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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.

Light show at Crystal Palace

Light show at Crystal Palace

Next month, every single old fashioned television in the London area will stop receiving a TV signal as the main broadcast tower at Crystal Palace switches to digital only broadcasts.

Signals sent in easily decoded waves will be replaced by a stream of digital bits and bytes that only a complex computer algorithm can understand. Digital squeezes more channels into the same space, but aliens listening for signs of intelligent life will see hints of regular radio patterns being replaced with random gibberish.

Digital also means less radio spectrum required for broadcasting TV signals, and more for them to flog off to the mobile networks, so they can use the bandwidth to deliver YouTube videos to mobile phones.

A press release – which I would ordinarily delete, but was actually written sensibly for once announces a GRAND EVENT to mark the switchover.

The Crystal Palace transmitter is to be covered in lights and a “spectacular light-show” will take place on at 9.15pm on 18 April.

via BBC News and IanVisits

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