Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Final analogue signal switched off

The final broadcast was transmitted in Northern Ireland, simultaneously by the BBC and UTV, and fronted by Eamonn Holmes
The final broadcast was transmitted in Northern Ireland, simultaneously by the BBC and UTV, and fronted by Eamonn Holmes

More than 70 years of analogue broadcasting in the UK has ended with the complete switchover to digital television.

Anyone still using the original signal lost access to channels at 11.30pm on Tuesday.

The final broadcast was transmitted in Northern Ireland, simultaneously by the BBC and UTV, and fronted by Eamonn Holmes. It reviewed an era which included the Second World War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the end of the Soviet Union.

Dame Mary Peters from Belfast, the 1972 Olympic gold medallist in pentathlon, turned the final analogue switch off at a transmitter in the city at around midnight.

BBC Ceefax, the world's first teletext service, also made its final bow.

Digital TV offers a wider range of channels than analogue and much of the content available on teletext-based services can be accessed on digital sets. Almost any existing analogue TV, even a black and white one, can be converted with the addition of a digital set-top box. Northern Ireland was the last UK region to make the switch.

Communications regulator Ofcom's chief executive Ed Richards said: "The UK's switchover to digital has been a huge success. Not only has it created more TV choice for consumers, it has also freed up vital capacity that will be used to deliver mobile broadband services to 98% of cities, towns and villages across the UK."

Analogue BBC Two was permanently switched off in the early hours of Wednesday October 10. The change has been carried out in two stages to remind people that they need to take action to retain access to television services. The UK's conversion to digital TV began in 2007, with a region-by-region switch off. The analogue channels have been replaced by over 70 digital channels with new capacity for mobile broadband services.

A BBC spokesman said: "Throughout our final evening, the front page of Ceefax in Northern Ireland - the last UK region still broadcasting the analogue signal which carries Ceefax - will feature a sequence of goodbye graphics disappearing all the way down to a small dot, to mirror the switch-off of an old-fashioned analogue television set.

"The final sequence can also be seen in the video clip at the top of this BBC News website story, which gives all the other details of Ceefax's final day."

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