Local TV for Dundee? An update …

I have taken a close interest in the possibility of local television for Dundee, Tayside and North Fife and it was therefore good to see the positive news for Dundee following the recent announcement of areas to be licensed for local TV services.  

News on national TV and in the national press on the day of the announcement concentrated on only Edinburgh and Glasgow.  There was a general failure to report that there are, in fact, two lists of locations and the second of these lists includes the location identified as Dundee.  This is served by the Angus transmitter which also serves, Angus, north Fife and southern Perth and Kinross.
So, from a position some years ago where Scotland was not ‘on the radar’ for local TV, extensive lobbying, including that by the Fife TayConsortium, has led to the current proposals for local TV services, not just in Edinburgh and Glasgow but also in four further areas including Dundee/Fife/Tayside.  Anyone wishing to operate a licence for locations on the second must do so with a local operator.  This means potential local TV services for the region as whole, particularly, as proposed by the Fife Tay Consortium, through a combined broadcast and internet services. 

The Fife Tay Local TV Consortium is a collaboration between regional organisations in Fife and Tayside including Radio Tay, Dundee College, the University of Dundee and Perthshireonline.tv.  It is chaired by leading lawyer, Professor Stewart Brymer and the business plan is being developed by Martin Cherry of Bannerman Technology.

It is coordinated by FifeScreen and TayScreen the screen office for the councils of Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth and Kinross.  There is already some pilot work that can be seen at FifeTay.Tv  – and further pilot development is planned for early 2012.
The current Ofcom consultation can be seen at the following link and the deadline is 19th March 2012.  It is an opportunity to provide input on the areas currently selected and the proposed process.   You can read more at http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/local-tv/.
I am writing to Ofcom in support of local TV services for Dundee in particular, and the Fife Tayside area in general.   Given the current stage of the local TV licensing consultation, there is a major opportunity to influence the process going forward and it is essential to build on what has been achieved so far.  I would encourage all with an interest to write to Ofcom highlighting their support for local TV for Dundee.

Digital switchover confusion

 

Oh no it doesn’t – it happened last August!

I recently spoke with a resident who lives just south of Perth Road in the Sinderins area.    She was surprised to have received a mailing in the past few days from Digital UK about TV digital switchover when, like all other residents in the area, she had done this last August.

The mailing was aimed at occupiers of flats and it talks about switchover happening from May of this year.   I queried this with Digital UK and am advised by their Assistant National Manager :

“The simple answer is that constituent will have received the mailing as she has a chance of receiving a signal from Craigkelly. Where someone is in an area where there is a chance of receiving signals from different transmitter groups, we include them in mailings for all the relevant transmitters they could be getting their signals from.

We try and target the information we issue as specifically as we can. But, as you can imagine there are some areas where crossovers exist and we have to cover all bases. As you know we do not know which properties have and have not made the switch, so we need to include all possible properties in case they are included in that particular transmitter group.

We appreciate that this will cause confusion for some who made the switch in August. To deal with this, we have a three-point ‘What to do’ list in the leaflet and the first point is to speak to your landlord or property manager to see if anything needs to be done. Any good landlord/property manager should know the answer to this straight away.”

The Craigkelly transmitter covers part of the STV Central area (Edinburgh/Lothians/South Fife) and although quite a few residents in southern parts of the West End may get TV signals from it, it is very much a “secondary” transmitter for the area as its target audience is largely south of Glenrothes/Central Fife.   This resident’s primary transmitter is Tay Bridge in the STV North area and it was part of the STV North digital switchover that happened last August.

Although this resident is not elderly, as she points out many of her neighbours are elderly and she’s concerned that this mailing may cause them some confusion.    I’ve pointed out to Digital UK that I doubt there’s more than a small handful of people in Dundee who have not already made the digital switch – the vast majority of residents will have transferred to digital TV either before or at the STV North switchover last summer.

The message is simple – if you get a mailing about digital switchover and you have already switched to digital TV, ignore the mailing – but if you need any advice, contact Digital UK on 08456 50 50 50.

Final stage of digital switchover tomorrow

Further to my update earlier this month, the final stage of the digital switchover in Dundee and across Tayside and north Fife takes place tomorrow – when the final analogue channels get switched-off permanently.

Freeview viewers should rescan channels again tomorrow. Full details are available on the Digital UK website. This does not affect cable and Sky viewers.

As I have previously indicated, I am particularly anxious that elderly residents are given the fullest assistance, and if I can be of any help to any West End resident, do please call me on Dundee 459378 or e-mail tvswitch@frasermacpherson.org.uk.

Start of digital TV switchover tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the start of Dundee and Tayside’s digital switchover, with relay transmitters like Tay Bridge (that serves much of the West End as well as the City Centre, Craigiebank and much of Broughty Ferry and North East Fife) starting to transmit Freeview for the first time.
Additionally, analogue BBC2 will be switched off and existing Freeview viewers (who get signals from the main transmitter at Tealing – called “Angus) should do a complete re-scan as there are alterations to Freeview transmissions at switchover.
In a fortnight – 18th August – the last analogue signals are removed and Freeview viewers should undertake a second channels re-scan. Sky, Freesat and Virgin cable viewers are unaffected throughout.
I have spoken with very many constituents in recent months about digital switchover issues – I am particularly anxious that elderly residents are given the fullest assistance, and if I can be of any help to any West End resident, do please call me on Dundee 459378 or e-mail tvswitch@frasermacpherson.org.uk.

Digital TV – how many channels will you get?

Yesterday’s “Courier” highlighted the intention on the part of the Arqiva, the owners and operators of television transmitters, to re-site the Campberdown transmitter in the adjacent Lochee Ward, as it currently sits on one of the Menzieshill multi-storeys being demolished.

The article highlights that the relocated transmitter will carry a much-reduced number of digital TV channels compared to the main Angus transmitter at Tealing.    This is in common with all relay transmitter – only the main transmitters will carry all Freeview channels.

In the past, I have highlighted the drawbacks of the reduced “Freeview Lite” service planned for the Tay Bridge relay transmitter (that serves much of the West End) after the impending digital switchover – as it gives residents only around 22 of the approximate 58 TV and radio channels that others served by main transmitters (like the Angus transmitter that serves most of the north of the City) get. I have raised the issue with Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator. See :

http://tiny.cc/freeviewlite1
http://tiny.cc/freeviewlite2

Over the weekend, a Perth Road resident has e-mailed me as follows :

“Hi Fraser. Can you please tell me why, because I am served by the stv north tay bridge transmitter I will only get 18 channels come the switchover but anyone that is served by stv north angus transmitter will get 60 channels?


 
“I think this is unfair as we all pay the same licence fee, so we should all get the same amount of channels. They have had years to upgrade the tay bridge transmitter and I dont feel that this is right.”

I totally agree with his points and there’s need for Ofcom to revisit this matter.

Further digital TV meetings with local residents

Last June, I chaired meetings at various sheltered housing lounges across the West End at which Digital UK updated residents about the digital switchover.

With the switchover now imminent – in August – I held two more today at two lounges we were unable to visit last time – Sinderins Court in Hawkhill and the Lime Street sheltered lounge in Logie. On this occasion, I was accompanied by Colin Scott, Regional Projector Co-ordinator for the BBC switchover help scheme.

Colin gave excellent presentations and answered residents’ questions. If any West End resident has any queries about the switchover, please call me on 459378 or e-mail digitaltv@frasermacpherson.org.uk and I’ll ensure the appropriate person from either Digital UK or the help scheme resolves any query or problem.

The picture below is of Colin speaking at Sinderins Court earlier today.

Digital Switchover latest!

Yesterday at Tayside House, I had a useful meeting with John MacNeil, Assistant National Manager, STV North with Digital UK and Luke McCullough, National Manager for Scotland for the BBC Switchover Help Scheme, to get an update on how the switchover to digital TV is going – with just a couple of months to switchover in Dundee.

And the answer is that it is going well. Most people are well aware of the digital switchover and are prepared for it.    Further information can be found at :

Digital UK : http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/

BBC Help Scheme : http://www.helpscheme.co.uk/


Digital Outreach : http://www.digitaloutreach.org.uk/

Last year, along with Alan Cowie of Digital UK, I held digital switchover surgeries at sheltered housing lounges across the West End – these were extremely well attended and I am holding two further surgeries at Sinderins Court and the Lime Street sheltered lounge next month – this time with Colin Scott from the Help Scheme – details to follow!


Here’s me with John & Luke at Tayside House yesterday.