Minister Eamon Ryan launches first High-Definition terrestrial broadcast of an Irish sporting event at Leinster GAA Final

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

Minister calls for roll-out of new digital terrestrial services over the next 12 months

Croke Park — Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan T.D., launched the first terrestrial broadcast of an Irish sporting event in High-Definition TV at Croke Park today. The Leinster GAA Football final was chosen as the first broadcast of its kind under the Digital Terrestrial Television Pilot, currently underway.

“This is a very exciting time for broadcasting in Ireland. We have to adapt and take part in the global broadcasting revolution which is coming with new digital transmission services .

I congratulate RTÉ, TV3 and TG4, CEDA and BT in developing and organising this trial. It demonstrates the clear benefits of a digital TV platform over the current analogue terrestrial network. A Digital Terrestrial television service is capable of providing much greater quality, service and additional channels for Irish viewers in the long term.

“I would also encourage RTÉ, the BCI and ComReg to work together to roll-out Digital Terrestrial services over the next 12 months so that the citizens of Ireland can start to benefit from the digital age. The European Commission has proposed 2012 as the date by which switch-off of analogue TV should be completed across Europe. The reality is that Ireland will need a digital transmission system well in advance of this deadline. We want consumers to have a real choice in how they access Irish programmes and we want a new digital platform which can provide new channels and broadcasting services to every home in the country,” concluded Minister Ryan.

High-Definition TV is currently available to a limited degree on satellite but today is the first time a broadcast of HDTV will be performed from a digital terrestrial network in Ireland. From 16th July a reel of High Definition content from RTÉ, TV3 and TG4 will be available on the DTT trial.

The High Definition trial was organised by the three terrestrial broadcasters, RTÉ, TV3 and TG4, as well as BT and CEDA, who worked closely together to develop a range of content that would suitably test the system and demonstrate the improvement in picture quality.

Chair of that group, John Hunt, Director of Operations at RTÉ Television, said: “High Definition is important to broadcasters and it is vital that the terrestrial providers do not get left behind in the development of improved services made available by such technology. We believe the best quality television pictures should be available to all viewers in Ireland and that is why it is so important that this trial is a success. The broadcasters would like to thank all those who have helped get this trial off the ground.”

CEDA, the Electrical Distributors Association provided the High Definition televisions for the live event. In order to see the full impact of a high definition picture, trial participants must have a special set top box connected to their TV and must also have a High Definition TV. This launch marks a significant new departure in Irish terrestrial broadcasting.

More: Dempsey Launches Second Phase of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Pilot; Definition of Technical Terms