Digital switchover in Worthing, Shoreham and Littlehampton offers boost to electrical firms

W09543H12 WH WHITTLE ELECTRONICS PIC S.G 23.02.2012''Mr Whittle of Whittle Electronics South Farm Road Worthing W09543h12
W09543H12 WH WHITTLE ELECTRONICS PIC S.G 23.02.2012''Mr Whittle of Whittle Electronics South Farm Road Worthing W09543h12
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Electrical companies and aerial installation firms across the area have enjoyed a surge in trade with the digital TV switchover.

With Worthing, Shoreham and Littlehampton all due to have their analogue television systems shut down in a few weeks, sales of new TVs and associated equipment have proved strong over the past few months.

Transmitters in Whitehawk, Findon and the Isle of Wight will all be operating only on digital signals by March 21, with a national campaign well under way for residents across the UK.

David Hansford, managing director of South Coast Electronics in Broadwater, said business had recently been exceptionally strong, making up for tough trading conditions in 2011.

He said: “The digital switchover has been very good news for us.

“We’ve seen sales of equipment increase by about three times its usual levels, though this will probably not last after the next couple of months.

“I don’t think people realise it’s not just their main TVs affected by this, it is everything else in their house including all their bedroom TV sets.

“But there is nothing that can’t be converted with a digital box – even the oldest black and white TVs – so there’s no need to throw anything away.”

Contrary to some misinformation, he explained one of the key themes of the national digital TV awareness campaign had been on stressing the fact there’s no such thing as a digital aerial.

It is simply a case of your existing one being either good or bad.

It is believed around 95 per cent of households will not have to invest in a new aerial, merely needing to buy a freeview box or new TV.

Chris Whittle, who runs a television and electrical business in South Farm Road, Worthing, shared South Coast Electrical’s view on the switchover.

He said: “It has been pretty busy with the digital work.

“I don’t think a lot of older people really want it and are quite resistant to change.

“But I try to encourage them by telling them about all the programmes that they love being on digital.

“There’s a government scheme offering installation of a basic box for the elderly for £40, but I have been doing a lot of TVs (Panasonic 32-inch flat screens) for £400 that have digital reception built in and come with a five-year warranty.

“I’ve been in business since the 1960s and it has changed massively in that time. So many things – from valves through to micro-chips, to the point where people can’t keep up with it.

“Youngsters now don’t want to repair TVs.

“They will keep them for a couple of years and if they go wrong they just go out and get another one – whereas my older customers would rather have something that’s good repaired.”

Another success story has been that of Chris Doddington, of Doddington Aerials.

Having set up in business last year, the Southwick-based installations specialist has enjoyed an extremely busy first 12 months. The 26 year-old said : “It has been going really well and I’ve been busy, including doing a couple more jobs in which I’m abseiling to install the equipment which has been a bit different.

“I think the digital TV systems are awesome as they offer so much choice.

“It’s been a massive change for me in starting up my own business but it has been working well.”