The Switchover to Digital TV

Since October 2012, all television transmitters in the UK and Ireland have been switched over to digital, so you will need digital equipment to watch it.

What’s the difference between digital and the old analogue system?
Because the digital signal is compressed, it takes up much less space in the air waves than the analogue system. This makes it possible to give a wider choice of Tv programs, allows the addition of HD channels, program information guide, radio networks and other services into the same amount of space.

Digital also gives better quality pictures and sound, with much less interference. TV pictures are clearer, with no ‘ghosting’, and radio sound has no crackling or hissing.

For a one-off payment and no subscription, you can get the free digital channels through an aerial or via a satellite dish.

Free satellite (Freesat)
What you get is around 60+ free TV channels, some of which are broadcast in high definition (HD), plus interactive features via the red button and up to 20 radio stations – all received via a satellite dish.

What you need is a Freesat digital box or a Freesat HD Digital Box and a fully installed satellite dish.

Digital terrestrial television (DTT) (Freeview)
What you get at present is, 50+ free TV channels,including BBC1 HD, BBC2 HD, UTV HD , CH4 HD, RTE 1,RTE 2 & TG4 from Divis mountain( DVB -T2 capability required ) plus interactive features via the red button and more than 20 radio stations – all transmitted to your normal TV aerial.

What you need is either a set-top box which you simply connect to your existing TV by plugging in a lead or a TV set with a Freeview receiver built in or a Freeview digital TV recorder. You pay only for the equipment, you don’t need a subscription.

You may need to pay to upgrade your rooftop TV aerial. An indoor aerial on top of your TV is not likely to be sufficient.

Digital TV in Northern Ireland
Digital switchover has now been completed, three transmitters have been converted to digital, Divis , Brougher Mountain, and Limavady. A Freeview set top box, Freesat set top box, a digital ready tv, or subscription to other services such as Sky,Virgin media or BT vision are now required to obtain broadcasted services.
If you have any existing older recording equiptment such as a video or dvd recorder, these will not be able to pick up digital channels but will still be able to playback from existing tapes or discs.

A digital tv recorder can be purchased ,which will allow you to watch and record digital tv programs.

RTE1, RTE2 and TG4 have been added to the digital line up from Divis /Black mountain transmitters ,but are only be available on Freeview HD DVB-T2 equiptment, not on existing DVB-T freeview equiptment.

If you live in an area that can receive signals from Irish transmitters , purchase of a Saorview approved set top box or TV, will allow you to receive Irish digital services,including RTE 1 HD, RTE 2 HD

Irish analogue services have now been switched off.