Saorview is the national free-to-air
Free-to-air describes television and radio services broadcast in clear form, allowing any person with the appropriate receiving equipment to receive the signal and view or listen to the content without requiring a subscription or one-off fee...

 digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television
Digital terrestrial television is the technological evolution of broadcast television and advance from analog television, which broadcasts land-based signals...

 (DTT) service in Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...


The service began operation on 29 October 2010 on a trial basis with full launch on 26 May 2011. By legislation it was required to be available to approximately 90% of the population by end of October 2010 in a public testing capacity and nationwide by December 2011. The national public launch was preceded by a public information campaign, which began on 15 March 2011, with a television and radio advertising beginning 17 March 2011.

Saorview was officially launched on 26 May 2011 by Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte TD
Pat Rabbitte
Pat Rabbitte is an Irish Labour Party politician who has been Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources since March 2011...



Saorview is the Ireland's Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting
Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

 (PBS) DTT service. The Irish
Irish language
Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

 word Saor means free, thereby mirroring a common name of DTT service in many regions, Freeview
DTV Services, trading as Freeview, is the name for the collection of free-to-air services on the Digital Terrestrial Television platform in the UK. The service is jointly run by its five equal shareholders, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and transmitter operator Arqiva. DTV Services is designed to market...

, through a mix of the English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 and Irish languages. It is operational and available free-to-air (FTA) to approximately 90% of the population from 29 October 2010 on 24 sites. It will launch in a full capacity sometime in Spring 2011 with ASO campaign phase beginning Dec 2011 or such date the Minister may specify as required by the Broadcasting Act 2009. RTÉ has recommended that the date for the public national launch be Q2 2011 but this must be decided by the Minister for Communications. On 1 July 2010 RTÉ announced that Mary Curtis their current Deputy Director of Programmes in RTÉ Television would take on the role of Director of Digital Switchover (DSO) in September 2010 and will report to the Director General.

Saorview will be available from perhaps 51 DTT transmitters covering 98% of the population by the end of Q3 2012. The existing analogue terrestrial television
Analog television
Analog television is the analog transmission that involves the broadcasting of encoded analog audio and analog video signal: one in which the message conveyed by the broadcast signal is a function of deliberate variations in the amplitude and/or frequency of the signal...

 (ATT) network is available to 98% of the population from 150 ATT transmitters.

Initially one multiplex is available to the RTÉNL Saorview service with a second becoming available after the digital switchover
Digital television transition
The digital television transition is the process in which analog television broadcasting is converted to and replaced by digital television. This primarily involves both TV stations and over-the-air viewers; however it also involves content providers like TV networks, and cable television...

 which will be finished by the end of October 2012. A further four multiplexes are available for commercial pay DTT.

The service is free-to-air and a DVB-T/MPEG-4 HD set top box (STB) receiver or iDTV
Integrated Digital Television
An Integrated Digital Television set is a television set with a built in digital tuner, be it for DVB-T, DVB-S, DVB-C, DMB-T/H, ATSC or ISDB. Most of them also allow reception of analogue signals . They do away with the need for a set top box for converting those signals for reception on a...

 and UHF aerial will be required. MHEG-5
MHEG-5, or ISO/IEC 13522-5, is part of a set of international standards relating to the presentation of multimedia information, standardised by the Multimedia and Hypermedia Experts Group...

 has been selected as the middleware standard for digital teletext, Saorview branded EPG
Electronic program guide
Electronic program guides and interactive program guides provide users of television, radio, and other media applications with continuously updated menus displaying broadcast programming or scheduling information for current and upcoming programming...

 and interactive services. For non MHEG-5 compatible receivers regular analogue TV teletext will continue to be available and programme information will be displayed through the receiver's own inbuilt EPG. Either DVB or Teletext subtitling can be displayed when broadcast.

Initially RTÉ Two will be carried on what is known as "high definition light", selected live "pass through" programming will be carried in high definition, SD programmes will be upscaled to HD. For example, RTÉ would be able to cover the GAA championships of the summer of 2011 in high definition on a "whistle to whistle" basis as they do not have all the infrastructure at their studios to show the rest of the coverage in high definition. Once the RTÉ playout facility has been upgraded for high definition this will enable the playout of HD recorded material. RTÉ propose that the high definition services should be offered on DTT only.

The service is expected to provide significant coverage throughout Northern Ireland.

RTÉNL will provide commercial DTT capacity on its network for pay TV services that can agree terms with it and the BAI. However that is not likely until 2013 according to the BAI following on from a de-briefing exercise the BAI held with the three consortia involved in the 2008 failed licence process. The BAI said "the Authority now considers that it will not be feasible to introduce commercial DTT as originally intended until after Analogue Switch Off (ASO) at the earliest. The position will be reviewed towards the end of 2011 and the Authority may seek expressions of interest in the provision of commercial DTT at that point. A competition could potentially be held during 2012 with a view to commercial DTT being operational in 2013". It continued "it is the considered view of the Authority that as part of the preparation for the successful launch of commercial DTT in the future, legislative change will be necessary to enable the Authority to have formal relationships with the applicants, as obtains at present, and with RTÉNL". This is to allow the PSB side to proceed to successful ASO transition to DSO, a stabilised economic backdrop by that time (3 years time) to emerge and changes in the Broadcasting Act 2009 to allow it have statutory mediation powers in dealing with RTÉNL that it currently has with the broadcasters and interested parties but not with RTÉNL.


Costs of the service vary from €60 to €150, with each set top box (STB) costing "up to €100 each". In addition, some viewers will have to purchase new aerials, particularly in the south- east. Only some households are currently envisaged getting a subsidy.

Analogue switchoff (ASO)

On 14 October 2011, it was announced that the analogue switchoff in Ireland is scheduled to happen on 24 October 2012.

List of channels

Main article: List of channels on Saorview

There are a range of channels for Saorview which are either offered from RTÉNL, or the BAI
Broadcasting Authority of Ireland
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland was established on 1 October 2009 effectively replacing the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland ....


Saorsat - Saorview service via satellite

Following the failure of the commercial DTT process RTÉ submitted a revised DTT plan including a FTA satellite option to the Department of Communications in mid June 2010 for approval. RTÉ publicly announced at an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications discussion in mid July 2010 that a free-to-air satellite service, called Saorsat, would be offered to complement the terrestrial DTT service. Saorsat will enable Irish public service channels to be made available free to air and unencrypted, for the first time, as a means of covering the last 2% of the population who will be unable to receive the Saorview terrestrial service.

RTÉ said the combined offering was designed to be the most cost-effective solution for viewers and broadcasters; to offer for the first time 100% coverage of free-to-air public service television services in the Republic of Ireland; and to provide full national back-up coverage on satellite in the event of an emergency or catastrophic failure of the DTT system.

Approval for the revised National DTT plan and the new Saorsat satellite service was announced by the Minister for Communications at the end of July 2010.

It is anticipated that the Saorsat satellite service will be available from the second quarter of 2011. Test loop transmissions detected from the end of May 2011 and received on generic DVB-S2 HD set-boxes.

Video on demand

The service could offer video on demand
Video on demand
Video on Demand or Audio and Video On Demand are systems which allow users to select and watch/listen to video or audio content on demand...

, via an Ethernet
Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks commercially introduced in 1980. Standardized in IEEE 802.3, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies....

 port, from:
  • RTÉ player
    RTÉ player
    RTÉ player is an on demand video service provided by RTÉ for programmes broadcast on RTÉ Television. RTÉ player is available in two formats; one for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and another format for international audiences...

  • 3Player
    3Player is an on demand video service provided by Ireland's TV3, for programmes broadcast on both TV3 Ireland and 3e. 3Player is available to audiences in the Republic of Ireland. The service was launched on Saturday, October 8, 2011...

  • TG4 Player
    TG4 is a public service broadcaster for Irish language speakers. The channel has been on-air since 31 October 1996 in the Republic of Ireland and since April 2005 in Northern Ireland....

Additional information

  • The service is operated by RTÉNL, who can also accommodate a commercial pay TV operator. Saorview is a free public service giving viewers access to the list of proposed channels shown above.

  • Integrated digital television
    Integrated Digital Television
    An Integrated Digital Television set is a television set with a built in digital tuner, be it for DVB-T, DVB-S, DVB-C, DMB-T/H, ATSC or ISDB. Most of them also allow reception of analogue signals . They do away with the need for a set top box for converting those signals for reception on a...

    s (iDTVs) and set-top box
    Set-top box
    A set-top box or set-top unit is an information appliance device that generally contains a tuner and connects to a television set and an external source of signal, turning the signal into content which is then displayed on the television screen or other display device.-History:Before the...

    es which comply with the RTÉ free-to-air DTT receiver - Minimum Requirements will be eligible to display the Saorview logo. Receiver testing and approval will be carried out by Teracom
    Teracom is a terrestrial broadcast transmission service company owned by the Swedish Government. Teracom owns all Swedish broadcast transmission sites, and distributes all terrestrial radio and TV channels, private as well as public-service, analogue as well as digital.Teracom Components is a...


  • DTT launch was completed on target insofar as the FTA multiplex, following direction from the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources to RTÉ and signing of Statutory Instrument 85 of 2010 RTÉ (National Television Multiplex) Order 2010 on 26 February 2010.

  • The FTA DTT had to be operational by 31 October 2010 to 90% of the country but launch could be any time before 31 December 2011 leaving just over a year for actual launch date to be decided. The planned DTT information campaign was between Summer 2010 and Autumn 2011, regardless of the outcome of BAI commercial DTT negotiations. This also tallies with RTÉNL proceeding with Irish DTT receiver certification announced in January 2010, following the selection of Teracom to conduct the tests and expansion of the network engineering tests during 2009. Commercial DTT launch was determined by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland after Easy TV declined negotiations on the Commercial DTT licence offer, following the BAI's closure of negotiations with OneVision in April 2010.

  • Saorview equipment does not receive Freeview. For decades Irish analog television
    Analog television
    Analog television is the analog transmission that involves the broadcasting of encoded analog audio and analog video signal: one in which the message conveyed by the broadcast signal is a function of deliberate variations in the amplitude and/or frequency of the signal...

     viewers in the right location could also receive BBC One Wales
    BBC One
    BBC One is the flagship television channel of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution...

    , BBC Two Wales
    BBC Two
    BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...

    , ITV Wales
    ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

    HTV, now legally known as ITV Wales & West, is the ITV contractor for Wales and the West of England, which operated from studios in Cardiff and Bristol. The company provided commercial television for the dual-region 'Wales and West' franchise, which it won from TWW in 1968...

     until 2004), S4C
    S4C , currently branded as S4/C, is a Welsh television channel broadcast from the capital, Cardiff. The first television channel to be aimed specifically at a Welsh-speaking audience, it is the fifth oldest British television channel .The channel - initially broadcast on...

     and Channel 5 (Five at the time) as the Welsh transmitter was close enough to Ireland and used almost identical technology. This stopped just after midnight on 1 April 2010 when digital switchover was completed in Wales. As of late 2010, only one television manufacturer (Walker) was "Saorview Approved".

See also

  • Television in Ireland
    Television in Ireland
    Digital terrestrial television within the Republic of Ireland, known as Saorview, was launched on 27 May 2011. This service will effectively replace the current analogue terrestrial television system, which uses System I with 625 lines and the PAL colour standard, with NICAM digital stereo sound...

  • RTÉ Network Limited
    RTÉ Network Limited
    RTÉ Transmission Network Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raidió Teilifís Éireann which runs Ireland's principal terrestrial television and radio broadcast signal transmission networks. They operate 10 main sites, and over 100 smaller relays and transposers, which carry either television,...

  • Saorsat
    Saorsat is the proposed name for the free-to-air satellite service in the Republic of Ireland. The service is expected to launch in late 2011...

  • Easy TV (DTT)
    Easy TV (DTT)
    Easy TV was a consortium that have been offered a licence by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to run the pay television services on the DTT platform in the Republic of Ireland...

  • One Vision (DTT)
    One Vision (DTT)
    OneVision was a consortium that have been offered a licence by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to run the pay television services on the DTT platform in the Republic of Ireland....

  • Boxer TV Ireland
    Boxer TV Ireland
    Boxer DTT Limited was a company that had been awarded the contract to operate a mainly pay-TV digital terrestrial television service in the Republic of Ireland....

External links

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