Viewers 'confused over VCRs and switchover'

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Eight million analogue television receivers—including 4m TVs and 4m VCRs—are heading for the dump as the UK switches to digital-only television, according to a survey for price comparison site uSwitch.com. The survey, conducted last month by pollster YouGov, also found that 46% of the population is unaware that their VCR will not work in the same way after switchover, and 38% of households do not know how they will replace their VCR after the switchover.

According to uSwitch, with just four months to go until Whitehaven becomes the first town in the UK to switch to digital-only TV, there are still 21m VCRs in use across the nation. After switchover viewers will no longer be able to watch one channel while recording another. The survey suggests that a quarter of households with a VCR plan to purchase a digital TV recorder, while 19% said they would discard their VCRs and not replace them.

Steve Weller, head of communication services at uSwitch.com, said: "VCRs won't work in the same way after the switchover. They will not be capable of recording anything other than the channel you are watching. If you go out, or even go on holiday, you would have to leave your digital receiver switched on and set to the channel that you want—hardly in line with the drive to improve household energy efficiency."

Weller continued: "On the plus side, over 33m TVs in the UK are already receiving a digital signal and 90% of people are watching programmes on a digital signal on at least one TV set in their home. But, with nearly 25m TVs yet to be 'switched over' and an alarming proportion of these heading for the scrapheap, the authorities need to speed up their act.

"Collection and recycling schemes need to be set up fast to tackle the mountains of equipment that will be thrown out."

Lovelace Consulting  |  15.06.2007

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