The switchover to digital TV in the north of Scotland will begin in Shetland next spring when the analogue signals are switched off at the Bressay transmitter.
More than 500,000 homes in the STV North/Grampian TV region will be affected by the change, which is to be rolled out between May and October 2010.
It will mean that most viewers will have access to Freeview and its 20 channels as long as their TV aerial can receive the digital signal.
Digital UK, the organisation behind the switchover, is emphasising that the vast majority of people will not have to get a new television.
John MacNeill, Digital UK’s assistant national manager for Scotland, said: “Today’s announcement is a huge step forward for TV in Scotland.
“After switchover, virtually all viewers will have the opportunity to enjoy digital TV through an aerial, offering many homes more choice than before.”
The Bressay switchover will occur in two phases. On 5th May BBC2 will cease broadcasting in analogue and the first group of Freeview channels will become available. Two weeks later, on 19th May, the remaining analogue channels will go, to be replaced with the full set of Freeview channels.
The Keelylang Hill transmitter in Orkney will follow Shetland before the roll-out moves south via Caithness and Sutherland, the Western Isles, Skye and across into Grampian and down to the southern reaches of the Highlands by the end of October.
Homes in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway have already made the switch and as part of an information campaign Digital UK is sending leaflets explaining the switchover and the options available for going digital to every home.
Six months before the change, on-screen captions reminding viewers to get ready will appear on the TV sets of those still using the analogue signal.
Digital UK is working with local charities and volunteers to provide advice and assistance for those in need and letters will be sent to every household eligible for the Switchover Help Scheme.
This gives assistance and equipment to those people over the age of 75, registered blind or partially sighted, on certain disability benefits or living in a care home for six months or more, allowing one television to be converted.
Enter your postcode at www.digitaluk.co.uk or phone 08456 50 50 50 to find out more.