Terrestrial Irish Digital TV Saorview has arrived

I have been on a long hiatus from this web site due to a number of project and work commitments but I have come out of hibernation to mention that Ireland finally has terrestrial broadcasting of digital channels. Up untll now our reception of RTE1 and RTE 2 was so bad you couldn’t watch a hurling or soccer match on the TV as you could not read the scoreboard. With the advent of the digital broadcasting service we now have crystal clear pictures which meant our loss to south africa in the rugby while disappointing looked good on the TV.

The best part about the digital service was that no extra hardware had to be purchased or installed. Our TV in the sitting room has a built in MPEG4 digital decoder and we have a UHF aerial in the attic (not outside, but inside) for TV3 and TV4.
All I had to do was scan for digital channels and it found the 4 Irish TV channels. 2 High Def test channels and 10 digital radio channels. The TV guide feature is very nice and similar to the EPG service on satellite. The high definition test channels are stunning and slates on a roof never looked so beautiful and clear. The service is under testing and is due to be officially launched in spring 2011.
All in all I am very impressed with digital TV. RTE has more information about Saorview and how to receive it. At the end of 2012 the old analogue transmission will be switched off as mandated by the EU. Every home will need a digital receiver for each TV. RTE 2 has switched to High Definition Lite since Dec 2nd 2010 which means that the cheap SD receivers will no longer display the channel. 
The only option for home owners is to purchase a set top box that supports high definition. Powercity sell the only approved saorview box (as of Nov 2010) which is made by walker for 100 euros including delivery. More boxes are expected to appear on the irish market in early 2011. Hopefully competition will drive down the prices to reasonable levels.

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