Hundreds of homeowners could see a reduction in the number of television channels they receive after the big Digital switchover.

The nationwide process of switching from analogue to digital, described as the biggest change in broadcasting for a generation, is just months away from starting in Sussex.

But for those living in areas between main receivers, the number of channels could decrease from more than 60 to less than 20 as they are forced to rely on smaller masts broadcasting a reduced service.

Sheila Foyle, of Seaview Road, East Preston, near Littlehampton, is one of those affected.

She said: “No one knows about it.

“I only know because I called Digital UK [the body overseeing the change]. They explained that if they push the signal too much then it starts to interfere with users in France.

“I can’t be the only one who is having problems.

“I’m more unhappy about the lack of communication that is available which is only there if you search for it.”

Digital UK explained that Mrs Foyle lives in an area classified by experts as an “overlap” area.

This means homes in this area are reliant on relay transmitters such as the one at Findon, near Worthing, which are designed to improve signal strength in areas less well served by main transmitters, such as Rowridge on the Isle of Wight or Whitehawk Hill in Brighton.

Currently these only broadcast the main four analogue channels but Digital UK said these are being upgraded to provide about 16 Freeview channels - the main channels plus extra digital services from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 - for when the switchover comes into force.

Advice on all aspects of the change will be made widely-available in the coming weeks including a 20-page leaflet sent to every home.

A spokesman for Digital UK said: “The south coast is served by a number of transmitters which are being upgraded to offer Freeview channels for the first time from switchover in March 2012.

“However, if viewers are getting an adequate digital signal now we generally advise that they wait and see before making any changes to their aerial or other equipment. “Advice on the different transmitters serving your address and the channels they provide is available using the post code checker on our website”

He added some viewers could consider alternatives such as freesat, cable or satellite.

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