Analogue TV relied on in 16% of homes surveyed

Mon, May 16, 2011, 01:00

MORE THAN 250,000 Irish households still rely solely on the terrestrial signal through aerials or antennas to receive television broadcasts, according to a report to be published today by the Department of Communications.

The report was commissioned by the department to assist in planning for the switching off of the terrestrial analogue television network at the end of 2012.

It is to be replaced after that with a digital terrestrial television service.

Some 16 per cent of the households surveyed were relying solely on terrestrial analogue television.

This form of broadcasting does not involve satellite transmission or cables, but rather radio waves transmitted and received through antennas or aerials.

More than two-thirds of households using a terrestrial television service were in rural areas, according to the report, which surveyed 1,100 television households last November.

The report also found only one-third of Irish homes with such a service were aware of the plans to switch off the analogue facility at the time the research was undertaken.

More than 30 per cent of the homes with televisions had an outdoor aerial of some type.

This led researchers to estimate that at least 511,000 households across the Republic had an aerial, meaning many more television viewers may use the terrestrial services on secondary television sets in the home.

Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte pointed out that the report had “highlighted a number of important factors which I intend to take account of in the programme for analogue switch-off”.

The digital television service provided after the switch, the Minister said, would improve the public’s viewing experience, with more channels, high-definition pictures, higher quality sound, on-screen menus and digital teletext.

“More significantly for Ireland, the switch-off of the analogue network releases valuable spectrum which we can use for wireless broadband and new mobile services and to aid Ireland’s economic recovery,” he said.

The analogue switch-off means the switching off of the terrestrial analogue television network operated and owned by RTÉNL.

Subscription-free television reception including RTÉ1, RTÉ2, TV3 and TG4 will be provided to those with an outdoor or indoor aerial to ensure the switch-over to digital television is nationwide.

The European Council has provided that all European countries should switch off their analogue television services by the end of 2012.