Analogue TV to be unplugged for good in a year

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The Independent Culture

The UK's analogue-television era will come to an end in little over a year, on 24 October 2012, it has been announced.

Eighty years from the first experimental broadcasts, the old five-channel system will be switched off for good. The date will also signal the completion of the switch to digital television that started in 2008. Since then, millions of viewers in Britain have seen coverage boosted with extra channels and clearer pictures.

Announcing the end date for analogue television and the switchover, David Scott, the chief executive of Digital UK, said: "The analogue era was a defining period for TV but the fully digital age will be even better, with a greater choice of channels for viewers everywhere." The first experimental analogue-television broadcasts started in August 1932.

The technology was officially launched by the BBC in 1936 and went on to inform and entertain viewers with coverage of landmark events such as the Moon landings and classic shows from Nationwide to Morecambe and Wise.

The UK's switchover programme started in 2008. At its conclusion next year more than 15 million new viewers will have been brought into coverage for Freeview services, Digital UK said.

The last analogue television signals will be switched off in Northern Ireland, where "virtually all" households will receive the new digital signal, "including half-a-million viewers who cannot receive it now".