Digital TV switch numbers 'positive'


Most recent figures show 200,000 households reliant on the analogue TV signal have not yet made the switch over to digital television, the Minister for Communications told an Oireachtas committee this morning.

Pat Rabbitte said the figures were positive, however, as 300,000 had already switched over, and it had been the experience in other jurisdictions that people have left it until the last minute.

Along with other European countries, Ireland is moving from analogue to digital television this year. On October 24th the analogue signal will be switched off, and households that use aerials to receive the terrestrial channels will no longer get a signal. They will need a Saorview set-top box or a Saorview television to receive RTÉ, TG4 and TV3.

The Minister told members of the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications that he had been asked by Eamon O’Cuiv if he had an alternative plan if 200,000 people were left behind on the day of the digital switchover.

“I said I have; it is to emigrate,” Mr Rabbitte said.

He said it would be preferable if people didn’t wait until October 23rd to make the changeover, but he accepted that many people would leave it until the last minute.

Michael Healy Rae TD, along with other deputies, raised concerns about difficulties experienced by some of his constituents in Kerry who had tried to get Saorview or Saorstat, the satellite alternative.

“The way things are you might have to emigrate, though the Government can’t afford to lose any members,” he said.

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