Ireland’s digital TV switchover will happen on 24 October 2012

14 Oct 2011

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte has revealed that 24 October 2012 will be the official date for Ireland’s digital TV switchover – the date when analogue TV will be switched off.

As part of the campaign to inform the public, veteran broadcaster Gay Byrne will be the face of the Government’s campaign.

Anyone who currently relies on an aerial to watch TV – about 250,000 households across Ireland – will need to take action before 24 October 2012 to retain access to TV services.

TV viewers have a number of options, they can switch to the new national digital TV network Saorview launched nationally by RTẾ in May, or they can choose to move to a pay-TV service, such as Sky or UPC, or broadband services like Magnet’s

Plans to switchover work in concert with NI switchover

Both Saorview and the analogue networks will operate in parallel 24 October next year. The analogue TV network will also be turned off in Northern Ireland on 24 October 2012, Digital UK announced today, in order to make the transition to digital as straightforward as possible for TV viewers and broadcasters.

“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,” Rabbitte said.

“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,” Rabbitte added.

Rabbitte said it is Important that we help people, particularly the 23pc 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,” Rabbitte said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years