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Analogue TV: Your days are numbered

Analogue TV to vanish into the snow...
This is the last day that analogue terrestrial television is transmitted in the UK. Tonight at 11:30pm, following a special simulcast between BBC Northern Ireland and UTV, the last analogue signals broadcast from UK transmitters will be turned off. 

Switchover began in the village of Ferryside, when eight years ago in 2004, the local relay was converted to digital and researchers assessed how the locals coped with the transition to learn how a switchover of the scale envisaged could be managed. Following the results of the Ferryside pilot, the switchover project developed and Whitehaven, Cumbria was chosen to start the process in the autumn of 2007.

Digital UK's mascot DigitAl
The main transmitters started to switch in 2008, starting cautiously with Selkirk transmitter and the sparsely populated Scottish Borders. Digital UK, responsible for educating viewers started toured the country, with mascot DigitAl (pictured) heralding the change region by region. A pattern was set - analogue was switched off - initially in two stages with a four week interval inbetween, before settling on a two week transition period, always removing BBC Two first. From Angus to Winter Hill, Preseli to Tacolneston, every transmitter was converted.

Crystal Palace even got its own lightshow to mark the occasion.

The switchover project cost £630 million. Many existing masts had been strengthened to support the new antenna systems and five masts had been replaced completely. To deliver the new service, transmitter infrastructure company Arqiva removed more than 5,000 analogue transmitters from 1,154 sites across the UK, replacing them with 3,700 digital terrestrial TV transmitters.

Final Programme
Eamonn Holmes will become one the last faces on analogue television when The Magic Box hits the airwaves at 10:35. The programme from BBC Northern Ireland and UTV will showcase memorable moments of (analogue) television from Northern Irish television ahead of the final switch off when analogue BBC One, UTV, Channel 4, Channel 5 (certain areas only) and of course, Ceefax close. Dame Mary Peters will be on hand to do the switch. Viewers outside of Northern Ireland can catch the programme on satellite:

Watch on satellite -- The Magic Box 10:35pm
  BBC ONE Northern Ireland
  Freesat 957; Sky 953
  Astra 1N 28.2E 10818.00 V S/R: 22000 FEC: 5/6

  Not on the Sky or Freesat EPG outside of Northern Ireland
  Astra 1N 28.2E 10906.00 V, S/R: 22000, FEC: 5/6

There will still be some analogue signals beaming through the air for another 10 hours after the Northern Irish switch off from the South of the Border. At 10:00am tomorrow, Wednesday 24th September, the Irish Republic follows the UK in going digital only. Then digital switchover is not just complete in the British Isles, it's complete in the whole of Western Europe (providing Gibraltar isn't included in your definition of Western Europe).

Across Northern Ireland, the replacement digital service will be rolled out shortly after analogue is switched off, starting from midnight and arriving at all sites by mid-afternoon on Wednesday. A retune will need to be carried out to gain access to all available services at any given location.


  1. BBC One Northern Ireland not just an UK Wide affair on Satellite is also available to watch UK wide on Virgin Media 863!

    "Then digital switchover is not just complete in the British Isles, it's complete in the whole of Western Europe (providing Gibraltar isn't included in your definition of Western Europe)."

    Possible to provide a map of DSO converted countries within the EBU?

    EU wise Gibraltar falls under the South West England Constituency!


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