Ireland’s digital switchover takes place – goodbye analogue TV network

24 Oct 2012

Ireland’s digital switchover has taken place, with a digital signal in line with the rest of Europe having replaced the analogue TV network in a move Pat Rabbitte, TD, Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, referred to as “the dawn of the digital broadcasting era” for Ireland.

“Today heralds the dawn of the digital broadcasting era for this country and the release of an important digital dividend which will boost competitiveness,” Rabbitte said.

RTÉ news presenter Miriam O’Callaghan performed the switchover at RTÉ headquarters in Dublin at 10am today, live on air.

“This is an historic event, a new and exciting advance for broadcasting in Ireland,” said Rabbitte.

“Public-service broadcasting remains vital to the social, political and cultural life of the nation. What we are doing here today ensures people will continue to have access to free-to-air television (known as Saorview), providing a full range of services, with a strong national voice.”

The closure of the analogue TV network frees up space for mobile broadband services.

“This digital dividend presents real opportunities for new broadcasting and telecommunications services to our people,” said Rabbitte.

Some 80,000 and 100,000 homes in Ireland are expected to have lost their TV signal when the analogue signal was switched off.

An additional 300,000 secondary TVs in homes were also predicted to lose their signal and retailers have warned that a shortage of Saorview-approved set top boxes could leave people, especially the elderly, without TV for up to two weeks or more.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic