DCMS confirms RTE and TG4 service in Northern Ireland

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) today confirmed that Irish channels RTE1 & 2 plus TG4 will be available to 90% of the Northern Irish population after switchover stage 2 on 24th October 2012.

Viewers will either receive these channels via signal overspill from the Irish Republic's Saorview MPEG4 DTT service, or via a mini multiplex of three Freeview channels broadcast from key transmitter sites within Northern Ireland in the DVB-T2 standard.

In any case, viewers should opt for Freeview HD equipment to receive these and other Freeview channels north of the border, as Freeview HD boxes can receive services in the MPEG4 format used by Saorview and decode digital multiplexes transmitted using the DVB-T2 standard, such as the Freeview HD channels and the RTE/TG4 mini multiplex from within Northern Ireland. Saorview boxes will be able to receive the standard definition Freeview channels, but not services transmitted in DVB-T2. Saorview boxes will put UK services in wrong channel order, and vice versa.

The provision of a 'mini multiplex' carrying Republic of Ireland channels in Northern Ireland has been known about for some time now, and reported upon here. However, matters regarding the provision of the infrastructure for this additional multiplex have now been resolved, with RTE providing for this multiplex, prompting a DCMS press release today. Full coverage information will shortly appear on the Digital UK postcode database.

24th October: Coverage changes and Freeview HD launch
Directional coverage restrictions currently imposed on Saorview services from transmitters near the border due to frequency clashes will be lifted, further improving coverage of Irish TV north of the border. This is an additional measure to raise the number of households able to receive RTE in Northern Ireland to 90%.

And coinciding with the launch of RTE and TG4 services in Northern Ireland on the 24th October, Freeview HD services including UTV HD will launch from all transmitters.
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