The Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey T.D., today announced the commencement of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Pilot in Ireland. It is planned that this pilot will continue over a two-year timeframe, during which time DTT broadcasts will transmit from the Three Rock site in Dublin and the Clermont Carn site in County Louth.
Phase 1 of the pilot comprises a “soft trial” and is expected to run for several months. This phase will be used to test the stability of the network and the technologies involved at a network and user level. This trial is now underway. Phase 2 of the pilot will involve public participation in the trial. During this phase, set top boxes will be distributed to trial participants.
The objective of the trial is to identify the issues associated with a transition from an analogue terrestrial TV platform to a digital terrestrial TV platform. Digital TV is currently available on a number of platforms, such as cable, MMDS and satellite but this is the first time digital TV will be available from terrestrial transmitter systems in Ireland.
Content on the pilot will initially be provided by the Irish national TV and radio channels – RTÉ 1, RTÉ2, TV3, TG4, RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2 FM, RTÉ Lyric FM, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta and Today FM. There will be opportunities for other content providers to provide content as the trial progresses. One such process is already being developed, with the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland and the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources already having received nine initial applications for Multiplex Programme Content Managers as part of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Trial.
Commenting on the launch Minister Dempsey stated: “I am committed to ensuring that Ireland keeps pace with high-tech developments in communications taking place across the EU so I am delighted to announce that Digital Terrestrial Television trials have now commenced in Ireland. A DTT service is capable of providing much more for Irish viewers in the long-term in terms of quality, service and additional channels than an analogue service.”
“The European Commission has proposed 2012 as the date by which switch-off of analogue TV could be completed across Europe and, in this context, this pilot plays an important step in informing the development of Ireland’s long-term broadcasting strategy,” continued the Minister.
Minister Dempsey expressed his appreciation to BT, NEC and RTÉNL for their assistance in developing the pilot network. He also applauded the content providers on the trial who are pioneering a technology which is new to Ireland. BT Communications (Ireland) were contracted to provide a multiplexing and distribution service to the DTT Pilot. Multiplexing is the technical service in which television signals are compressed for higher quality reception and more efficient use of broadcast spectrum. NEC (UK) Limited have supplied and installed the transmission and combining systems required for the DTT Pilot. RTÉ Transmission Networks Limited provides the transmission sites and assist the Minister and his Department in the development and operation of the pilot project.
“Not only will the project create an opportunity to test and trial this type of broadcasting service, but it will also generate awareness and discussion among interested parties in a full roll-out of free-to-air digital terrestrial television, which can replace analogue services,” he concluded.
Further details on the DTT Pilot can be found at the following address:
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