Digital Switchover (DSO) is the process of changing from analogue to digital broadcasting. In Ireland this process concluded on 24th October 2012 when RTÉ switched off the national analogue TV network. Ireland's new national digital TV network is called SAORVIEW.
A report on the DCENR digital switchover information and awareness campaign is available by clicking on the following link: Digital Switchover Report
SAORVIEW agus SAORSAT
SAORVIEW is owned and operated by RTÉ.
SAORVIEW currently operates over a single multiplex carrying RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2 (HD), TV3, TG4, 3e, RTÉ 1+1 (from 7pm), RTÉ jr (till 7pm) and RTÉ News Now. It also carries the RTÉ radio channels.
SAORVIEW is subscription free. To receive SAORVIEW you will need:
- To live in an area which can receive SAORVIEW signals;
- Have a UHF aerial pointed in the direction of the nearest SAORVIEW transmitter site;
- Have a SAORVIEW compatible digital TV or set top box.
SAORVIEW is available to 98% of the population.
For those who cannot receive SAORVIEW, RTÉ has also established a satellite TV service called SAORSAT. This is available to 100% of the population. SAORSAT carries RTÉ 1, RTÉ 2 (HD), TG4, RTÉ 1+1 (From 7pm), RTÉjr (to 7pm),RTÉ News Now and the RTÉ radio channels. TV3 and 3e are not carried on this service.
SAORSAT is subscription free. To receive SAORSAT you will need a special satellite dish and SAORSAT set top box.
Further information is available from RTÉ at: http://www.saorview.ie/ . RTÉ also operates a telephone helpline and email service to answer specific queries you may have. The number for the helpline is 1890 222 012. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digital television is also available in Ireland through pay TV operators over cable, MMDS or satellite. These provide access to the main Irish TV channels as well as UK and other TV channels.
Other technologies such as Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) are also starting to emerge.
Providing for National DTT
Part 8 of The Broadcasting Act 2009 provides the legislative basis for the development of Ireland’s national digital TV network.
A copy of the 2009 Act is available by following this link.
Memorandum of Understanding - Coordination of digital switchover with Northern Ireland
On 1st February 2010 the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. This MOU provides for North-South co-operation on the transition to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and analogue switch off. The MOU is available by following this link.
The Memorandum, is aimed at ensuring a smooth transition to digital switchover and the switch-off of analogue services in Northern Ireland and Ireland.
It commits the two Governments to facilitating the widespread availability of RTÉ services in Northern Ireland on a free-to-air basis and BBC services in Ireland on a paid for basis. The provision of BBC throughout Ireland is a commercial decision for BBC as, unlike RTÉ, BBC does not have a mandate to provide its services throughout the Island of Ireland.
The Memorandum also ensures the continuing widespread availability of TG4 in Northern Ireland following the digital switchover.
In 2012, RTÉ and TG4 formed a not-for-profit venture to provide their channels on Freeview in Northern Ireland. Coverage of these channels in Northern Ireland is being supplemented by overspill coverage from SAORVIEW so that, from 24 October 2012, over 94% of homes in Northern Ireland will be able to receive TG4, RTÉ One and RTÉ Two television services and RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta without subscription for the first time.
To ensure the new Freeview channels cover as much of the population as possible, they use the new MPEG4 and DVB-T2 standards which can be received on Freeview HD equipment. SAORVIEW overspill signals can be received either through a SAORVIEW approved receiver, newer Freeview products compatible with the MPEG4 standard, or Freeview HD equipment. Viewers should ask their retailer for advice on receiving the services they want.