Eamonn Holmes and Co to switch off analogue

Eamonn Holmes(updated) A simulcast between BBC One Northern Ireland and UTV, presented by Eamonn Holmes and guests will mark the end of analogue television in Northern Ireland and the UK.

The show, called "The Magic Box" will air on the 23rd October, leading up to 23:30 when the old analogue signal at transmitters across the province are switched off.  The programme will include many familiar faces from local and network television and will feature archive clips, interviews and a few surprises. Viewers outside of Northern Ireland can watch the special programme via BBC One Northern Ireland on the Astra 1N satellite.

The final switchover will also mark the end of Ceefax, having been taken out of service region by region as switchover progressed across the UK.

Switchover in Northern Ireland is timed to conclude in conjuction with the Republic of Ireland's analogue switch off, where all remaining analogue signals will be turned off by 10am on the 24th October.

Dame Mary Peters will be there for the switch at midnight. Speaking about the occasion, she said:
 “The switchover to digital TV is a momentous step for the broadcast industry and will promise viewers more channels to choose from and a better viewing experience than ever before. It’s a very fitting end to what has been a phenomenal year for Britain. Not only have the Olympic and Paralympic celebrations shown the British and Irish people at their very best, but it’s a reminder to the world of the outstanding reputation which British broadcasting upholds.”
The first changes start this week, when just after midnight on the 10th, BBC Two analogue is switched off for the final time. Full powered standard definition digital services from the BBC will appear on the former BBC Two analogue frequencies by 6am at main transmitters, later in the day for viewers via relay sites.

What you may have read elsewhere:
Unlike other media outlets reporting this news, we won't say the the completion of switchover in the UK frees up spectrum for 4G... It doesn't completely. Viewers in various parts of the UK will be required to retune Freeview as frequencies are cleared for 4G between now and next summer. While some of these retunes have been brought forward to speed up 4G rollout, some rural parts of Northern Scotland won't have frequencies cleared until late Summer/ early Autumn, according to the current timetable.

Reports on Digital Spy based on the Arqiva press release also states that Dame Mary Peters will turn on the "high power digital signal at midnight". In the same press release it states "During the following day, main stations at Divis, Brougher Mountain, Limavady and 43 relay transmitters across Northern Ireland will switch to a new high-power digital system"

Any turn on of the high powered digital services around midnight can technically only be possible at Divis transmitter, for the TV cameras - because of Divis switching from one mast to another at switchover. Most Northern Ireland transmitters, including relays will not be live until later in the night or during the Wednesday itself. The BBC's high powered digital multiplex will have already launched two weeks earlier on the 10th. (Click here for a link to the trade newsletter, which under "stage 2" provides details of the timeline)

Analogue services need to be switched off first, to allow the transmitters to be reconfigured to broadcast the digital service, often on the same frequencies as the former analogue signal. Therefore, there is a gap in transmission.

Read more about the digital switchover in Northern Ireland:

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