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Digital UK publish more information about extra multiplex in Northern Ireland

  updated: 04/07/2012 00:00

Digital UK, the organisation overseeing digital switchover in the UK, has released more details about the forthcoming extra multiplex to be broadcast in Northern Ireland, carrying RTE One, RTE Two and TG4 from the Republic of Ireland.

The release includes confirmation of the multiplex name and organisation running it, details of coverage, plus information on TG4 digital replacement coverage in Belfast. It has also announced that pop up messages will appear on the Digital UK postcode checker to advise consumers of the need to have Freeview HD equipment to receive the three extra standard definition services.

The multiplex will be operated by Multiplex Broadcasting Services N.I. Ltd, a new not-for-profit joint venture between RTE and TG4 and launch on the 24th October 2012. The multiplex's official name is "NImux". The NImux will complement coverage from Saorview, the Irish digital terrestrial service, whose signals will overspill considerably into Northern Ireland from October.

In a statement to aerial installers, Digital UK confirmed that "services [on the NImux] will be broadcast in standard definition using the latest  DVB-T2 broadcast standard with MPEG-4 to maximise signal reach and stability from the three transmitter sites to carry the multiplex. The sites are the Brougher Mountain primary transmitter and two Divis relays, Black Mountain and Carnmoney Hill. 'Freeview HD' branded products support DVB-T2 and will be needed to receive the NImux services." The organisation has also drawn attention to the fact that Irish Saorview DVB-T boxes will not be able to be used to receive NImux channels. 

Ofcom predicts that NImux services will reach 76% of the population in Northern Ireland and that Saorview overspill will reach 56% of Northern Ireland viewers. Ofcom also predicts that the combined NImux and Saorview coverage will reach 93.3% of Northern Ireland viewers.  Ofcom has published a coverage map outlining where reception of RTE and TG4 will be possible from Saorview and where it will be possible via the NImux.

TG4 analogue shutdown and replacement digital coverage in Belfast
All analogue services in Ireland, including TG4 transmitted from Divis transmitter for the Belfast area will cease just after midnight on the 24th October 2012. Digital UK implied in its statement that horizontally polarised aerials currently able to receive the Channel 5 analogue service from neighbouring Black Mountain transmitter will be sufficient to receive the new NImux with TG4 in digital.

It warns however that "A few households to the north-east of Belfast currently getting the TG4 analogue programmes may not be able to receive NImux or Saorview and will need to consider satellite or cable alternatives." It advises users to check the Digital UK postcode database for detailed coverage information of the NImux. The database was updated on the 31st May, as previously reported by a516_digital. 

Coverage predictions for Saorview are not available via Digital UK, households are advised to check or call the Saorview helpline on 0844 8008 752 (if calling from within Northern Ireland).

Pop Up Messages on the Postcode Checker
As part of the publicity campaign for the NImux, Digital UK also released details of special messages that are to appear to consumers checking coverage information on the Digital UK database. The aim of the pop up messages on the website are to publicise and clarify the potentially perceived anomaly of having to have a Freeview HD receiver to receive non-HD channels.

It stated: "Results will also include a pop-up message reminding viewers of  the Freeview HD receiver requirement as per the example below: "From switchover, the Brougher Mountain transmitter will broadcast TG4, RTE1 and RTE2 services in Northern Ireland. The channels will be broadcast in standard definition but Freeview HD equipment will be required to receive them."

Related articles:
Reception details published for Northern Ireland's extra Irish TV services (31/05/2012)
Switchover campaign reaches Northern Ireland (15/04/2012)

Full Digital UK document:

OFCOM coverage map (03/07/2012):

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