Digital TV system to be tested in Dublin

The Government will unveil a pilot digital television project in Dublin next month and announce plans to switch off the existing RTÉ analogue television service according to the Irish Times 28/03/2005.

The test service is now expected to begin broadcasting in Dublin later this year. It will enable consumers with a digital television to receive up to 12 television and radio channels for free without having to pay a subscription fee.

Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey is quoted as saying that the service would form the first stage of a nationwide roll out of a digital terrestrial television service.

“We hope to have up to 12 channels available on the system, all the national channels and an additional six or seven channels for TV, video or radio services.”

Mr Dempsey is also quoted as saying that the  Government would switch off RTÉ’s existing analogue free-to-air television service sometime between 2010-2015. The final date chosen for switch-off would probably be closer to 2010 than 2015.

According to the article 38 per cent of households in the Republic still depend on analogue terrestrial broadcasting, and as many as 90 per cent of homes use a normal aerial for extra TV sets.

The Government and RTÉ first began preparing a strategy to introduce digital television in the Republic in 1997. But the first attempt to hold a competition to entice a private operator to set up and run a system ended in failure in 2002.

Source: Jamie Smyth Technology Reporter, Irish Times 28th March 2005.