2. Getting BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4, and Channel 5 on board as early as possible. That would have resulted in digital terrestrial being able to supersede and replace PAL rather than just complementing it. Production of analogue only TVs for the British market could have ceased at that point.
It was nothing to do with the availability of the terrestrial channels on OD (although as stated above, DTT
and by extension OnDigital carried all of the terrestrials from the start). Early digital TV, regardless of how it was marketed as being a 'conversion' to digital, was in fact just a digital multi channel replacement system for analogue multi channel systems that existed rather than ending analogue dependencies. Analogue terrestrial was still necessary for recording one channel whilst watching another and in many/most houses every other TV in the house still relied on it for a signal as only the main front room TV had the digital service. With equipment costing £200 a pop for a single tuner box (more than that if you went subscription free), it wasn't viable to do anything else.
Even post-OD, CRT TVs and VHS recorders remained in production and remained the predominant TVs and recording equipment in use and 99% of this stuff only ever had analogue tuners. This wasn't anything to do with infrastructure, it was simply that such equipment was mature technology and affordable. Newer equipment such as flat screen sets with DTT tuners and recordable DVDs/PVRs was on the market but it was all very expensive at that time and as a result not very common. Even the first Freeview boxes were all around £100 or so - by that time that was more expensive than a small 14" TV and double the price of a budget VHS machine. They would still have been seen as a multi channel route more than something people would rush out to buy for their kitchen TV.
There was no real inroads made to changing this until about 2005/6 which is when CRT/VHS equipment finally left general sale, in favour of flat screen/recordable DVD/PVR solutions that all had DTT tuners in them and had then become a lot cheaper. This was also the point when Freeview boxes finally hit the £30-£40 mark and became cheap enough to justify buying for any old TV in the house.
Even then, it still took a few more years for people to actually go and buy all this equipment. Certainly when I worked in electrical retail between 2006 and 2009 although everything I sold by then was digital, it was usually being sold to replace analogue equipment which people were still using, even in 2009 (and why shouldn't they be - in many cases it was only 3 or 4 years old!).
Switchover couldn't have realistically been done any earlier, in fact if anything the regions that switched before 2010 were being forced into it a little too soon for comfort, a timetable starting in 2010 would have been much easier to work with.
Ultimately, switchover was only achievable after the price of consumer level equipment fell as the technology matured, not when the infrastructure to manage without analogue was there. I don't see how OD could have driven that to be any different.
Last edited by cwathen on 1 August 2016 1:04pm - 2 times in total