Irish TV channels from RTE and TG4 will be available on Freeview HD across Northern Ireland after the region’s Digital Switchover in October.
The Irish broadcasters have joined forces to install equipment to transmit RTE One, RTE Two and Gaelic channel TG4 in the same format as Freeview HD.
Both southern and Northern Ireland’s analogue TV will be switched off on October 24, 2012, and replaced by Freeview (Saorview in Ireland), but many people also watch RTE and TG4 because their analogue signals ‘overspill’ from Ireland.
The Irish Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, said: “This announcement means that from analogue switch-off on 24 October, over 90 per cent of viewers in Northern Ireland will be able to receive TG4 and the two primary RTÉ channels in digital on the Freeview service or by way of the overspill from the Saorview service.
“It is a hugely positive result in terms of practical cooperation resulting from the Good Friday Agreement.”
The extra channels will sit alongside Freeview and will use the same broadcasting technology as Freeview HD – MPEG-4 and DVB-T2 – so they will appear on Freeview HD receivers and TVs.
Ireland is also using MPEG-4 and DVB-T2 to transmit both standard and high definition channels, but viewers in Northern Ireland will only get the standard definition versions of the Irish channels.
Alternatively, they can import a Saorsat system and receive RTÉ One, RTÉ Two HD, RTÉ News Now, RTÉjr, and RTÉ One+1 through a satellite dish.