2. Saorview


Technical Launch 29th October 2010<

Full launch Spring 2011 Analogue Close down October 2012

Update 17th November 2010  * NEW *
viewer orientated non-technical explanation of Irish Digital TV, Saorview and Saorsat at SaorTV.Info<

Update 29th October 2010 

Saorview web site live< (click on logo). 

RTE Saorview sub site<

RTE NL updated (click) <

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")
  • The Neotion "CAMs" such as Pocket Duo or NP4 will not convert TVs or Set-boxes
  • Digital TVs that don't work due to lack of MPEG4 can only be used with separate Set-box, not converted or upgraded.
  • The Sagem Picnic MPEG4 set-box will stop working. These don't do HD. 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 "Freeview" HD Ready or HDTVs which will not work. Example of possible UK DTT PVR (not Saorview approved) El Reg review dvr humax hdr fox t2<

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<

Like Existing TV, Saorview is received with an aerial

Content since 3rd November 2010


RTÉ Two (HD part time, typically on Sport )
RTÉ News Now

(all existing RTE radio from VHF-FM, LW 252 and DAB)

RTÉ Radio 1
RTÉ Radio 1 Extra
RTÉ Lyric FM
RTÉ Choice
RTÉ Gold
RTÉ Junior/RTÉ Chill
RTÉ Pulse/RTÉ 2xm

Proposed content

2011 to Early 2012 additionally when the 2nd Multiplex is running:

Children / RTÉ 1 +1 / Euronews (time share)
3e (currently Cable & Satellite Pay TV only) (Since December 2010)
RTÉ Digital Teletext

RTÉ One: Change to HD only
RTÉ Two: Change to HD only 
TV3 Change to HD 2012 to 2013 sometime.
TG4 Change to HD

When financed

Oireachtas TV

Film Channel (HD?)

Perhaps National commercial Radio

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 and regular reception, with SCART (regular TV or downsampled HD) and HDMI for connecting to TVs.
  • MPEG4 H.264 video and AAC audio
  • 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)

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.

Reception on a PC or Laptop.

You need a suitable Digital Tuner and MPEG4 codec installed. Not all PCs/Laptops and few Netbooks/tablets are suitable. For Apple Mac you need an Elgato USB stick< and the Elgato software.

For Windows and Linux read the Mpeg4ireland site<.

In all cases the supplied aerial only works where the signal is very good. The same aerial as Set-box or TV would need in your location is needed. In almost all cases the picture quality will be poorer for SD than a Set-box on a 10year old CRT and poorer than HD on any decent TV set (integrated digital tuner or setbox via HDMI).

Speculation on possible time scale

  • Announcement on 1st November 2010 that yesterday Saorview limited
    service started. 94.5% population coverage.
  • After November 2011 (could be as late April): Occasional RTE2 in
    HD, Start of DenTV & 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 set-boxes
    in Shops.
  • Major publicity from January/February March 2011
  • An announcement of actual Public launch date in January or February
    2011 (May 2011)
  • Sometime November 2010 to January 2011: Ka-Sat @ 9E launch via
    Proton (End December 2010)
  • February/ March May/June: Saorsat tests commence
  • April/May:  much variety of Saorview TVs & Setboxes
  • The Public Launch date is April 2011 at earliest, December 2011 at
    latest, Maybe May or June.
  • May/June 2011?  Saorsat service is live, 100% copy of Saorview.
    Service Public Launch with 97.2% population coverage. Will TV3 be on it?
  • 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
  • Early to Mid 2012: RTE1, RTE2, TV4 go HD. TV3 and TV3e now
    definitely on Saorview
  • Mid to late 2012: All 51 sites live. 98% population coverage
  • Late 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.
  • Confirmed: Sometime end 2012 is target for Analogue Switch off.
  • End 2012/Start 2013  N.I. Analogue  closes and N.I. gets Freeview
    HD launch.
  • January / February 2013: Remainder of Analogue closes. Last are
    Maghera, Mullaghanish, Kippure and Mt. Leinster.
  • March 2013 TV3 goes HD
  • April 2013 BAI abandons search for a Commercial Multiplex Operator
    and authorises RTENL to sell space to PayTV channels (as transmission
    provider like Arqiva, not PayTV operator).
  • May 2013 Kerry TV launches?

DTT Transmitters

There are over 150 Analogue sites at present. There are 51 Digital sites (link to List)<.

RTE Coverage Checker<


Techtír Maps for Saorview Coverage<

Aerials for Saorview

Typical outdoor aerial (may also be used indoors)

Use these for outdoors or better Attic aerial http://www.blake-uk.com/page/aerial_range/aerial_sr<


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

indoor indoor3

Only usable if you can see the Mast out the window

(Leftmost model need holder cut to swivel to vertical. Right-most model is wide


Logo confirmed 29th October 2010


Originally seen saorview-official-s
Also used soarview-logo3