Analogue TV signal to be switched off today

Hundreds of thousands of Irish people will be anxiously watching their TV sets in a couple of hours time, when Europe's analogue TV signal is turned off.

The switchover to digital happens at 10am.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said that there are a number of services people can contact if they are experiencing difficulties.

"Goingdigital.ie, or the helpline [1890 940 980] or ring Saorview, or ring your local St Vincent de Paul, or the Rural Link - all of the usual lines apply," he said.

Anyone still using the analogue signal in the North lost access to channels at 11.30pm last night.

The final broadcast was transmitted in the North, simultaneously by the BBC and UTV, and fronted by Eamonn Holmes.

It reviewed an era which included the Second World War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the end of the Soviet Union.

Mary Peters from Belfast, the 1972 Olympic gold medallist in pentathlon, turned the final analogue switch off at a transmitter in the city at around midnight.

BBC Ceefax, the world’s first teletext service, also made its final bow.

Digital TV offers a wider range of channels than analogue and much of the content available on teletext-based services can be accessed on digital sets. Almost any existing analogue TV, even a black and white one, can be converted with the addition of a digital set-top box.

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