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Crystal Palace lit up for London Digital Switchover night: video

The weather didn’t bless Londoners with a perfect opportunity to enjoy the special light-show at the Crystal Palace transmitter for Digital Switchover in London, so here’s a video of the event.

The lights are on again tonight – and it looks like the weather will be even worse – but they do a lovely job of showing off the 17.5metre digital antenna, weighing 4 tonnes, at the top of the 219m tower.

Analogue TV to the capital was turned off on Tuesday, April 18, and at 6am the next day, transmitter power for Freeview was boosted by 10 times.

Across the day, 54 relay transmitters began broadcasting a 20-channel core Freeview ‘Lite’ service for the first time, reaching a total of five million homes.

It was an occasion for celebration at Crystal Palace by Arqiva, which operates the UK’s TV and radio transmitters, and Digital UK, which has managed the seven-year digital switch programme.

Arqiva CEO, John Cresswell said: “This is a broadcasting landmark and digital switchover is an amazing engineering and technical feat and a fantastic story of British success.

“The UK has an amazing record of producing fantastic television. Freeview is the platform of choice across the UK and the investment we have just made will ensure it continues to be relevant for the next twenty years. ”

TV celebrities including Chris Evans, Greg Dyke, Floella Benjamin and Professor Brian Cox were invited to watch Sir David Attenborough turn on the lights.

The Digital Switchover programme runs until October, taking in Kent, North-East England and Northern Ireland.

When it’s complete, the UK will have 98.5 per cent coverage for the core Freeview channels and more than 80 per cent for the remaining 30 channels.

Celebrities’ favourite TV moments:    

  • Sir David Attenborough: Neil Armstrong stepping onto the Moon
  • Greg Dyke: Geoff Hurst’s goal in the 1966 World Cup
  • Professor Brian Cox: Apollo 13 splashes down after its near-disastrous space journey
  • Floella Benjamin: her West End show being interrupted to watch Arthur Ashe vs Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon

Click on the image below for a Flickr photostream of the London Digital Switchover party.

Crystal Palace Digital Switchover lightshow

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