Denmark holds nationwide light show to mark digital switchover

Saturday, October 31, 2009

National broadcaster Danmarks Radio's (DR) headquarters, DR Byen, in Copenhagen. DR1, all of its government-owned sister channels, and all commercial stations switched off their analog signals at midnight.

Denmark switched off its analog TV signal on Saturday evening, to be replaced by digital. To mark the event, a massive light show was held in which lights from seven locations were synchronised to appear identical from any location in Denmark.

The event, the largest Europe has ever seen, started at 6:00 p.m. local time and continued until 11:55, just before the midnight switchover. It was being run via projectors, each weighing in at 200kg, which have been installed on top of seven TV towers — in Jutland, Funen, Zealand, and Bornholm. The tallest of these, Rø-senderen, stands 431 meters above sea level at Denmark's easternmost point, the island of Bornholm.

The show was organised and paid for by Boxer TV, which operates digital pay TV channels amongst the forty available on the digital signals. Boxer's director Steen Ulf Jensen said in a press release, "The great light show will illustrate the amazing digital transformation that will happen to the television masts in the night. When the Danes wake up tomorrow, the masts will broadcast entirely digitally."

Each beam could be seen 20km away and was projected 3km into the air. The project was designed by Jesper Kongshaug and is controlled by computer, utilising technology more regularly seen in Las Vegas and Hollywood.