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Irish DTT gets connected to new service

Saorview, Ireland's digital terrestrial TV platform is to launch a new connected TV product later this year, powered by a commercial version of Freesat's Freetime EPG.

The new service, Saorview Connect, will combine Ireland's free-to-air terrestrial channels with online content, within a single box.

By connecting a Saorview Connect box to both broadband and a television aerial, users will be able to watch on demand and catch-up content alongside the Irish television channels. The new Saorview Connect set-top boxes will feature an easy-to-use programme guide, including a roll-back television guide providing one-click access to catch-up programming.

The new connected TV service will also contain a range of new features, including content recommendations, programme title search, enhanced recording capabilities, and a new standard Saorview remote control. Together with a forthcoming Saorview mobile application, Saorview Connect users will be able to remote record programmes from wherever they are.

Saorview Connect will be based on Freesat’s cloud-based connected television guide solution, Metaphor. Metaphor is offered to satellite, terrestrial and cable operators and is based on Freesat’s award-winning UK based Freetime service. Freesat will integrate the Metaphor platform, set-top box application and mobile applications with Saorview’s existing linear service to create the Saorview Connect offering. Freesat will provide the solution as a fully managed service.

In essence, viewers will get a hybrid TV service that works and looks similar to Freesat Freetime, but works off Ireland's terrestrial TV network rather than satellite.

A precise launch date hasn't yet been confirmed, but it will reach retailers later this year. The news comes just months after UK terrestrial TV service Freeview unveiled its connected TV service, Freeview Play.

Noel Curran, Director-General of RTÉ, said: 
“Saorview has come a long way since digital switchover just a few years ago: it is now the largest television platform in Ireland. Saorview Connect will offer viewers a richer experience and, by connecting a Saorview Connect box to broadband, viewers will be able to access a wider range of content. We are pleased to be partnering with Freesat, who have successfully run their connected service in the UK for the last three years. We hope to achieve the same success with Saorview Connect.”

Alistair Thom, Managing Director of Freesat said:
“Freesat is extremely pleased to partner with RTÉ and Saorview to deliver their next-generation connected service. Through Metaphor, we have been able to take our experience of operating a successful integrated television service to help other platforms integrate their own broadband services. We are delighted that Irish viewers will be able to enjoy our technology through Saorview Connect.”


  1. I wonder does this mean that people in Ireland will have access to BBC I Player itv, five online content which is currently blocked in Ireland.

    1. No. It is an Irish service, so will have RTÉ Player. ITV will soon own UTV Ireland and it may add UTV Ireland catch up to the platform.
      UK broadcasters will not have the on-demand rights to distribute content in Ireland.

    2. Thanks for clarifying that much appreciated and thank you for a great site. I would just add that UKTV player is available at the moment here.

    3. Hi.
      UKTV does of course offer Irish variants of some of its channels and holds full broadcast rights for the programmes it broadcasts for both countries, so the situation is a little bit different.


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