Saorview
TypeDTT platform operator
IndustryMedia
Founded29 October 2010
HeadquartersDublin, Ireland
Area served
Ireland and Northern Ireland
Key people
Richard Waghorn (Chief Technology Officer, RTÉ)

Jim Higgins (Business Development Manager, Saorview)

<Position Vacant> (Mux Manager)
ServicesDigital terrestrial television
OwnerRaidió Teilifís Éireann
Websitesaorview.ie

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.

Overview

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]

Launch

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 www.goingdigital.ie (now defunct) and saorview.ie.

Saorview on launch carried just one High Definition (HD) channel — RTÉ Two HD, the second HD channel to launched was RTÉ One HD on 16 December 2013, to date they are the only HD channels available on Saorview.

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.

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.[12] 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:[13]

"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.[14]

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.[15] 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."[16]

Main transmitters

Site[17] 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 160 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

Saorview Connect

On 20 January 2016 RTÉ announced that it had partnered with Freesat, the UK free-to-air television company, to develop a new product for Saorview, Ireland's free digital television service and the largest television platform in Ireland.[18] This follows a previously announced intention to develop a new hybrid offering for Saorview[19] The Saorview Connect offering was launched in November 2017. The service allows customers to connect a new type of receiver to their home broadband. The service features advanced functionality including online services, a backwards EPG, access to content recommendations, a newly designed remote control and a mobile app.

Channels

Television

LCN Channel Notes Broadcast Hours Multiplex Resolution
1 RTÉ One Full-time 24 hours 2RN 2 HD (1080i)
2 RTÉ2 Full-time 24 hours 2RN 1 HD (1080i)
3 Virgin Media One Commercial 24 hours 2RN 1 SD (576i)
4 TG4 Irish-language 24 hours 2RN 1 SD (576i)
5 Virgin Media Two Commercial 07:00 - 03.00
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 1 SD (576i)
6 Virgin Media Three Commercial 06:00 - 03:00
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 2 SD (576i)
7 RTÉjr Children's 07:00 - 19:00 2RN 2 SD (576i)
11 RTÉ One +1 Timeshift of RTÉ One 24 hours 2RN 2 SD (576i)
12 RTÉ2 +1 Timeshift of RTÉ2 Mon-Fri: 19:00 - 02:30
Sat-Sun: 12:00 - 02:30
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 2 SD (576i)
21 RTÉ News Rolling news (live content & repeats) 24 hours 2RN 1 SD (576i)
22 Tithe an Oireachtais Oireachtas and European Parliament proceedings Mon-Fri: 09:00 - 00:00
(Times vary slightly)
2RN 1 SD (576i)
23 Sky News Rolling news 24 hours 2RN 2 SD (576i)
29 Saorview Information Saorview platform rolling information 24 hours 2RN 2 SD (576i)
51 2rn Test card 24 hours 2RN 1 SD (576i)

Future Channels

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

Radio

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 1 128 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 1 128 kbit/s
206 RTÉ 2XM 24 hours 2RN 1 128 kbit/s
207 RTÉjr Radio 07:00 - 21:00 2RN 1 128 kbit/s
RTÉ Chill 21:00 - 07:00
208 RTÉ Gold 24 hours 2RN 1 128 kbit/s
210 Radio Maria Ireland 24 hours 2RN 2 96 kbit/s
211 UCB Ireland 24 hours 2RN 2 96 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

References

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  2. ^ "DTT to be launched on 31 October". RTE. 1 June 2010. Archived from the original on 9 November 2020.
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  4. ^ "Saorveiw Officially Launched". IFTN. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
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  17. ^ 2RN. "Saorview frequencies" (PDF). 2RN. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 September 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
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  26. ^ [1][dead link]
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  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.