Whether you receive your existing TV services by satellite, cable, broadband or terrestrial (with an aerial), the chances are you can change to digital whenever you want to.
Digital TV can be received using a normal rooftop TV aerial. You will need a set-top box to go with your existing TV set, or you can buy a new digital TV set which is designed to pick up the new digital signals.
About three-quarters of homes in the UK with a rooftop aerial should be able to receive digital TV, although in a sizeable minority of cases a new aerial will be required. This will be either because digital signals are best-received from a different transmitter, the digital channels are outside the band of channels the aerial was designed for, or because the aerial and the downlead are in poor condition. Very often in these cases an aerial which has seen long service can pick up a reasonably acceptable analogue signal but will not work with digital.
By the end of digital switchover digital transmissions will be more powerful and everyone who currently receives analogue television should be able to receive an equivalent digital signal.
To receive digital satellite in the UK you will need a set-top box to use with your existing TV set or a new digital TV set designed to receive the digital satellite signals. You will also need a Sky or Freesat dish on the outside of your house.
Digital satellite signals reach to the vast majority of UK homes, but in a few cases reception may not be possible. This will be because the satellite is hidden from your home by trees, high hills or tall buildings, or because planning laws do not permit you to put up a dish (for example, if your house is a listed building).
To receive digital TV via a cable connection you will need to subscribe to one of the cable TV providers who will then provide you with a set-top box to go with your existing TV set.
Many districts are now served by digital cable services, usually in towns and cities. The service provider will install a buried cable connection between the main cable in the street and your house.
Broadband is not only for the Internet. In some places it is possible to receive high quality televison services using the cable that already connects your telephone to the exchange. This is a separate service from broadband Internet or your telephone service and you may need to contact a different supplier. This kind of TV is also known as IPTV.