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What does Saorview mean for Ireland? We will have Gay Byrne in studio to discuss the digital switchover.

SAORVIEW main points

. Digital switchover - why is this happening - its mandatory, EU and national policy

. Country and the consumer stand to benefit - better service, better use of national infrastructure

. SAORVIEW - what is it? - extended channel line up and improved service, better signal = better quality picture and sound. DOES not involve ongoing subscription

. What do you need to do to make the switch - buy a SAORVIEW APPROVED set top box or idtv, that way you are guaranteed it will work with the service.

. Will I still need my aerial - YES, don't take your aerial down and if your TV can currently receive the four Irish channels, your existing channel should work well with a set-top-box.

. Does each TV need a set top box - yes, especially relevant even for those who have a subscription package but may rely on the aerial for the second tv in the bedroom or kitchen.

. What are the costs involved - basic set top boxes start much lower than €100 often quoted, shop around. One off investment in the technology needed to receive the new signal.

. Who - even if you wish to continue to subscribe to a Pay TV service, in all likelihood we know someone who the change is likely to affect (elderly neighbour, rural aunt) - is there anyone who you know who might need some extra help.

. What should consumers be vigilant about - no door to door activity commissioned by SAORVIEW, no such thing as a digital aerial, don't pay more than you need to, always buy SAORVIEW approved.

Summary of Digital Switchover:

. End of 2012 switch off by Mandated by EU

. It's also a national policy with significant potential benefits.

. RTE NL absorbing the full costs of transition (approx €70 million) and tasked with the responsibility of rolling out the service

. Manufacturers concentrating on digital technology - Irish consumers can't get left behind.

. Better quality signal - results in an improved television service.

Summary of Key Consumer Benefits of Digital Television

. Nationally results in a better usage of the communications infrastructure

. Better quality of signal means clearer picture and better quality of sound for viewers

. No ongoing bills or subscriptions

. SAORVIEW offers an improved television service in a number of ways.

Summary of what SAORVIEW is

. Expanded range of Irish television channels.
. Full range of RTÉ Radio digital stations
. Improved digital version of Aertel
. Access to EPG.

Who will be affected?:

A little over 335,000 households choose to receive television free exclusively through an aerial. These households will lose their television service if they do not make changes to enable them to receive a digital signal by the end of 2012. The households most likely to be affected by this change are as follows:

. Rural - 70% of analogue households are in rural areas, 46% are farmers

. Older - Half have a Head of Household over 55

. Smaller or Lone Households - 7 in 10 are in households made up of one or two persons

. Poorer - Almost half (45%) of terrestrial households are in the DE category, i.e. the head of household is either an unskilled or manual worker or is unemployed.

. Predominantly Munster and Connaught Ulster - Two thirds of analogue households are in these regions.


. Most directly affects 340,000 households who rely exclusively on aerial for television

. 600,000 households rely on analogue service to some degree

. Also of interest to those who want to consider new options available in terms of accessing digital television in Ireland.

Summary of issues around aerials

. UHF aerial (which most people have) is what is needed to receive SAORVIEW
. SAORVIEW nor RTÉ are going door-to-door and have strict guidelines as to how the service is to be represented
. SAORVIEW recommending consultation with professional installers from one of three professional bodies should a new aerial be required or adjustments made to existing aerial.

There are a number of simple tests to help you determine if your aerial will receive the SAORVIEW signal:

1. If you currently receive TV3 as an analogue service through your aerial then your aerial is most likely fine and is pointing in the right direction. You should not need to do anything with your aerial.

2. If you currently receive RTÉ One, RTÉ Two and TG4 as an analogue service through your aerial but do not receive TV3 then your aerial is most likely fine but for some homes it may be pointing in the wrong direction.

3. If you receive only RTÉ One and RTÉ Two as an analogue service through your aerial and do not receive TV3 and TG4 then you may need a new UHF aerial pointed at the best transmission site for your area.