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Beginners Guide to Saorview

Rory Coveney - Saorview Communications Manager

What is Saorview?

Saorview is a free digital terrestrial television service that will provide the viewer with a much higher quality of picture and sound

Without getting too technical, it's called 'digital' as opposed to the system we have now -- which uses aerials and TV 'rabbit ears' -- which is called 'analogue'

It will give the viewer at home an on-screen programme menu and will also allow them access to digital teletext.

How does it work?

It works in much the same way as the old system, except that it is delivered in a slightly different way and using new equipment in your house.

RTE's local mast broadcasts the signal, which is picked up by your aerial (the UHF one you have at the moment is fine in most all circumstances).

That signal is then unscrambled into TV pictures by a set-top box, which you will have to buy (unless you buy a new, Saorview-ready television).

One advantage to DTT is that you can do things only normally available on UPC or Sky services, such as record programmes (or whole series of programmes).

What do people need to make the switch?

If you have an old television and use a normal aerial on the top of your house, you will need

(a) A new Saorview DTT set-top box (or a new television)

(b) You may need to have your aerial adjusted.

A set-top box costs around €100, though this price should fall to around €40 or €50 in the coming months. You can buy a set-top box in most electrical and electronics shops: almost any shop that sells televisions.

One key point: you will need a Saorview/DTT receiver for every television accessing the Saorview/DTT signal. Rabbit ears, by themselves, just won't work anymore after 2012, when the old analogue signal is turned off.

If this all seems like hassle, and you were thinking of upgrading your television anyway, you can get a Saorview-approved television. This will automatically receive the Saorview signal.

Your aerial: you may need to get your rooftop aerial adjusted to point toward the mast. If you can get TV3 clearly using your current aerial/rabbit ears, you won't have to adjust your aerial. If you can't you might need to get it adjusted by a TV maintenance person.

How to make the switch?

There are four simple steps to switching:

1. Check the coverage checker on the official Saorview website to see fin you are covered

2. Check your aerial: the quick test to see if your aerial can receive Saorview is if you can already receive TG4 and TV3, then you should be all set

3. Now connect your Saorview approved set top box to your television of connect your aerial directly to your iDTV

4. Simply tune in your channels and services

Do current Sky or UPC customers have to make the switch?

No they don't have to make the switch. There will be one or two channels available on Saorview that won't be available on either Sky or UPC, so viewers can choose to buy a set top box to avail of these if they wish

Is Saorview a HD service?

No. There will be a HD RTE Two service available which will provide 40% of its programming in HD

What channels will be available?

Saorview provides 9 TV stations and 10 radio stations, including all of the RTE, TG4 and TV3 services

The new TV stations include RTE Jr., a new TV station for children

Will my area be covered?

Due to topography of the land, 100% coverage of the country is impossible.

When the roll out is complete, 98% of the country will be covered.

To find out if your covered, go to and find the coverage section, once you enter your address you will find out if your area will be covered.

How does this affect the license fee?

It doesn't. All household and business owners still need to possess an up to date TV license regardless of whether their service is pay or free view.

All of the relevant information is available on the official Saorview website