Goodbye to analogue TV... but not yet hello to LTE

POSTED BY Global Administrator
So, farewell, analogue TV. It was confirmed that the last analogue TV signals in the UK would be switched off on October 24, 2012, thereby concluding a staggered process that first began in the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven back in November 2007. Not that many of us actually use analogue any more – according to the most recent Ofcom data, around 94% of UK households had at least one digital set – but it was almost reassuring to know that it was still around if you needed it, a durable prop for those occasions when digital decides it’s had enough and you’re either faced with a blank screen or else by what appears to be programming filmed in stop-start animation as half the frames have gone awry. Now, watching Location Location Location in this manner might be entertaining for some, but by Jiminy, Mrs Holden doesn’t think so. Sure, analogue had its moments, particularly on hot, sultry South coast evenings when UK viewers would occasionally find their BBC1 signals knocked out by TDF1 and therefore wonder why Eastenders had been replaced by shots of the Champs Elysees and why divers individuals were conversing in foreign tongues, but such incidents were isolated. With digital terrestrial TV, I get the stop-start animation several times a week. Digital has brought yours truly a fair few more channels, but at the price of not being able to guarantee that the viewing experience will be acceptable. And given that for the most part I still stick to those few channels whose origins lie in the analogue era, I’m not entirely sure that it’s been a fair trade-off. Worse; we’re informed by Ofcom that, when 4G services bed down into the vacated analogue spectrum, this could mean that up to 3% of households will be unable to access digital terrestrial TV unless they fit a filter to their aerial. I have yet to ascertain whether I will be among those who requires a filter – as far as digital TV goes, I am sufficiently pessimistic to believe that I will – and knowing my luck I’ll wind up amongst the hapless 0.1% of households for whom a filter will not make the slightest bit of difference and who will be obliged to get a satellite or cable instead. Still, it is clear that it will take my concerns some time to be realised, following the news – hardly unexpected – that the auctioning off of 4G spectrum would not now take place until the end of 2012 at the earliest. So I can hold off fiddling with the aerial until 2013, at which point the UK enters a new era of LTE-driven, 4G ubiquitous connectivity. Unless, that is, 4G connectivity patterns ape those that are currently in place for 3G, and you will still struggle to get a decent mobile broadband signal in my neck of the woods and continue to be reliant on the WiFi…