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SAORVIEW, the new free to air digital television service, has now been joined by SAORSAT*, a new satellite service provided by RTÉNL. The result is that there is now universal Free-To-Air access across Ireland to public service broadcasting for the first time in the history of the State

In preparation for Ireland’s switch to digital transmission, RTÉNL has fulfilled its requirement to create a digital terrestrial television network which achieves coverage to the same extent achieved by the analogue network.  RTÉNL estimates that 97% of the population can currently access SAORVIEW, the new free-to-air digital terrestrial television service, via this network.  This will rise to greater than 98% after Analogue Switch Off on 24 October 2012.

Due to the topography of Ireland, some areas have always been impossible to reach via a terrestrial network. The development of the new satellite service called SAORSAT will enable RTÉNL to provide television services to the 1% to 2% of households who cannot be served via a terrestrial network, thus providing universal access to public service television services for the first time in the history of television.

The full list of TV channels available on SAORSAT is: RTÉ One, RTÉ Two HD, RTÉ News Now, RTÉjr, RTÉ One+1 and TG4.  The service also includes RTÉ’s main and digital radio services, RTÉ Digital Aertel and an Electronic Programme Guide.

SAORSAT has the added benefit of providing a back up distribution channel for the SAORVIEW service in the event of an emergency or the failure of the digital terrestrial television network.  SAORVIEW remains the primary free-to-air digital television service and RTÉNL recommends that households exhaust all options for getting SAORVIEW before reverting to SAORSAT.

“We are delighted to be able to offer such a high quality television service to every home in the State for the first time ever. The availability of a free to air digital television service to all significantly opens up consumer choice.  Until now digital television, and all its benefits, was only available to those who were willing to pay a subscription to a commercial operator.  Universal access to digital quality television offers all viewers a greatly improved viewing experience. “
Mary Curtis, Director of Digital Switchover

Editors Notes:
* SAORSAT is available on the EUTELSAT KA-SAT 9A. This satellite has a number of individual narrow, or spot, beams of which one is focused on Ireland.

Issued: Thursday 3rd May, 2012.


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