You don’t any longer need to subscribe to MMDS or Cable (old Chorus and NTL, now owned by UPC) or Sky to get all the main UK channels.

Everyone in Ireland can get Freesat, legally and freely and the few “Free to Air” channels on Sky boxes not actually on the Freesat Program guide. You need a 65cm to 80cm dish (depending on location and how many receivers are fed) and a “Freesat HD” receiver, TV, PVR or PC media system. Some people near the Border and South East coast can get N.I. UK Terrestrial Freeview or Welsh UK Terrestrial Freeview. A few can receive the Isle of Man. A Saorview receiver can receive “Freeview” in suitable areas, but not “Freeview HD”.

Even if your TV has no HDMI, is not an HDTV, the “Freeview HD” (Aerials for those in reception range) or the “Freesat HD” receivers are recommended as even on non-HD TV the quality is better.

Freesat and Freesat HD

Freesat (UK free TV via Satellite) is a better solution for most people in Ireland as it covers the entire Island with a good signal. It has more TV and Radio, though a small number of Freeview channels are only available on satellite using a Sky Digibox and subscription. (Sky3, Dave, Five US, Fiver). Freesat HD is recommended even if you don’t have an HDTV.

Currently there is BBC1 HD, BBC HD (mix of BBC2, BBC3 & BBC4), ITV HD and in April C4 HD as important FTA HD channels.

There is no subscription.

List of FTA (Free Satellite) Channels on 28.2E (Sky/Freesat) on Wikipedia

A Sky box, Freesat or Generic FTA (Free To Air) all pick up all the channels listed on FTA 28.2E Wikipedia. The variation is on which channels have to be added manually. The Generic FTA (Free To Air) needs all channels manually added and maintained and has no Interactive like Freesat and Sky have.

Free UK Channels

freesat logoThe main free Satellite channels include BBC1 (all regions) BBC2, (all nations) BBC3, BBC4, Cbbc, Cbeebies, ITV ( (all regions inc UTV and STV), ITV2, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, Citv, S4C, BBC Alba, C4, E4, More4, Film4, Movies4Men, True Movies, Five, Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Russia Today, BBC News, BBC Parliament and about 70 Radio channels. You could now easily add 45 free UK TV channels to a Favorites list out of over 200 free channels.Freesat, Freeview or UK FTA TV does not include Irish TV.
Some channels can be added manually to Freesat receivers that are not automatically listed. None of the channels that require a Sky viewing card or pay TV work.

A Sky box (with or even without a subscription) can receive all the Freesat and FTA channels from 28.2E. Unlike Cable TV, you own the Sky box and can use it for FTA TV along with Saorview (via Aerial) or even UPC pay TV (via cable or MMDS.)

Debate in Oireacthas

Mr. Conor Hayes:
The UK channels are available under an approach called Freesat, which is broadcast by a company owned by the BBC and ITV. They broadcast these channels in the clear over Ireland using a wide-band satellite operating in the KU band. RTE’s satellite option is a narrow-band satellite operating in the Ka band. One cannot get them on the same satellite. In the US, there are hybrid dishes available and householders can receive Ka band and Ku band signals. That is technically feasible and there are some 22 million households in the US using it. The cost of the dish is approximately $65.

Freeview and Freeview HD

Freeview is the brand name for the Free Digital TV channels via an Aerial in the UK (including Northern Ireland).

freeview

There are about 27 TV channels and and the main national FM and DAB stations on Freeview. Basic Freeview Receiver is DVB-T with MPEG2 and is no good for Saorview. A newer Freeview HD receiver will pickup HD in some areas as well as the regular Freeview. A CAM slot (with CAM) or built in CAM for a viewing card is needed for the small number of channels on “Subscription” Top Up TV (includes Sky Sport).

Only people near the Border with N.I. or larger aerials for Analogue N.I. TV or Welsh TV (parts of east coast and south east coast) can receive Freeview or Freeview HD. The HD is on some Welsh Transmitters but not on N.I. till 2012. Analogue has ceased in Wales and in 2012 when it ceases in N.I. the Southern and Donegal Digital coverage (Freeview) will increase.

Saorview items certified after 2013 will be able to receive UK “Freeview HD” in areas that have a signal as the DVB-T2 will become a minimum part of Saorview specification. At the minute it’s optional. Some Saorview TV sets are able to get the UK HD  signal after  October 2012, if they can receive an N.I. or Welsh signal as they are also “Freeview HD” sets.