All 2 entries tagged Digital Switchover

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September 23, 2009

Virgin Media blackout ended by Nik of Digital Direct Aerials

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Spring 2008 saw a lot of entries on this blog about how Virgin Media’s early shut-off of their analogue cable service left my house without access to broadcast TV. See the links below.

We were left without coverage due to having trees or hills to the west, south & east of the house. The local aerial installers would not even bring up their ladders. The Sky guys came around and at least tried to punch through the trees. So for 15 months we have been dependant on our thankfully good ADSL internet and the iPlayer etc.

I was looking around the website of a new client, Nik Chan, see link above, to see that he specialised in difficult digital TV reception sites and installations. So I asked him to come over and do a survey. He saw that things would be difficult but came back with the best aerial and a long pole. Results were still marginal but Niki declared that he would mount a bracket to give the best chance.

Twenty minutes later he declared passes for all 6 freeview multiplexes! The reception on our bargain flat screen exceeded my expectations. I know that we are on the edge. Things will improve as the leaves fall and be worse in the spring but long term the Central region digital switchover power boost in 2011 will be a great help.

So Digital Direct Aerials provide a happy ending to the saga told in these entries:

First I struggled to find out who to complain to in
Various Complaints Numbers for Virgin Media.
Then I got through to the CEO’s team to be given Virgin Media’s excuses :
Coventry Analogue Cable Switch–off next week – 3 years ahead of Digital UK Plan!
Before getting it straight from Ofcom in
OFCOM says Coventry Analogue Cable switch–off is VM commercial call.

April 25, 2008

Coventry Analogue Cable Switch–off next week – 3 years ahead of Digital UK Plan!

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The escalation of my complaint to Virgin Media’s Chief Executive’s office actually produced a reply.
Patricia Wolstenholme called, apologised because there was nothing VM could do then added the surprise.

Virgin Media did not decide when to turn off their analogue cable service in Coventry. This was due to the head end feed service being switched off by BT as a part of the national plan.

Patricia was vague about who was behind this decision.

I can’t receive Freeview or satellite TV due to local topology and close large trees. My home will have a better chance of receiving the Freeview service when the Central region analogue transmitters close down in 2011. This is because the Terrestrial Digital transmitters can then use higher power levels as these will no longer interfere with analogue transmissions.

This interference problem is clearly why the switch-over to digital TV has been planned in such a carefully choreographed manner.

So why has the feed to Virgin Media’s analogue cable customers in Coventry been cut off three years before this regions planned switch-over date?
This could still be a VM commercial decision but I am following my enquiries to Gregory Bensberg, the Ofcom Director responsible for the Digital Switchover, with no response so far.

Virgin Media LogoI have learned that you can get high level, timely answers to complaints from Virgin Media but you have to approach the Cheif Executive’s Office. The Cheif Executive is Neil Berkett, his email address produced the response, and that his office’s number is currently 08456505050. It is a shame that I finally find this out in my last week as a customer.

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