Reception of free Irish TV via an aerial

  • Technical Launch 29th October 2010
  • Full launch Spring 2011 (Satellite in Autumn 2011)
  • Analogue Close down October 2012 to December 2012

Saor is the Gaelic for Free. Existing analogue TV (TV via an aerial) is free. You pay a TV licence simply for having a Receiving Apparatus. Saorview is the name for the new all digital service that will replace the existing Analogue TV. It’s not a competitor to Sky, Magnet or UPC. Simply a replacement.

Eventually there will be a Film Channel (financed by Irish Film Board)  and Oireachtas channel (Financed by the Government). In time the existing four channels will be in HD (High Definition) which is needed for TVs over 48″ in size as regular TV on larger screen in an average room starts to look blurry (analogue) or blocky (Digital). HD will be initially part time on RTE2 with more HD in 2011 to 2012.


On the 29th of October 2010, SAORVIEW will be turned on as a trial service. From that date, RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, TV3, TG4 and RTÉ News Now will be broadcast as trial digital services. More channels, services and enhancements will follow as part of the full launch of the SAORVIEW service in spring 2011.

Saorview is simply the branding for Irish Free Digital TV via an aerial which replaces the existing Analogue TV closing in October 2012


  • Most UK origin Digital TVs and setboxes, especially branded “Freeview” will NOT work.
    (“Freeview HD” will work, but not HD Ready or Full HD with “Freeview”)
  • No CAM or module will convert TVs or Set-boxes, only a proper Set-box “converts” a TV.
  • Digital TVs that don’t work due to lack of MPEG4 can only be used with separate Set-box, not converted or upgraded.
  • Even if you have no HDTV you need a set-box that does HD for Saorview (it will downconvert to SCART).
  • You can add DVB-T tuner to PC or Laptop, but viewing quality may be poorer than a 10 year old TV with a new Set-Box

Freeview HD” equipment (TVs and setbox using DVB-T2) may work. These should not be confused with “FreeviewHD Ready or HDTVs which may not work.

Differences initially compared with existing (analogue) TV:

  • One week program guide with summary of content on each program
  • Automatic tuning of all stations.
  • Real Widescreen (technically possible on Analogue, but would mess up non-WS TVs). If your TV is not WS (old squarer 4:3 shape) then the setbox can either chop of sides to fill screen or letterbox with black bands top & bottom.
  • Better picture for most people
  • Better coverage
  • All the RTE digital Radio and some new TV channels.
  • Part time RTE2 in HD if you have HDTV. Even with a regular TV the Setbox converts HD to higher quality regular TV via SCART connector
  • Receive via basic HD Setbox, HD setbox with built in recording or newer TVs already work direct on aerial without a Setbox.
  • Recording Setbox allows setting programs to record via the on screen guide and gives 100% perfect same as live playback. Will record one channel while you watch a different one by having dual tuners internally and a Computer’s Hard Disk Drive hidden internally.
  • Suitable Setboxes (for older TVs) and TV sets that don’t need a box will have a Saorview logo
  • Built in EPG (electronic Program Guide)

An onscreen EPG (Electronic Program Guide)

Like Existing TV, Saorview is received with an aerial


Typical outdoor aerial (may also be used indoors in Attic/Loft)

RTE NL Saorview Coverage Checker (Link)

Techtir clickable version of RTE Brochure Maps showing roof Top Aerial coverage.

Specification of Saorview Setbox or TV (More here)

  • DVB-T (uses aerial). DVB-T2 will work, though the spec has VHF Band III, it might not be used.
  • HD on and regular reception, with SCART (regular TV or downsampled HD) and HDMI for connecting to HDTVs.
  • MPEG4 H.264 AVC video and AAC audio (MPEG2 won’t work. even non-HD channels need MPEG4)
  • MHEG5 middleware (Enhanced program guide, text/image pages, menus, hidden video, even games)
  • Recording is optional
  • Component is optional and should not give HD
  • See “Notice to Retailers” on Government Site

Current SAORVIEW approved receivers (29th October 2010):
Walker Technology Products Ltd
Walker WP10DTP & WP11DTP set top box receivers
Walker WPxx (19”-46”) MP4 range of iDTV sets.

Check RTE NL site here for updates (link) (Bottom of page)dtt.htm" target="_blank">

A French TNT HD or UK Freeview HD (the HD is needed even if you don’t have an HDTV) may not support all features, a Saorview logo is what you need, but those will at least receive a picture and sound.

Actual Time Events

  • Announcement on 29th October 2010 Saorview limited service started. More than 90% population coverage .
  • TV3 added 3rd November 2010
  • TV3’s 3e added on 17th Nov 2010

Speculation on possible time scale

  • After November 2011 (could be as late April/May 2011): Occasional RTE2 in
    HD, Start of Children’s TV & RTE News Now separate channel officially. [Saorview Technical Launch was on 29th October 2010, with items on Web Sites, papers and RTE TV News]
  • Limited Public Information campaign from 1st November 2010
  • November / December 2010: Some saorview certified TVs and setboxes in Shops.
  • Major publicity from Janu ary/February 2011
  • Sometime late December 2010: Ka-Sat @ 9E launch via Proton
  • April/May: Saorsat tests commence
  • April/May:  much variety of Saorview TVs & Setboxes
  • The Public Launch date is may be May 2011  2nd Multiplex Live,  Saorsat service is live, 100% copy of Saorview. Service Public Launch with 97.2% population coverage?
  • Full publicity about Analogue Switch off date after Public Launch.
  • Q3 2011: Saorsat/Freesat system installs with Dual feed and HD DVB-S2 sat box with MHEG5
  • Q4 2011: many or all existing areas have 2nd Mux. RTE2 HD full time?
  • Mid 2012 to late 2013: RTE1, RTE2, TV4 go HD.  TV3e now  on Saorview ?
  • Mid to late 2012: All 51 sites live. 98% population coverage Terrestrially.
  • Late 2012 (no earlier than October 2012): Phased Analogue Switch off starts with Three Rock, Clermont Cairn, Woodcock Hill, Carn Hill, HolyHill and perhaps Truskmore, and any Analogue Transposers fed from those.
  • End 2012/Start 2013  N.I. Analogue  closes and N.I. gets Freeview HD launch.
  • At latest January / February 2013: Remainder of Analogue closes. Last are Maghera, Mullaghanish, Kippure and Mt. Leinster.
  • Late 2013 TV3 goes HD

Indoor / Loft Aerials

These are only suitable if you can see the transmitter mast from the room the aerial is in.

indoor indoor3

Typical Indoor aerials suitable for UHF Analogue or Saorview (Digital Television)

May also be used in loft/attic via extension cable and optional amplifier

(Leftmost model need holder cut to swivel to vertical. A two rod reflector version does swivel fully. Right-most model is wide band).