ABOUT 70,000 households in Swindon will today have to retune their television sets to digital as the nationwide switchover hits part of the town.

Half of the town’s population must begin the switchover today, by retuning their freeview boxes to get access to all of the digital channels, while the remaining households must wait until 2011 or 2012 to begin the process.

Swindon is one of a number of towns that faces the problem of different switchover dates because TVs in the town pick up their signal from one of three transmitters.

If you are one of the homes that receives BBC Points West, you must retune your freeview box today and again on April 7 when stage two of the switchover takes place.

If you receive any Oxford news programmes you will have to switchover sometime next year and anyone who receives programmes from the South or Meridian regions will be dealt with in 2012.

Bill Taylor, regional manager of Digitaluk South West, said: “The main issue with Swindon is that, due to an accident of geography, it crosses over three transmitter regions.

“Having said that, about nine out of 10 households in the area already have digital television and only about five per cent still have analogue television and need to buy the freeview equipment.

“Tomorrow anyone who receives BBC Points West, or television from the Mendip region, will have to retune their television sets to get all of the channels.

“Then, on April 7, they must retune again to get full access to all the channels.

“That is really ‘D Day’ and if people are not ready then, their screens will go blank and they wont have any television.

“A message will appear on all sets to remind people of when they need to switchover by and how to do it.”

Anyone who has satellite or cable television does not need to do anything.

From 10am until 4pm today, a switchover roadshow will be held in Wharf Green in the town centre to answer any questions that people in the town may have.

There is also going to be an advice clinic set up in the West Swindon Library, based in the Link Centre, where people can go and get advice on the switchover and also see the range of equipment they might need.

Anyone with further questions is asked to call the digital helpline on 08456 505050.