Digital TV switchover completion date announced
Digital UK has announced the date that the country's analogue TV services will finally come to an end.
The body, which has been tasked by the government with managing the nationwide switchover to digital TV, revealed the analogue era is set to finish on October 24th 2012 - 80 years after the first experimental broadcasts.
Analogue services commenced in August 1932, while the BBC began offering scheduled content four years later. Since then, viewers have been able to enjoy everything from classic entertainment such as Morecambe and Wise to iconic events like the moon landings.
The completion of the switchover will come when the final region, Northern Ireland, makes the move to all-digital TV, bringing to an end a process that started in 2008.
When it is finished, Freeview services will have been extended to 15 million people who were unable to receive them before the project got underway.
According to Digital UK, the scheme is on track to conclude inside the government's original timetable and at least £53 million under budget.
Chief executive of Digital UK David Scott 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.
"I'm looking forward to October next year when we will have brought the benefits of digital to every corner of the country."
Figures released last month by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport showed 17 million homes, representing 63 per cent of the country's households, had completed the digital TV switchover following upgrades in West Midlands, Yorkshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme.
The process is being carried out to improve viewers' television reception, increase the number of channels they can access and free up valuable spectrum for next-generation mobile and wireless broadband services.
"Switching to digital TV is the biggest project in UK broadcasting history," said Communications Minister Ed Vaizey.