Magnet adds Saorview channels to free web TV lineup

27 May 2011

ISP Magnet is adding the various Saorview digital free-to-air channels RTÉ News Now, RTÉ Jr and RTÉ+1 to its existing Magnet Web TV lineup, possibly removing the need for web-connected PC and iOS users having to invest in a €100 set top box.

The ISP recently launched its Magnet Web TV service to iOS devices, allowing users to watch RTÉ1, RTÉ2, TV3, 3e, TG4, Daily TV, Seanad TV and Russian TV on their iPhone or iPad devices, as well as their PCs.

All the channels on the newly launched Saorview service from RTÉ will be available online.

Ireland’s new free-to-air digital TV service was launched yesterday at RTÉ’s headquarters in Dublin by Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

TV viewers in Ireland will have to switch to Saorview by the end of 2012, because the old analogue television signal will be turned off across the European Union.

Saorview will require a set-top box connected to a householder’s aerial and television, or integrated digital TV with a built-in receiver to decode the digital signal that comes through an aerial.

The set-top box costs around €100, but that price may decrease as more approved set-top boxes become available, Saorview has said.

Putting ‘free’ in free-to-air?

Magnet CEO Mark Kellett said he believes the free service will be very attractive to those forced to make the switch to Saorview to continue availing of a free-to-air service, estimated to be about 340,000 people (21pc of TV owners).

“This is a free service, full stop. No set-top box is required, no subscription fee or ongoing costs apply and you don’t even need to be a Magnet customer,” Kellett said.

While the service offers 11 channels for free to everyone, Magnet broadband subscribers can view 24 channels, including BBC’s full range of channels, MTV, VH1 and kids channels Nickelodeon, Nick Toons and Nick Junior for a monthly fee of €4.99.

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