“Thank you for your email concerning the postcode checker and the displayed anomaly between the results of the checker and actual reception.
“The Digital UK postcode checker is an important tool for indicating the likelihood of digital coverage for a particular household. Although it is based on third-party data, which we do not originate, we believe it provides a very high level of accuracy in determining which digital options are available at a particular address. As such it is a useful tool for visitors to our website and call centre.
“The postcode checker results page includes a disclaimer making clear that results are indicative. Terrestrial broadcast signals are subject to many interfering factors, which make it impossible for a national database such as the postcode checker to provide exact coverage information for each of the UK’s 25m TV households. That would require knowledge of the exact location and shape of every building, hill, tree, bush and receiving aerial in the country.
“Similar knowledge would be necessary to provide 100%-accurate coverage information for digital satellite, which covers the entire UK but requires a line of sight from the receiving dish to the sky at a specific angle. Local landlord and planning restrictions for erecting satellite dishes are another factor that may exclude the satellite option; unfortunately the postcode checker cannot account for this.
“The checker also provides coverage information for cable, based on cable operators’ own databases. This is the best information available to us for indicating cable availability.
“As a rule, if a good analogue picture is received now, a good digital picture should result through the existing aerial after switchover. If Freeview cannot be received now and our postcode checker says the household is in coverage, the aerial used may not be capable of receiving the full signal. In this instance it is advisable to contact an aerial installer, ideally one who carries the ‘digital tick’ logo (a Registered Digital Installer), or else a member of a recognised trade body. Some indoor aerials will work, but some will need replacing. Again, if it provides a good analogue signal now it is likely to receive digital after switchover.
“Switchover will extend coverage of digital terrestrial television (Freeview) from around 73% of households to 98.5% of households. All planning has been designed to replicate coverage of the existing analogue signal (98.5%). Switchover will therefore benefit those homes which are currently outside the range of existing digital terrestrial television (DTT) by extending the signal coverage to areas currently receiving an analogue signal.
“Digital UK will launch a new postcode database next year which will enable individuals to check which digital TV services are available to them now and after switchover. “