1. Analogue to Digital Changeover (DSO, ASO)

Virtually every Country is replacing Analogue TV with Digital TV. The commencing of new Digital services (DSO, Digital Switch On) and ceasing of existing Analogue TV (DSO  Digital Switch Over, ASO Analogue Switch Off) is much more rapid than the change from 405 Line to 625 line Analogue in the UK (over 15 years). Some countries (Netherlands and USA) have already turned off the Analogue TV they had since late 1940s/ early 1950s.

There is no such thing as a Digital Aerial or Digital Amplifier. Terrestrial Digital (TV via an aerial) uses the same aerials and amplifiers as 60 year old Analogue TV. The only difference is that in Ireland we used VHF (Big long rods) and UHF(short rods or grid/bowtie) for Analogue TV, but for Digital we will use UHF only. All existing TG4 and TV3 is on UHF using Analogue.

Many masts are already transmitting digital signals and this will be official for over 85% of the country by 31st October 2010. From then till mid 2011 and information campaign will "ramp up". No-one needs to "rush in" to any purchases or decisions. Most people will not need an new aerial. Some time during 2011 the Digital coverage (signals that can be received on an Aerial) will reach at least 95% and be complemented by a Satellite signal via a Dish for those that eventually will have no Aerial signal (2% to 8% of people).

Update last week September. ASO is 24th October 2012

Quote:
Broadcasting Services

1576. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to commission any research on public knowledge about the analogue TV switch off; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

[33192/10]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): My Department has set up a Digital Switchover Steering Group combining those organisations with key responsibilities for the digital terrestrial television rollout and the analogue switch-off processes. The purpose of the Group is to make the timely decisions needed to keep the analogue switch-off process in Ireland on track for completion by October 2012. The Steering Group, which is to report to the Minister, comprises representatives from my Department, RTÉ, RTÉNL, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and ComReg.

I have recently sought tenders for parties to conduct market research into the different TV reception mechanisms used in Irish households and consider that this research can be used to also identify public knowledge of analogue switch off.

Subsidies yet to be decided

There is a Tender out for a survey of TV usage to help in deciding subsidies.

Quote:

Broadcasting Services

1580. Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a voucher or discount for low income persons who have to buy a digital box or new TV set to receive Digital Terrestrial Television.

[33212/10]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): My Department has set up a Digital Switchover Steering Group combining those organisations with key responsibilities for the digital terrestrial television rollout and the analogue switch-off processes. The purpose of the Group is to make the timely decisions needed to keep the analogue switch-off process in Ireland on track for completion by October 2012. The Steering Group currently comprises representatives from my Department, RTÉ, RTÉNL, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and ComReg.

No decision has been made on the availability of a subsidy fund for digital receivers. This matter may need to be considered by the Government as the date for analogue switch off in 2012 approaches. In this regard the work of the Steering Group will help inform any such consideration.

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