As part of the digital switchover process in the UK this study was undertaken to assess how closely actual antennas corresponded to those used by planners to assess coverage for digital TV.
The primary technical objective was to analyse the new survey data that had been collected to determine whether there has been any significant change in the statistics of domestic aerial performance since previous studies. A variety of statistics were derived that linked system gain with frequency, equipment age, median field strength and other variables. It was concluded that most homes had aerial systems good enough for the planning assumptions.
Further objectives included the development of an understanding of the link between aerial system performance and coverage area, television services available to the household, type of installation, etc.
A consumer study was also undertaken where the main objective was to understand consumer information requirements about television reception methods to enable them to plan to receive television after switchover. This objective was addressed by conducting focus group research in an area that had recently switched – Torquay (Beacon Hill transmitter). This area was selected as it enabled the objective to be explored by participants who had recent direct experience of the switch; they were better positioned to acknowledge any changes they needed to accommodate (purchase and learning to use new equipment), and to reflect on their experiences leading up to, during and after switchover. Two key areas were addressed in the context of people’s experience of DSO (digital switchover):
- did they judge the information they had been given as sufficient?
- or were there any unmet information needs?
This feedback was used to inform future pre switchover information campaigns.