Ireland to complete switch to digital TV on 24th October, 2012

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Gay Byrne confirmed as face of campaign

DUBLIN — Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D. today announced Wednesday 24th October, 2012 as the official date of completion of the digital TV switchover, when the analogue TV network in Ireland will be switched off.

SAORVIEW – Ireland’s new national digital TV network, launched nationally by RTẾ in May this year – will replace the analogue TV network when it is switched off just over one year from now. Both networks will operate in parallel until then. The analogue TV network will also be turned off in Northern Ireland on 24th October 2012, Digital UK announced today, in order to make the transition to digital as straightforward as possible for TV viewers and broadcasters.

Minister Rabbitte said, “The availability of digital television and the switching off of the analogue TV network in a year’s time is a very positive thing for Ireland and will offer TV viewers a number of additional benefits, such as clearer picture and sound quality, more TV channels, radio channels, information services and high definition TV. Importantly, digital TV also uses less space in the broadcast spectrum band which means that Ireland will join many other countries throughout Europe and the rest of the world in freeing up space for other purposes, such as the provision of mobile or broadband services.”

Anyone who currently relies on an aerial to watch TV – approximately 250,000 households across Ireland – will need to take action before 24th October 2012 to retain access to TV services. TV viewers have a number of options available to them. They can connect to the SAORVIEW service which is a one-off cost and, like the old TV network, has no subscription fee or recurring charges. In most cases the purchase of a set-top box will enable connection to SAORVIEW.

Alternatively, TV viewers can choose to move to a pay-TV service, such as Sky, UPC or a cable or broadband service provider. Those subscribing to a pay TV service will not be affected by the switching off of the analogue TV network.

The Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources is providing guidance to the public though a new website,, a LoCall helpline 1890 940 980 and the distribution of 100,000 free information booklets which will be available in post offices and Citizen Information Centres throughout the country from next week.

Minister Rabbitte said, “It is Important that we help people, particularly the 23% of people still unaware of the Digital TV Switchover, to understand what it is, its many benefits, when it is happening and where they can go for guidance. Our campaign will focus, in particular, on ensuring that the 250,000 households across the country who are reliant on the analogue TV service get the message. We are confident that our communications campaign will help us do this. We will also be engaging with community groups, voluntary organisations and charities throughout the country.”

The Minister was joined at the launch by iconic broadcaster, Gay Byrne who will feature in the Department’s innovative advertising campaign for the Digital Switchover which will debut on Irish TV screens this evening. Gay will play a key role in helping The Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources to communicate the message that the analogue TV signal will be switched off on 24th October 2012 and that people have many places to go for guidance and inform themselves on what they need to do.

Minister Rabbitte said, “We are delighted to have Gay Byrne involved in our communications campaign and we could not have chosen a more appropriate personality to support our campaign. Gay is synonymous with the development of Irish TV over the years and is arguably the most recognisable face and voice in the country. It is important that people feel reassured that the transition to digital TV is not a complicated one and represents the next advancement in the evolution of TV in Ireland and throughout the world and Gay’s involvement will help bring people along with us”.