Company typeDTT platform operator
Founded29 October 2010; 13 years ago (29 October 2010)
HeadquartersDublin, Ireland
Area served
Ireland and Northern Ireland
ServicesDigital terrestrial television
OwnerRaidió Teilifís Éireann

Saorview (/ˈsɛərvj/ SAIR-vyoo) is the national digital terrestrial television (DTT) service in Ireland. It is owned by RTÉ and operated by 2RN.[1]

The service began operation on 29 October 2010 on a trial basis with a full launch on 26 May 2011.[2] By legislation it was required to be available to approximately 90% of the population by end of October 2010 in a public testing capacity and nationwide by December 2011. The national public launch was preceded by a public information campaign, which began on 15 March 2011, with television and radio advertising beginning on 17 March 2011.[3]

Saorview was officially launched on 26 May 2011 by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte[4][5] and the service became the primary source of broadcast television in Ireland following the ending of analogue transmissions on 24 October 2012.


Saorview is Ireland's national DTT service. The Irish word Saor [sˠiːɾˠ] means "free", thereby meaning Freeview, paralleling the DTT service of the United Kingdom, through a mix of the English and Irish languages.

Saorview is available from 64 DTT transmitters covering 98% of the population as of the end of Q3 2012. The previous analogue terrestrial television (ATT) network was available to 98% of the population from 150 ATT transmitters, however TV3 and TG4 were not available on all transmitters.[6][7]

The service is a DVB-T/MPEG-4 HD broadcast that is received via set-top box (STB) receiver or iDTV and a UHF aerial is required. MHEG-5 is the middleware standard for digital teletext. Programme information is displayed through the receiver's own inbuilt EPG. Either DVB or Teletext subtitling can be displayed when broadcast.

Mary Curtis became Director of Digital Switchover (DSO) in September 2010 and reported to the Director General. She oversaw the transition from Analogue to Digital TV broadcast, which was completed in October 2012.[8]


The service was launched in 2011 with the ASO campaign phase beginning Dec 2011. Two campaigns were launched. The first campaign was marketing Saorview and was paid for by RTÉ, this cost RTÉ over €3million, meanwhile, a second campaign featuring Gay Byrne was also launched by the Department of Communications, it also cost in the region of €3million. Both campaigns used social media such as Facebook and Twitter alongside their own websites (now defunct) and

Saorview on launch carried just one High Definition (HD) channel — RTÉ Two HD, the second HD channel to launch was RTÉ One HD on 16 December 2013. TG4 HD joined the platform on 1 December 2022.

UTV Ireland joined Saorview for its launch on 1 January 2015. This channel was later renamed Virgin Media Three.

July 2016 saw Irish TV announce that it was to join the Saorview platform,[9] however this did not happen and Irish TV closed down.

On November 30, 2021, Sky News joined Saorview on Channel 23.[10][11] In December 2021, UCB Ireland radio station joined Saorview.

The most recent channel to launch on the platform is Virgin Media Four, which began broadcasting on 24 August 2022.[12] The Sky-owned Challenge began broadcasting on Saorview on 1 February 2023, on channel 8.[13]

Saorview Multiplexes

RTÉ operates two DVB-T PSB multiplexes for transmission of Saorview television and radio channels. Both multiplexes are free-to-air and feature MPEG-4 encoding.

Initially, only one multiplex was available on the service, the second public service Mux was launched with the introduction of RTÉ One in upscaled HD on 21 October 2013.

Commercial Multiplexes

A further four multiplexes are available for commercial pay DTT.

2RN has the capacity to provide commercial DTT capacity on its network for pay TV services that can agree terms with it and the BAI.[14] However the option to launch commercial muxes was not pursued in the aftermath of the 2008 licence process. The BAI said at the time:

"the Authority now considers that it will not be feasible to introduce commercial DTT as originally intended until after Analogue Switch Off (ASO) at the earliest. The position will be reviewed towards the end of 2011 and the Authority may seek expressions of interest in the provision of commercial DTT at that point. A competition could potentially be held during 2012 with a view to commercial DTT being operational in 2013".

It continued:[15]

"it is the considered view of the Authority that as part of the preparation for the successful launch of commercial DTT in the future, legislative change will be necessary to enable the Authority to have formal relationships with the applicants, as obtains at present, and with RTÉNL".

To date, the BAI have not announced any plans for a competition for a commercial DTT service. In August 2013, the BAI confirmed that it would launch another attempt of finding a service provider for the commercial DTT service.[16]

This was to allow the PSB side to proceed with an ASO transition to DSO, a stabilized economic backdrop by that time (3 years time) to emerge and changes in the Broadcasting Act 2009 to allow it have statutory mediation powers in dealing with RTÉNL (now 2RN) that it currently has with the broadcasters and interested parties but not with 2RN. 2RN is currently regulated by ComReg.

In August 2013 a report into Commercial DTT by Oliver & Ohlbaum was given to the BAI, the report outlined the main problems associated with DTT in Ireland including the lack of free-to-air services on Saorview. Based on this report the BAI have decided not to proceed with a licence competition for pay-DTT. The report was published on the BAI website in January 2014.[17] On its publication Bob Collins, Chairperson of the BAI said "The contents of the report raise a number of policy implications for consideration by Government and also for the BAI, having regard to its statutory obligations and its enduring objectives in respect of diversity and plurality. In submitting copies of the review to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, the BAI would now welcome the opportunity to discuss the findings of the report and the policy implications arising at an early date."[18]

Main transmitters

Site[19] Mux 1 Mux 2 Pol ERP Approximate area served
Cairn Hill, County Longford 47 44 H 160 kW North Midlands
Clermont Carn, County Louth 42 45 V 160 kW North East / Belfast
Holywell Hill, County Donegal 22 25 H 20 kW North East Donegal / Derry
Kippure, County Wicklow 34 35 H 125 kW East
Maghera, County Clare 48 46 H 160 kW West
Mount Leinster, County Carlow, County Wexford 23 26 H 160 kW South East
Mullaghanish, County Cork, County Kerry 21 24 H 200 kW South West
Spur Hill, County Cork 45 39 H 50 kW Cork City and environs
Three Rock, County Dublin 30 33 H 125 kW Dublin City and environs
Truskmore, County Sligo 42 45 H 160 kW North West
Woodcock Hill, County Clare 47 44 H 10 kW Limerick City and environs



LCN Channel Notes Broadcast Hours Multiplex Resolution
1 RTÉ One Full-time 24 hours 2RN 2 1440x1080i
2 RTÉ2 Full-time 24 hours 2RN 1 1440x1080i
3 Virgin Media One Commercial 24 hours 2RN 1 544x576i
4 TG4 Irish-language 24 hours 2RN 1 1440x1080i
5 Virgin Media Two Commercial 07:00 - 03.00
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 1 544x576i
6 Virgin Media Three Commercial 06:00 - 03:00
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 2 544x576i
7 Virgin Media Four Commercial 06:00 - 03:00
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 2 544x576i
8 Challenge Commercial 07:00 - 06:00 2RN 2 544x576i
11 RTÉ One +1 Timeshift of RTÉ One 24 hours 2RN 2 544x576i
12 RTÉ2 +1 Timeshift of RTÉ2 Mon-Fri: 19:00 - 02:30
Sat-Sun: 12:00 - 02:30
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 2 544x576i
14 TG4 +1 Timeshift of TG4 20:00 - 06:00 2RN 2 544x576i
17 RTÉjr Children's 07:00 - 19:00 2RN 2 544x576i
18 Cúla4 Children's 06:00 - 20:00 2RN 2 544x576i
21 RTÉ News Rolling news (live content & repeats) 24 hours 2RN 1 704x576i
22 Tithe an Oireachtais Oireachtas and European Parliament proceedings Mon-Fri: 09:00 - 00:00
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 1 544x576i
23 Sky News Rolling news 24 hours 2RN 2 704x576i
29 Saorview Information Barker channel 24 hours 2RN 2 544x576i
30 Saorview Information Channel overview 24 hours 2RN 2 Data

There are a large number of hidden channels that are not visible on most receivers[20] which are presumably reserved for future services:


LCN Channel Broadcast Hours Saorview Multiplex Bitrate
200 RTÉ Radio 1 24 hours 2RN 1 128 kbit/s
201 RTÉ Radio 1 Extra 24 hours 2RN 2 128 kbit/s
202 RTÉ 2FM 24 hours 2RN 1 128 kbit/s
203 RTÉ lyric fm 24 hours 2RN 1 160 kbit/s
204 RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta 24 hours 2RN 1 128 kbit/s
205 RTÉ Pulse 24 hours 2RN 2 128 kbit/s
206 RTÉ 2XM 24 hours 2RN 2 128 kbit/s
207 RTÉjr Radio 07:00 - 21:00 2RN 1 128 kbit/s
208 RTÉ Gold 24 hours 2RN 2 128 kbit/s
209 RTÉ Chill 21:00 - 07:00 2RN 2 128 kbit/s
210 Radio Maria Ireland 24 hours 2RN 2 96 kbit/s
211 UCB Ireland 24 hours 2RN 2 128 kbit/s

Analogue switchoff (ASO)

At 10 am on 24 October 2012 all analogue television transmitters in Ireland were switched off and Saorview became the primary source of Irish terrestrial television. The process was televised live on RTÉ One and RTÉ News Now, with the kill-switch being thrown by television personality Miriam O'Callaghan.[21]

Saorsat - Saorview service via satellite

Main article: Saorsat

Following the failure of the commercial DTT process RTÉ submitted a revised DTT plan including an FTA satellite option to the Department of Communications in mid-June 2010 for approval.[22] RTÉ publicly announced at an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications discussion in mid-July 2010 that a satellite service, called Saorsat, would be offered to complement the terrestrial DTT service. Saorsat will enable Irish public service channels to be made available, unencrypted, for the first time, as a means of covering the last 2% of the population who will be unable to receive the Saorview terrestrial service.

RTÉ said the combined offering was designed to be the most cost-effective solution for viewers and broadcasters; to offer for the first time 100% coverage of public service television services in Ireland, and to provide full national backup coverage on satellite in the event of an emergency or catastrophic failure of the DTT system [dubious ].

Approval for the revised National DTT plan and the new Saorsat satellite service was announced by the Minister for Communications at the end of July 2010.[23]

Test loop transmissions were detected from the end of May 2011 and were received on generic DVB-S2 HD set-boxes.[24]

Additional information

See also


  1. ^ "Saorview". RTÉ NL. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  2. ^ "DTT to be launched on 31 October". RTE. 1 June 2010. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020.
  3. ^ "SAORVIEW Launches Public Information Campaign". Saorview. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Saorveiw Officially Launched". IFTN. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Saorview free-to-air digital television launch". RTÉ News. 26 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Minister confirms RTÉ's €70m DTT service". RTÉ News. 30 July 2010. Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  7. ^ "List of Irish DTT Sites". Archived from the original on 12 November 2010. Retrieved 29 October 2010.
  8. ^ "RTÉ Appoints Director of Digital Switchover (DSO)". RTÉ Press Office. 1 July 2010. Archived from the original on 5 July 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
  9. ^ Brennan, Michael; Sexton, Colette (3 July 2016). "Big boost for Mayo-based Irish TV station as Saorview deal extends its reach". Sunday Business Post. Archived from the original on 4 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Sky News to launch on Saorview Platform". Sky Group. 25 November 2021. Archived from the original on 1 December 2021.
  11. ^ "Sky News Expands Reach with Terrestrial in Ireland – All About Digital TV". 30 November 2021. Archived from the original on 2 December 2021.
  12. ^ "Virgin Media Four goes live on Saorview". 24 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Challenge to launch on Saorview". 26 January 2023. Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  14. ^ "Digital TV switch by 2012, says Ryan". Irish Independent. 21 May 2010. Archived from the original on 23 May 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  15. ^ "BAI Statement on Conclusion of Commercial DTT Multiplex Licensing Process". BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland). 5 August 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  16. ^ Clover, Julian (19 August 2013). "BAI revives Irish commercial DTT". Broadband TV News. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  17. ^ "Prospects for commercial digital terrestrial television in the Republic of Ireland" (PDF). BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland). August 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 January 2014.
  18. ^ "BAI Publishes Review of Potential for Commercial DTT in Ireland". 7 January 2014. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  19. ^ 2RN. "Saorview frequencies" (PDF). 2RN. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 September 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2020.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ "DVBT DVBT2 Bitrate Monitoring DTT Ireland Dublin". Archived from the original on 11 April 2022. Retrieved 6 March 2021.
  21. ^ Sheehan, Aideen (24 October 2012). "Analogue TV switched off amid last-minute rush". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  22. ^ McDonald, Brian (28 June 2010). "West the loser as RTÉ cuts digital TV coverage". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 21 August 2010.
  23. ^ Press release [permanent dead link][dead link]
  24. ^ Rennell, Grant (31 May 2011). "Saorsat testing on KA-Sat". What Satellite & Digital TV. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  25. ^ "Minimum Receiver Requirements for Free-to-Air Digital Terrestrial Television for Radio Telefis Éireann" (PDF). RTE. 19 December 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  26. ^ "Legal document" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011.
  27. ^ "Digital Terrestrial Television". Find a Debate – Houses of the Oireachtas. 2 March 2010. Archived from the original on 8 April 2010. Retrieved 9 March 2010.
  28. ^ "RTÉNL Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) FAQs". RTÉ NL. Archived from the original on 11 April 2009.
  29. ^ "BAI Statement on Digital Terrestrial Television ("DTT") Contracts Awards Process". Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. 18 May 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  30. ^ The Irish Times, 18 December 2010, page 5
  31. ^ "Receiving SAORVIEW". Saorview. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010.
  32. ^ "Saorview Approved products". Saorview. Archived from the original on 9 March 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2016.