Magnet brings free TV channels to iOS devices

31 Mar 2011

The main Irish TV channels RTÉ1, Network 2, TV3, TG4 and 3e can now be watched for free on iPhone and iPad devices, Magnet has claimed, adding that its free, streaming TV channel is playable on 99pc of mobile phones.

Following the launch of Magnet WebTV in January – a service that offers live TV streaming of seven channels for free, with Twitter and Facebook feeds integrated for live social media commentary, Magnet intends to see the service grow as a mobile phenomenon.

Available at online, the web-based service was previously only available on PCs, Macs and mobile phones or tablets that supported Adobe Flash Player. Today’s announcement means it can now play on 99pc of all handheld, media and personal communications devices, including those that don’t support Adobe Flash Player.

Users just register on the site for free. Five Irish free-to-air channels – RTÉ1, Network 2, TV3, TG4 and 3e – can currently be watched online for free by anyone in Ireland, as well as live feeds from the Irish Parliament (Dail and Seanad) and Russian TV.

For €4.99 a month, users can upgrade from the free service to one offering 21 channels, including BBC’s full range of channels, MTV, VH1 and kids channels Nickelodeon, Nick Toons and Nick Jnr.

Ireland’s smartphone phenomenon

As of October 2010, there were 600,000 smartphone users in Ireland with 1.1m expected by the end of spring together with more than 180,000 iPad owners.

About 700,000 people already access the web on their mobile phones in a country that has a 114pc mobile penetration rate, amounting to more than 5m mobile subscribers, and rising, at the end of 2010.

“There’s no denying the fact that smartphones and tablet PCs stand poised to redefine the way we consume media in 2011,” Mark Kellett, CEO of Magnet, said.

“As well as a live TV service that can be watched anywhere in Ireland with a reliable broadband connection, we wanted to make Magnet WebTV available to all, regardless of device.

“With the iPad 2 selling out within an hour of launching in Ireland last Friday, and smartphones steadily replacing older phone models, we expect strong interest in the service amongst this user base.

“No other TV service in Ireland can offer immediately accessible live news and entertainment on the move.” 

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