Simple Switchover Guide

  • If you are buying a new TV, make sure it’s Irish Digital TV compatible, including MHEG5. Ideally Saorview Certified.
  • If you ONLY watch UPC or Sky, you don’t need to do anything.
  • ASO (Analogue Switch Off) is October 2012.
  • If you use a TV via an Aerial, you don’t need to replace it. You can add a Saorview or “Freeview HD” Set-box. If it’s a very old TV with no SCART, check price of new TV.
  • In most cases the existing TV aerial, if UHF, will work. There are no Digital Aerials. Just VHF or UHF.
  • About 92% of the Republic and 30% of N.I. is covered today with 5 TV channels and 10 Radio. More coverage and channels will be added. Full launch is May 2011. That is DSO process (Digital Switch Over).
  • Existing Teletext will end in 2012/2013. The new Interactive text is one service on MHEG5 included on ALL certified or 100% compatible TVs and set-boxes.
  • You need an aerial, ideally outdoor at Chimney height. Saorview is not received via Cable or Sky Dish.

Official Web Site

In the Shop Tests!

  1. View RTE News Now (it’s only on Saorview!)
  2. RTE 2 then Guide (it should not be Temporary Channel)
  3. View Text. It should not look like Teletext. It should have pictures and video


  • Is there any need to get UPC or Sky Subscription? No. Only subscribe to pay TV if you had decided to do that anyway.
  • When Will Analogue Switch Off (ASO) happen? The transmission of Analogue Terrestrial Television (ATT) will cease in October 2012, as mandated by the European Union and Irish Government.  In the lead up to ASO captions will appear on screen on Analogue Terrestrial Television (ATT) transmissions informing ATT viewers of the impending switch-off of the service and the need to switch to an alternative source of TV (i.e. SAORVIEW).
  • Will UK channels be on Irish Digital (Saorview)? No. Use “Freesat HD” via dish and set-box for those. Some TVs can take a Dish connection and aerial.
  • What happens if I cancel Sky? You get MORE free UK channels on the Sky box, (which you own) and you need a TV aerial and Irish Digital TV compatible TV for the Irish Channels. No Irish channels are available on Sky without a subscription.
  • What will my Sky box do if I cancel Sky? Is it a Sky, Sky+ or SkyHD box? (makes some usability differences) On Sky+ and SkyHD the pause, record and playback won’t work.
    All the UK Free Satellite channels  will work:  See List of UK FTA channels Some might need manually added.
    Changing to UK EPG (Program Guide) If it’s not a Sky HD box, unplugging mains and reconnecting without the viewing card adds channels. Or go sky 501 (Sky News), press red, wait for interactive to load, take out card, press backup. press backup for any error messages. Press Guide. You can put the most important Free channels in the 50 Favorites, but not manually added other Channels.
  • What happens if I cancel UPC? UPC own the box and there are no free channels. You need a TV aerial and Irish Digital TV compatible TV for the Irish Channels. You need “Freesat HDset-box and Dish if you want free UK TV.
  • What about RTEjr, RTE2 HD (Saorview channels) on UPC or Sky? UPC and Sky can carry these once RTE have finished any tests. The timescale and costs and wheter carried at all is up to Sky (as they are a Foreign platform). Some channels may be “must carry” for UPC in Ireland, but UPC has to pay all carriage costs.
  • What is on Irish Digital (Saorview)? RTE1, RTE2 (part time HD), TV3, TG4, RTE news now, 3e and 10 radio stations. Childrens TV, Oireachtas and Film channel will be added. Over the next few years RTE1, TG4 and TV3 will change to HD.
  • Do I need an HDTV? No. A new compatible TV will be HDTV, but an existing TV (even old CRT 4:3 set) will show HD channels via SCART cable from a Set-box. The picture is converted, this gives 30% better quality than non-HD signal, though not an HD picture.
  • Do I need a Digital Aerial? No such device exists or ever will. You might need a UHF aerial. If you already have TG4 reception, then your aerial is OK. If you have a very old aerial (rods more than 25cm / 9″ long) then that is VHF. You need a UHF aerial.
  • Do I need Sky or UPC subscription? Not for the Irish Digital (via Aerial) or main UK channels (BBC1..4, CbbC, Cbeebies, BBC News, ITV, CITV, C4, Five, Sky News and 40+ others via Dish). The main reason would be to get Sky Sport. Sky1 is the most popular payTV channel and only gets 2% viewing time.
  • I have Sky or UPC and I am buying a new TV. Does it really need to be Irish Compatible? In theory no, just SCART or HDMI (HDTV) is needed (MPEG2 vs MPEG4 is irrelevent as both these are done in the set-box). But in practice a Compatible TV is little extra cost and a better investment. You might want to cancel Sky or UPC inside the next 5 years. Sky can be cancelled and then you get 45+ decent UK channels free via Sky box and all the Irish channels via Aerial. A UPC cable can be damaged and you then still get channels via aerial. You may decide to use the TV in another room via aerial and get larger or 3D screen for main payTV box. In reality most of the non-compatible TVs are cheap because it’s obsolete stock or a lower specification TV.
  • What is Saorsat? A fill in Satellite service from May/June 2011 for those that can’t receive Saorview via an aerial. You can’t use a Sky dish or Sky set-box. A multifeed dish, or a second dish with a “Freesat HD” set-box that supports Diseqec switching is needed to get Saorsat and Freesat. It needs a special LNB on the dish quite different to Freesat/Sky. Saorsat uses Ka Band frequencies from Ka-Sat @9E. Freesat/Sky use Astra and Eurobird @28E on Ku Band frequencies.
  • Can I get Saorsat in the UK? Probably in N.I. Maybe in most of Wales today. But UK mainland coverage will decrease when Ka-Sat French services are running.
  • Can I tune Saorview  on my Cable TV connection? No. While UPC carries some Irish TV channels, there is no free cable TV, a subscription is required and also Saorview is only via an aerial. UPC may add the extra Saorview channels.
  • Can I tune Saorview or Saorsat on my UPC or Sky PayTV box? No. These services are not carried by Sky or UPC. Initially Saorview and Saorsat may have HD for Irish TV when Sky & UPC don’t and Sky/UPC will not have the new Irish Channels (RTE News Now, DAB /Digital Radio today, shortly Childrens, RTE1+1, Oireachtas and Film Channels. Any channels added by UPC or Sky automatically appear on your program guide.
  • Can I tune Irish TV on my <insert name of box that connects to dish> ? No or maybe. You can’t tune Saorview on a Satellite receiver. Saorview is received via an aerial. When Saorsat starts in May/Jun 2011, some Satellite receivers may work with it, but only with a dual or multifeed dish or a second dish. There are also “Combo” receivers that connect to an Aerial and a Dish feed.
  • Will Freesat or Sat4Free give me Irish TV or Saorview? No.  Saorview is only via an Aerial.
  • What is Sat4Free? It’s an obsolete Irish Market Branding of Freesat, because the Freesat brand can only be marketed in UK. Freesat and Freesat HD are quite legal to use in Ireland.
  • Will I get Teletext? Unlike Analogue TVs, MHEG5 is a mandatory part of Saorview compatible TVs and Set-box. MHEG5 does many things, but one is a new type of Text, similar to BBC Freeview or Freesat Interactive or Sky Interactive text. Existing Teletext can be received on TV3 and TG4 on Saorview, the new system is on the RTE channels. During 2012 to 2013 the remaining traditional Teletext service will close.
  • What about a “Freeview” or “Freeview HD” box or TV? No “Freeviewset-box will work. A few “Freeview” TVs with an Ireland Country setting might work. All “Freeview HD” TVs and Set-boxes will “get” all the Channels. But the Channel Numbers may be in the 800s. Traditional Teletext might not work (ending in 2012/2013), but Interactive Text and features using MHEG5 should work.