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30th April 2012 - an end of an era...

The early hours of this coming 30th April will mark the closure of a chapter in European broadcasting, but few in Ireland will realise it and indeed you wouldn't blame them for not noticing. It'll be the final shut down of all current analogue television at 19.2 degrees east, the home of the original Astra satellite fleet.

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Getting Saorview in Northern Ireland

This article has been updated on February 2012 to update certain information and to remove stuff that is no longer relevant.

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RTÉ in Northern Ireland - as it stands, as it should progress and for the future

Anyone buying a copy of the Belfast-based Irish News this morning will see the headline on the front page “RTE digital coming north”, with the article below it featuring the grins of Joe Brolly and Ryan Turbity. Two further pages inside the paper gives more to this story, though half of it contains a picture of a 10-element contract aerial.

The main event behind the story is that the Irish News has “learned” that RTÉ1, RTÉ2 and TG4 will be available on the Freeview platform in Northern Ireland by the time the digital switch over occurs here, though some rights to programming (e.g. sports) will be blocked the same way as viewers to those channels on Sky or Virgin are being done so right now. It says an announcement is expected to be made soon which will also include the BBC being given “greater” access in the Republic too.

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Northern Irish DSO - a calm look before the storm comes!

While in the Republic there is some progress, albeit a bit muddy, on the horizon regarding Saorview and (hopefully) Saorsat, in the North the digital terrestrial future has a much more steady path. While exact dates have yet to be confirmed the second half of 2012 should see, bar any hiccups (which could be the case in either N.I., the Republic or even in Britain, as the London switch off is roughly scheduled to be around the time of the 2012 Olympics which could cause some headaches) the switch over take place when analogue & low-power digital signals will be shut down and replaced with higher power digital signals.