ASO Analogue Switch Off of TV

Michael Watterson's picture

Analogue BBC Two was permanently switched off in the early hours of Wednesday 10 October. Freeview digital channels, including BBC Two, are available for the first time to thousands of viewers served by local relay transmitters.


Some relay sites in NI have never had Channel Five Analogue or Digital Terrestrial TV. Many people in Ireland on East Coast and South of Border are now getting Freeview for the first time or a more reliable signal. The BBC A mux. is now at full power from Divis & Brougher Mountain. This is particularly a big boost for Brougher Mountain reception.

(Pictured left is disused aerial Array on Keeper Hill, Tipperary used to be used to pick up Brougher Mountain UK analogue TV from NI for relay on MMDS and Cable in Limerick).

In 1964 the start of BBC2 was marred by a power failure (though BBC2 didn't arrive in N.I. till 1967 on Divis (625 line UHF) with BBC1 and UTV continuing for some years in 405 Line VHF only, with colour on Divis BBC1 & UTV in 1970). The end of analogue BBC was marred by a Transmitter failure. N.I. is the last part of the UK to turn off Analogue TV.

In Donegal so as to coordinate with UK the analogue TG4 has been turned off on many sites. Unlike N.I. most of the Irish DTT is already running, even though it started about 10 years later than N.I. Digital TV.

The remainder of Analogue TV on the whole Island of Ireland will be turned off on 24th October 2012.

The UK 405 Line single BBC only service started in 1936 from Alexandria palace in London. It closed two days before the UK declaration of War in September 1939 against Germany. Even though development of 625 Line TV was well advanced (Russian tests from 1944) and most of Europe planning to use it by 1946 (Though Public Transmissions only commenced in 1948), the UK for political reasons decided to restart the 405 TV for possibly only 300 London viewers on the Alexandria Palace Transmitter in 1946. Some claim 3,000 TVs survived the War. Then in 1955 ITV commenced also on 405 lines even though 625  was well established in Europe. Most early adopters (South of England) had to buy Set Top Converter boxes (just like UK requires to day for Freeview HD on a Freeview TV or Analogue TV). Irish viewers with an Analogue or Freeview only TV need a Saorview Set-box.  The first Irish TV viewers used Welsh signals and later in 1953 N.I. signals. Irish TV started in 1962 (late on 31st December 1961) with one channel, wastefully transmitted in 405 in some areas as well as the new UK version of 625 (Incompatible sound with European B/K standard in use since 1948) even though the UK didn't launch it till 1964! The UK & Irish 405 line TV services switched off between 1983 and 1985 for last UK services. Some Irish Transmitter sites still using the VHF and 625 as they did in 1962.

This is actually the 3rd Analogue TV closedown in the UK and the end of Analogue TV entirely in UK and Ireland. The previous was the 405 Service started in 1936 and paused for WWII and the first Close down was the test transmission Baird mechanical TV from Crystal palace in 1936 (never a true public service). Baird didn't actually invent TV, Mechanical or Electronic, but was the first to attempt to commercialise TV.

See and

BBC2 N.I. Closedown videos here, and here on Youtube.