First digital switchover under way

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The Independent Online

The UK's first full-scale digital television switchover was on course for completion today.

All analogue TV services in the Scottish Borders went off air during the night to be replaced by digital channels throughout the day.

The switchover in the Selkirk transmitter region was expected to be completed by 4pm.

It marks the first full-scale switch in the nationwide programme which will give viewers a greater choice of channels.

The rest of the UK will follow the same two-stage process, carried out transmitter by transmitter, until 2012.

John Askew of Digital UK, the body in charge of the switchover, said: "I'm pleased to report that the technical transition has gone smoothly and from today many more viewers will be able to receive digital TV free via an aerial.

"The success of this first full-scale switchover is a tribute to the years of preparation by all those involved and to the people of the Borders who are leading the way for the rest of the UK."

All terrestrial TV signals were turned off shortly after midnight, with a team of 20 engineers working through the night on the conversion to all-digital services.

Switching off the analogue signal means Freeview coverage will reach 98 per cent of households.

Digital TVs or analogue sets converted with a digital box will be able to receive channels such as BBC Three, BBC Four, BBC News, ITV2, ITV3, E4, More 4 and digital text services.

Stage one of switchover took place on 6 November when analogue BBC Two was turned off and replaced with BBC digital channels.