As the switch to digital television gets closer more and more people County Offaly are asking what they should do to continue to receive the Irish Public Service Broadcast television services on a Free-To-Air basis.
SAORVIEW is the new free digital television service that will allow the Irish public to watch and listen to indigenous television and radio channels free of charge.
Laois has an estimated 7,000 terrestrial households, ie those who depend on an aerial for TV reception on their main TV.
All you need to begin enjoying the new service is a UHF aerial (which most households have) and a SAORVIEW Approved receiver (either a television or a set-top-box). Most viewers in Co Laois will already have the correct aerial, pointed at the right transmitter site. To check that SAORVIEW is available where you live, or to get more information about your local transmitter, you can check the website coverage checker at www.saorview.ie or you can call the designated information line Lo Call 1850 222 012.
Many viewers in Co Laois will have received their analogue RTÉ One and RTÉ Two on VHF, and their analogue TV3 and TG4 on UHF. For this reason, many houses will have both a VHF and a UHF aerial. It is the UHF aerial that is required for SAORVIEW. In other words the aerial used currently to receive TV3 and TG4 analogue, is the aerial they will use to receive SAORVIEW.
TV Channels available on SAORVIEW are RTE One, RTE Two HD, TV3, TG4, RTE News Now, 3e, RTEJr, RTE One + 1, RTE Aertel Digital as well as 10 digital RADIO Channels are available on SAORVIEW.
The most watched programmes in Ireland are available on Saorview such as The Late Late Show, Coronation Street, Xpose, RTE News, Frontline, Eastenders, Come Dine with Me and The X Factor.
The benefits of digital are
n Crystal clear pictures
n Better quality sound
n 7-day on-screen TV Guide
n Digital teletext: RTE Aertel
By delaying until the last minute to upgrade, there is every possibility that product shortages may occur, and some installers may be unable to keep pace with the demands placed on them.
So getting ready for SAORVIEW means you either need to buy a new Saorview Approved Television or buy a Saorview Approved Set Top Box which can be connected to your existing television.
If you are already subscribing to a digital television service such as SKY or UPC, you will still need to check if any televisions in your house are dependant on the old aerial service as they too will need to be enabled to receive digital.
The vast majority of premises with existing outdoor or rooftop aerials will be able to receive the SAORVIEW signal. If you do not have an aerial, you may need to contact a local aerial installer
A basic SAORVIEW Approved Set Top Box costs €60 - €100 .
This is a once-off payment i.e. there are no future monthly payments for the SAORVIEW service.
Currently one third of all television sets and almost one quarter of all domestic households in Ireland reply on the analogue network as their primary television reception source
In total it is estimated that over one million people accross the country are likely to experience some level of disruption to their television service in 2012.
Also, in a drive to ensure that affected homes know how to respond to the changeover, a brief on-screen message has been appearing at regular but infrequent intervals on sets receiving the old analogue TV signal. The message does not appear on sets already receiving a digital television signal.
SAORVIEW is working with retailers in Co Laois as part of a “Saorview Fortnight” beginning on Monday 2nd July by creating a “Saorview event” in-store over this two-week period built around some attractive promotions and offers on Saorview Approved Set-Top Boxes and TVs.
Saorview are working closely with both Macra na Feirma and Muintir na Tira as part of a Volunteer / Helper progamme to help and support their neighbours in switching to Saorview.
To receive the best signal you ideally need a rooftop UHF aerial. If you can receive RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, TV3 and TG4 the aerial you have should be able to receive the new signal. (A very small number of households may still have the old VHF aerials which currently can only receive RTÉ One, RTÉ Two – those households will need to liaise with a competent local installer to replace the aerial). There is no such thing as a digital aerial.
The biggest change to Irish television as we know it is entering its final phase before the terrestrial analogue signal is switched off and replaced by a digital signal on October 24th, 2012. From this date all television sets in Ireland must be able to receive a digital signal either freely through SAORVIEW, or on paid subscription through SKY or UPC.
In May 2011, SAORVIEW was launched to provide a free indigenous digital service to deliver Irish television channels free-to-air.
The 491,000 affected households comprise 267,000 who are exclusively dependent on the analogue signal and another 224,000 who have a digital service for one+ television sets but have extra television sets receiving the analogue signal, for example, in the kitchen or bedroom. (Source: Nielsen Establishment Survey, May 2012; RTÉ Estimates)
A SAORVIEW approved set top box costs between €50-100 with no on-going subscription. Television sets as old as twenty years are suitable for use with a SAORVIEW approved set top box.