Exact ASO date confirmed

Michael Watterson's picture

Finally officially confirmed what we knew, ASO (Analogue Switch Off of television) in NI, and Ireland is end of October 2012. The exact date is confirmed as 24th October 2012.

Friday, 14 October 2011

It has been announced the analogue television network in Ireland is to be switched off in just over a year's time.
The new national digital television network, Saorview, replaces the analogue service when it is switched off on 24 October 2012.
If households that currently receive their television signal via an aerial do not switch to digital they will lose Irish television services when the analogue network is switched off.
Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte announced the date, which is the same as Northern Ireland. The Minister said the move to digital is a positive one that will offer viewers clearer picture and better sound quality. He said it would also offer more channels and free up space on the
broadcast spectrum for other purposes including mobile and broadband services.
Around 250,000 households currently rely on analogue to watch TV. An awareness campaign about the switchover is to get under way next week.
For more information about Saorview go to www.saorview.ie, Aertel page 650 or lo call 1890 222 012.

While Analogue Television started in London (UK) in November 1936 with a break for WWII, TV came to N.I. in the 1950s (with first broadcast a temporary  Relay of the Queen Elisabeth's Coronation) and 31st December 1961 in Ireland, effectively 1962 for many. In the UK Digital transmissions began on 15 November 1998, but didn't really kick off until the launch of Freeview on 30 October 2002. In 2007 the campaign to encourage the  switch from analogue to digital was initiated. In Ireland the Digital TV was soft launched in October 2010 with a more public launch in May 2011. The Irish Official AS0 Campaign starts in mid to late October 2011, just one year before ASO. Yet many Irish shops are selling Portable TVs that can never be used portable with Irish Digital TV and also TV sets and DVD Recorders  that will need a set-box adapter (from €50 to €100).

2011 is thus the 75th Anniversary of Analogue TV in UK (though 405 lines turned off in 1985) and 50th Anniversary of Irish Analogue TV.  In 2012 it will be the 90th Anniversary of Irish Radio Broadcasting, though transmissions to the Public in AM commenced in 1921. This year is the 90th Anniversary of BBC Radio which commenced as 2LO.

The Irish Free to Air Satellite service to "fill in" reception blackspots is expected to start "shortly" as the Ka Band LNBFs are now available to pre-order under €50. An HD satellite receiver and Ka LNBF pointed at 9E is required for Saorsat which will not be possible to receive in much of the UK beyond N.I. and Welsh coast. However Saorsat has been delayed now from  Spring 2011, Q3 2011 / Autumn 2011 (earlier indications) to "Early 2012". No explanation as RTE lacks openness and transparency, understanding them is like Kremlin Watching during height of Cold War.

In addition, RTÉ is planning to launch a new ’free-to-air’ satellite service to cover the remaining 2% of the population. RTÉ is not obliged to provide a satellite service and is doing so on its own initiative. It is my understanding that, once the satellite service has launched, it will mean that Ireland will have a national TV network covering 100% of the population, for the first time. RTÉ is currently testing the satellite service to check, inter alia, coverage and other issues and to ensure the availability of satellite receivers, once it launches. RTÉ considers that the service will be ready to launch in early 2012.