London analogue TV signal switched off


The analogue television signal in London has been switched off

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Analogue television is being switched off in London, 75 years after it was first invented.

The digital switchover means that from now on, viewers will need to use Freeview, satellite or cable.

BBC One, ITV1, Channel Four and Channel Five stopped transmitting on analogue overnight. The BBC Two signal was stopped earlier this month.

An estimated 12 million television sets are affected in the London area, but most homes have already switched over.

The process to turn off the transmitter, which is being managed by communications infrastructure firm Arqiva, began at midnight, when BBC director general Mark Thompson turned off the switch.

'Face-to-face advice'

The turnover means people will need to convert televisions to receive the digital signal and Freeview viewers also need to retune.

Mark Thompson, Director-General BBC, and John Cresswell, Arqiva CEO, BBC director general Mark Thompson (left) turned off the switch

"What we do know is that most people make the transition from analogue to digital TV quite successfully," said Deborah Bain from Digital UK, which is managing the switchover for the UK.

"Some older and disabled viewers will need extra help and what we do know is that people really value face-to-face advice which Digital UK offers at roadshows and advice points."

Roadshows have taken place throughout the city to help people who are yet to make the change.

Advice points, run by volunteers, are also available in local communities and there is a hotline for people who want information.

Bill Taylor, from Digital UK, told BBC Breakfast that so far more than 23 million homes will have switched over.

Northern Ireland, Kent and the North East are still to switchover.

To mark the switchover the Crystal Palace transmitter, in south London, will be lit up on Wednesday night with 200,000 watts of energy efficient lighting at a ceremony attended by Sir David Attenborough and DJ Chris Evans.

Television broadcasts in London have come from the tower since 1956.

The first regular TV service began on 2 November 1936 when the BBC broadcast from Alexandra Palace.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Why it needed a protracted campaign to remind us to press a few buttons I cannot see. Perhaps the powers that be consider us too stupid to follow simple instuctions. or was the whole move a job creation scheme?
    At least with the intro of 625 lines TV we got Hulabloo and Custard and not some half baked clanger.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    @122. Billy
    I fail to see how Freeview, transmitting a much greater variety of channels and now at a much higher picture quality than analogue ever was, is a poor replacement for out-dated, low-tech, bandwidth-hogging analogue. Please enlighten me.

    @164. Digital signals are no worse than analogue signals in an emergency, it's just different information being sent over the same airwaves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    I can make a positive comment about the switch-over, since we in the Midlands have enjoyed the digital service for some time now which is unaffected by old mopeds passing by, mobile phone signals and the like. Unfortunately, analogue viewers in Kent may not be able to do so, due to the current high levels of atmospheric static and general interference emanating from miserable moaning Londoners.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    What's all this what if the digital signal is knocked out by a terrorist - how will we know what to do ? Totally irrelevant as you could just as easily ask the same question of the analogue signal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    @118 - in what way does that not also apply equally to the older analogue signal?

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    "Can we get Damien Hirst involved in this protest? Burning some of the sh*te he's churned out could be counted as win whether the protest succeeds or not..."

    Erm.... I think you are in the wrong story!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    @164. luckless_pedestrian
    "Okay, I made myself look stupid earlier; but how long until we have only digital radio?"

    Since you persist in your paranoia of digital signals being suddenly subject to natural disaster or terrorist attack, let us extend your argument. What if the analogue signal get wiped out as well? If a transmitter is attacked and knocked out, it affects both digital AND analogue.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    As the guinea pigs in this we went digi over a year ago, then Londoners didn't listen.
    WHY would anyone think that you need a freeview box to watch? If you Tv is digital ready, jst switch on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    All those citing news articles about other regions being switched off forget to mention that the articles were actually on the regional news web sites, such as BBC Scotland and BBC Midlands not the UK news site.

    Outside London, we don't want to know your LOCAL news!

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Ok, Im now off to take all my analogue TVs down to the council tip.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Regarding re tuneing freeview I believe it is because on change over the transmission power is increased a lot because full power would mask out the analogue signal.
    Anyway why worry were i live we lost our ground based transmitter on changeover so have NO option but to use a freesat link or use Sky on the free channels but needed to put a bigger sat dish up because of signal problems

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    I really don't see what the big deal about the whole digital switch off is? Pretty much everyone I know is either on Sky or Virginmedia. I for one had been on Cable since 1992 and have been watching digital TV since its heyday. Surprised its taken them this long to switch it off!

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    @147. Hrv1000
    Since Freeview is received through an aerial, I'd guess that the frequencies used to transmit the digital signal have changed, or the signal strength has been altered when the analogue signal was switched off. Freeview is received through an aerial, same as analogue, while other services are through cable or satellite, so that's why it doesn't affect them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    To those of you who think that Crystal Palace serves only 7 to 8 million, think again.
    Crystal Palace and its satellites covers about a quarter of the UK population.

  • Comment number 167.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    No wonder London is getting a lot of publicity people, 1 out of every 8 British people lives there.

    Stop whining about London this London that, it comes over as infantile.

    And no I don't live or come from London :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    With analogue TV you could just plug in and switch on anywhere. With digital, you have to be connected up to Sky or Freeview. When we moved house, it was over a month before we could get Sky connected - something to do with not having a BT line??? Analogue was much easier.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    Okay, I made myself look stupid earlier; but how long until we have only digital radio?

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    Digital TV is great. If there's nothing worth watching on the 5 terrestrial channels, there's hours to be wasted watching endless repeats of Top Gear and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. John Logie Baird would be so proud!

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    Big Deal. Surely the news story here is "London eventually goes digital many months after regions nobody cares about were treated as guinea pigs"


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