45% of Manchester aerial installers a 'rip-off'
The Manchester Evening News reports that almost half of all the aerial installers they contacted erroneously (and profitably) mislead their potential customers, charging them up to 100 for an aerial they do not need.
The Winter Hill transmitter which covers the Manchester area has required the use of a 'group C/D' aerial since the introduction of 625-line colour television in the 1960s. When terrestrial digital television (aka Freeview) was introduced in November 1988 these new signals were in the range used by a C/D aerial.
And when the transmitter has the analogue services removed and replaced with high-power digital signals in November 2009, these will also be in the range for a C/D aerial.
Despite this, one installer told the MEN "You will definitely need a new aerial after the switchover - everybody will. You might be able to pick up bits of channels with your existing aerial and set top box but you won't be able to watch most of them" and another You're going to need a digital aerial".
But eleven of the twenty contacted gave the correct advice, echoed by Digital UK, "In most cases, if your current aerial is in good condition, you should be able to receive the digital transmissions."
And Tim Jenks, chief executive of the Confederation of Aerial Industries, the recognised body for the aerial and satellite industry, agreed that householders should not be hoodwinked into splashing out for a new aerial.
He said: "There are definitely profiteers out there" he said. "It's simple - get a Freeview box and plug it in. If it doesn't work you have a problem with your aerial. Anyone who says you would need a new one if your set-top box is working is being ridiculous."
I can understand why people are easily misled because there does not seem to have been much information handed out on the switchover. But I can definitely, definitely say that most people served by Winter Hill will not need a new aerial.
See also: What price for an aerial installation?