freeview option, but there is more channel choice and digital box features available

What else should I consider?

  • Which channels you can receive and provider you can use will depend on the area you live in
  • Many new TVs are much more energy efficient than old analogue sets
  • Providers like Sky, Virgin Media and BTVision are also experts in broadband and bundling your services together can make senseStudent contents

What about high definition?

You must have a 'HD ready' television to be able to broadcast HD programmes. High definition offers a superior picture and quality of sound to normal digital televisions.

Any other questions?

See if you can find the answers in our digital TV guides.

By Sean Davies