The confusion and disruption continued for nearly four minutes on the BBC News Channel.
On social media, though, there was no delay.
Both channels then cut to show newsreader Huw Edwards sitting at his desk.
News at Six and Ten editor Paul Royall said a "technical systems crash" caused the four-minute delay.
At the end of the News At Ten, he apologised for the "problems at the start of the programme" before handing over to the local news broadcasts.
Meanwhile, viewers on the BBC News channel were greeted by the sight of presenter Huw Edwards twiddling his thumbs and writing something on a piece of paper.
"Director had to switch to back-up system ASAP", he said.
Finally, the BBC got its act together (sort of) and Edwards began the news while adding nonchalantly as you please that there had been "a few technical problems, for which we apologize". @huwbbc doing great job #BBCNewsTen'.
Huw Edwards was left sitting in silence for four minutes at the start of BBC News at Ten on Tuesday night after a technical fault delayed the start of the programme and bemused viewers.
After his broadcast, Edwards tweeted a photograph of a can of ale along with the words: "I think I'm going to enjoy this little beauty after that Ten".