Television viewers could be in for a shock come 2018 after broadcasting regulator Ofcom issued a warning that switching Freeview to a different part of the broadcasting spectrum could render some TV aerials and televisions obsolete.
Freeview is currently delivered to 20m UK homes but any switch could see up to 30 per cent (7.8m) of these lose the signal as their aerials are incompatible.
If separate moves, backed by Ofcom, to adopt a more sophisticated transmission system are adopted however then the problem would be compounded with millions of TV’s and set top boxes becoming useless.
Steve Unger, Ofcom’s chief technology officer of regulator, said: ‘In the future it won’t be just mobiles and tablets connected to the internet; billions of things including cars, crops, coffee machines and cardiac monitors will also be connected, using tiny slivers of spectrum to get online.
“This is likely to deliver large benefits to society; however there isn’t an unlimited supply of spectrum to meet this extraordinary demand.”
It is hoped that by migrating digital services parts of the spectrum traditionally reserved for TV broadcasts can be made available for a new breed of wi-fi transmissions.