If you are in a location that can receive Saorview and “Freeview”, the only “safe” receivers are “Freeview HD” (not Freeview in a so called “HD Ready” or “Full HD” TV as that can’t receive Saorview at all and will never receive N.I. HD via an aerial). If you are technically minded then  possibly a Saorview set-box or Saorview TV if it has a DVB-T2 tuner, not a DVB-T tuner. The standard Saorview receivers can receive Freeview, but not “Freeview HD”.

An Addon “Freeview HD” setbox for SCART (non-HD TVs) and HDMI connectors (true HDTVs) to allow “Freeview”, “Freeview HD” and Saorview reception is about £70 to £100

Freeview HD Limitations

Pure 100% “Freeview HD” only TVs and  boxes are MHEG5 only and don’t display the teletext on TV3 & TG4. If a “Freeview HD”  (Or Freeview with MHEG4 and HD) TV has an “Ireland” Country setting that works MHEG5, then it should do TV3 and TG4 EBU Teletext (Traditional so called Analogue Text).

Hopefully TV3 and TG4 will add MHEG5 applications and Text soon. There is likely to always more variety and cheaper “Freeview HD” boxes and PVRs than Saorview ones. Also in East coast / border areas receiving NI HD after 2012 and IOM or Welsh HD and regular Freeview now, a “Freeview HD” box or TV is needed. Soarview gear usually can receive basic Freeview in “overspill areas”, but definitely not “Freeview HD” without a DVB-T2 tuner.

RTE will be dropping Teletext to use the new Interactive MHEG5 based text only.

Saorview in N.I.

Many people already can receive Saorview in parts of all six counties. North Antrim has the worst reception.  After 2012 the signal will be much better as Analogue is turned off North and South, and Power in the NI directions is increased. If Ka-Sat launch is successful (end of December 2010), then the Saorsat service will be available on a 40cm to 90cm dish depending on location. See the Saorsat pages.

A Freeview TV or Freeviewsetbox” will not work with Saorview (even if it claims to be HD Ready or Full HD, it won’t work, net ever with N.I. HD either). You might get the Radio channels.  You need either a Saorview or “Freeview HD” certified TV (or add-on Set-Box). A  “Freeview HD” or “Freeview+ HD” TV or Box is recommended, even if you don’t have HDTV, as it will “down-convert” UK HD after 2012 and Irish HD.

For N.I. viewers the only sensible choice is “Freeview HD” certified TV or Set-box (or “Freeview+ HD”) as Analogue is getting turned off, North and South at the end of 2012 and it will receive today’s  Irish Digital TV (Saorview) and UK HD after 2012.

Unlike the UK, there is no “simulcast” of ordinary Digital TV (SD = Standard Definition) and HD, in Ireland the HD pictures will replace ordinary Digital TV (SD), first on RTE2 in the next few months and later on RTE1, TG4 and TV3 in the next five years.

Since ASO, the Clermont Cairn  transmitter is now at full power to N.I. with good reception reported in Newtownards, Belfast and Bangor.

Irish TV on Freeview in N.I. ?

There was some discussion of this. It would have been RTE1, RTE2 and TG4, not TV3. It was dependent on space on the Freeview Multiplexes (in N.I. Only). It was probable that only TG4 would be carried. Since then the Saorsat plan has developed and given lack of space, transmission costs it seems the Freeview plan will be dropped and N.I. viewers expected to either receive Irish Saorview Transmissions or use Saorsat. The final decision was for a “DVB-T2 lite” Multiplex or NIMM at three sites in NI, Black Mountain near Divis, Carnmoney hill in Newtownabbey and Brougher Mountain, but not Limavady. To Carry RTE1, RTE2 and TG4 (no TV3 or 3e) and need a UK “freeview HD” TV or setbox. A regular “Freeview” or “Saorview” receiver won’t work.

NIMM Northern Ireland Minimux

This NIMM (Northern Ireland Minimux) using DVB-T and MPEG4 without HD is now operational from Brougher, Black Mountain and Carnmoney since 24th October 2012. A pre 2013 certified Saorview TV or Box or Freeview doesn’t work. You need a Post 2012 certified Saorview or Freeview HD equipment.

Freeview in NI and Ireland

Northern Ireland has had Freeview (UK Digital Terrestrial) for many years. At the end of 2012 the Analogue TV will be turned off, Main Digital Sites “boosted” in Power and more fill-in sites added.

This will boost coverage in Border Counties such as Donegal, Leitrim. Cavan and Louth. Also some people in Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Meath, Kildare and Dublin will get reception. For most people in Ireland today, Freesat HD is the best solution to get all the  main UK channels freely. A Freesat HD box will work with Saorsat and with a TV that is not an HDTV model.  Read more on the TechTír Freeview page and  TechTír Freesat page.

Also the “ASO” (Analogue Switch off) will allow N.I. to get the Freeview HD service already in parts of the UK since 2009. Freeview HD needs a newer Digital TV or “Freeview HD” setbox (Technically it requires a DVB-T2 tuner and ordinary Freeview only has DVB-T)

BBC NI HD started on Freeview HD and Freesat HD on 24th October 2012.

Reception of Freeview south of the Border is now much greater since ASO.

Schedule of N.I. ASO (now confirmed)

Brougher April 2012 in time for the Olympics

Limavady September. 2012

Divis November 2012

Keep checking at the Official UK Site “Digital UK” UTV region

The UK calls the process DSO (Digital Switch Over)

Currently only the three main Transmitters carry Freeview in N.I. After ASO they will have Freeview HD added and also many of the existing Analogue Relays will be upgraded to Digital. People with no Analogue “Five” will receive it on Digital.

Schedule of  Ireland’s ASO

Dates such as Q4 2012, October 2012 and December 2012 have been mentioned as has synchronization with N.I. DSO process. No firm date has been officially signed. (November 2010), however Official  Saorview publicity since May 2012 claims ASO is October 2012 (likely midnight 31st June 2012).

Freeview HD boxes seem to be MHEG5 only and don’t display the teletext on TV3 & TG4 neither.
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Hopefully TV3 and TG4 will add MHEG5 applications and Text soon. There is likely to always more variety and cheaper “Freeview HD” boxes and PVRs than Saorview ones. Also in East coast / border areas receiving NI HD after 2012 and IOM or Welsh HD and regular Freeview now, a “Freeview HD” box or TV is needed. Soarview gear can receive basic Freeview I think, but definately not “Freeview HD” without a DVB-T2 tuner.