Last analogue TV to be switched off in October 2012

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The Independent Online

Analogue TV brought England's World Cup victory, Neil Armstrong's Moon landing and the royal wedding of Charles and Diana into our homes, but its era is at an end.

Millions have already made the switch to digital, but the analogue signal will cease for everyone in the UK on 24 October 2012, more than 80 years after its first broadcasts began.

BBC Ceefax and other teletext services will be consigned to history and those without satellite or cable services will need to buy themselves a digital TV or set-top box.

There are still 15 million people without Freeview services, which allow viewers to access programmes outside of the terrestrial channels and to catch up on some of their favourite programmes an hour later on +1 services.

In a sign of how popular the adoption of Freeview has become, TV ratings analyser BARB announced yesterday that +1 channels now attract 10 per cent of all our viewing.

While most of the UK has made the switchover, London, Meridian and Tyne Tees have yet to fully convert, and Northern Ireland will be the very last.

Digital UK chief executive David Scott said: "The 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 non-profit company began the move to digital in 2007 with a pilot scheme in Whitehaven in Cumbria, and analogue signals were switched off region by region from 2008.

The spectrum freed up by the switch will be re-used by future mobile technology Long Term Evolution. Ofcom is investigating the potential disruption the switch-on could cause, with an estimated 3 per cent of viewers (760,000) believed to be at risk of receiving a poorer-quality TV picture.

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