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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Last day of analogue TV in England

  Also on a516digital.com  
Analogue TV: Your days are numbered (published 23rd October)
Northern Ireland switches analogue signal off at 11:30pm.



It's analogue TV's last full day on air in England. Just after midnight tonight the last remaining analogue signals will be turned off in the ITV Tyne Tees region.

With the switch to digital TV, the switchover programme in Great Britain* comes full circle in the border town of Berwick upon Tweed, where viewers just a few miles away were among the very first to go through digital switchover. Four years later, and neighbours down the road are finally having their analogue signal removed.

Berwick Upon Tweed's bridges. A stone's throw away from where the switchover programmes got underway in earnest.Residents of Berwick used to receive services via their local relay from Selkirk and Chatton transmitter, with the ITV/C4 service fed from Scottish Serkirk and the BBC fed from the English Chatton transmitter. Digital switchover at Selkirk meant that this arrangement could not continue, so the analogue feed fo ITV/C4 was switched to Chatton, and viewers switched from ITV Border's Lookaround to ITV Tyne Tees' North East Tonight bulletin. Back then, Border and Tyne Tees were still two distinct ITV regions.


In the south of the Tyne Tees region, the Bilsdale transmitter and its signifcant overlap into the Yorkshire TV region has made sure that some households right down to South Yorkshire have been able to continue watching analogue one year after their local digital switchover event.

BBC Two became the first analogue service to be switched off two weeks ago. BBC One North East, ITV1 Tyne Tees, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (some transmitters only) are now just hours away from leaving. Five months after the London switchover, viewers in the North East will say goodbye to Ceefax.

Overnight tonight into the early hours of Wednesday 26th, all terrestrial television services in the region will be subject to breaks in transmission with Freeview services going off air while engineering work takes place at all switchover-affected transmitters. Once the equipment has been configured and digital services routed to the primary antenna on the masts at Bilsdale, Chatton and Pontop Pike, full power Freeview will commence - often using the old analogue frequencies. Therefore, a full retune will once again be required. Digital UK indicate that it will be safe to retune after 6am. Viewers on relays will need to wait a little longer for services to be restored.

The limited power Freeview HD service from Pontop Pike, that was designed to provide pre-switchover coverage of the HD channels in time for the 2010 Football World Cup will also end tonight.

Freeview HD will become widely available from tomorrow morning from every transmitter site and at full power, although viewers require a Freeview HD certified receiver to watch the HD offerings from the BBC, ITV and Channel 4.

a516digital.com will have updates tomorrow, plus tips on reception issues.

*Ireland's digital switchover - both north and south of the border completes on the 24th October. In this article, Great Britain is used in a geographical way, referring to the largest island of the British Isles.


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