Switchover Information for Stoke, Staffordshire
We’re taking random areas of the UK to see what the options are like for TV after the digital tv switchover, both the channel availability for Freeview and the availability of Sky, Virgin Media and BT digital TV packages.
Fenton transmitter, a relay transmitter that is part of the Sutton Coldfield transmitter group in the Central TV region, will go digital in 2011 and is predicted to cover around 130,000 households in the Stoke City Council area.
Our three random postcodes in Stoke are ST6 5AA in Tunstall, ST1 5LA in Hanley and ST4 3LZ in Fenton (forgotten town no longer!), and when we tried these in the Digital UK postcode checker we found almost the same result for each – the methods of reception for a one off payment are Freeview, Freesat and Freesat from Sky and available subscription services are Top Up TV, BT Vision and Sky and Virgin Media. These are the results we got using the Sky, Virgin Media and BT postcode checkers.
For all three of our Stoke postcodes we got this from Sky – “Based on the postcode you have entered there is a good indication you are in a Sky Broadband network area, where Sky Broadband Base, Mid, and Max are currently available. In order to join Sky Broadband you will need an active BT compatible phone line. Sky Broadband is exclusively available to Sky TV customers.”
What does this mean? All of the Sky TV packages offered by Sky are available to you.
For ST6 5AA in Tunstall and ST4 3LZ in Fenton we got the message
“Because you’re in a fibre optic cable area, you can get all this – Up to 20Mb broadband – Over 165 digital TV channels – Great value home phone packages. So help yourself to fibre optic broadband, the very best digital TV, and phone services.”
What does this mean? All of the Virgin Media services – broadband, phone and cable TV are available to you.
For ST1 5LA in Hanley we got the message – “Your home is not in a Virgin Media cable area so you can’t get our fibre-optic cable services, but you can get our National services. National services up to 16Mb! Our National broadband and phone services are available to all. Unlike our cable services, they’re delivered down your phone line – in just the same way other companies offer it.”
What does this mean? You can get Virgin Media broadband down your phone line but no cable TV services – they offer a Freeview box for £40 but this is not connected to the broadband (the way it would be with BT Vision), it’s just a Freeview box like any other you would get from a shop.
Again, for BT the message was the same for all three of our test postcodes – “Your exchange is ADSL enabled, and our initial check on your postcode indicates that your line should be able to have an ADSL broadband service that provides a line rate up to 2Mbps. Our check also indicates that your line currently supports a potential ADSL Max broadband line rate of 6.5Mbps or greater. Your exchange is planned to have ADSL WBC (Wholesale Broadband Connect) by 31st March 2010.”
What does this mean? BT broadband is available to you and should be fast enough to be able to use BT Vision – you need a broadband speed that averages at least 2Mbps to use BT Vision so all of these postcodes should be fine but it’s advisable to check your own postcode to get your own particular line speed.
Stoke-on-Trent is in the Granada TV region, where it is estimated by the government body Digital UK that 99% of households will be able to get 17 channels after switchover and 98% will be able to pick up more channels than that from the 47 TV channels (plus text and radio services) that will be available. A retune of your equipment will be required – more information on that here – and in some cases an aerial upgrade – see Digital Aerials page.
Freeview Channel Availability
Free Channels Available After Retune
- E4, E4+1
- Smile TV
- Smile TV2
- Community Channel
- Teachers TV
- BBC News
- BBC Parliament
- Sky News
- Sky Sports News
- UKTV History
- 4 Music
- Virgin 1
- Ideal World
- Gems TV
- Lottery Xtra
Subscription Channels Available
- UKTV Style
- Top Up TV Anytime
Please note that our switchover pages refer to the switchover dates and channel information at the time of writing, which is generally pre-switchover, and for most areas circumstances will have since changed.
- Caradon Hill Switchover
- Carlisle Switchover
- Carmarthenshire Switchover
- Cornwall Redruth Switchover
- Dumfries and Galloway Switchover
- Exeter Switchover
- Lincolnshire Switchover
- North Devon Switchover
- Preseli Switchover
- Sedgemoor Switchover
- Sheffield Switchover
- South Gloucestershire Switchover
- South Somerset Switchover
- Southwark Switchover
- Stoke Switchover
- Stroud Switchover
- Swansea Switchover
- Torbay Switchover
- Wenvoe Switchover
- Wyre Digital Switchover
Digital TV Packages
- Sky+ HD Starter
- Sky+ HD with Sky Movies
- Sky+ HD with Sky World
- Sky+ HD with Sky Sports
- Virgin TV L + Phone M
- Virgin Media TiVo Starter Bundle
- Premiere Collection
- Top Up TV Favourites
- Top Up TV Complete Sports Pack
- BT Vision Gold Pack
- TV Essential + Broadband and Anytime Calls
- TV Unlimited + Broadband + Anytime Calls
Sky TV Starter Deal
Only £21.50 a month
Sky+ TV, broadband and calls £21.50 a month. Free Sky+ Box and set-up, up to 2GB broadband usage and included evening and weekend calls.
Virgin Classic Collection
£18 a month
Over 55 TV channels with 5 in HD, TiVo, On Demand & Catch-Up, 30Mb Broadband plus Phone with unlimited weekend calls! £18 a month plus line rental.
BT Vision Starter Deal
£17 a month
£25 Sainsburys Gift Card > Free Vision+ Box > 16Mb Broadband – 10GB usage > Freeview, Catch-Up & Pay per View > Anytime calls > Online only offer
Top Up TV Favourites
£11.99 a month
Library of popular TV – over 700 shows to choose from each month including Life on Mars, Little Britain, Lost and many more. Box from £39.99 – £20 set-up.