The final stage of the digital TV switchover has been completed, ending the long standing run of analogue TV for good. Around midnight last night, analogue signals in Northern Ireland were turned off, killing the Ceefax platform as well – a teletext service that has been around for more than forty years.
To celebrate the final changeover, Dame Mary Peters, the winner of an Olympic gold medal for the pentathlon in 1972, pulled the switch to turn off the last analogue signal in Belfast.
The digital switchover has taken five years at this point, costing around £630 million and is expected to save around £74 million a year from the communications budget, giving the BBC a little more to work with each year since it usually comes out of the license fee.
“ I’m delighted to say people have generally taken the change in their stride and the UK now has a TV network fit for the 21st Century,” said David Scott (via the Telegraph), head of Digital UK, the body that has been handling the switch. “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 per cent of cities, towns and villages across the UK.”
KitGuru Says: This seems like it’s been going on forever. At least we won’t need to see any more “are you ready for digital?” leaflets and adverts, despite most people having a freeview box for almost a decade.