As the Republic of Ireland prepares to say goodbye to analogue once and for all, we look at some of the problems and questions faced by its citizens. Why digital? Digital broadcasting offers far more efficiency than analogue, providing improved image quality, interchangeable screen sizes, better quality of audio and a higher number of channels than analogue, so there’s plenty of incentive to make the switch.
At the moment, many Irish viewers cannot receive a serviceable signal through their analogue aerial. By the 24th October, when the switch is being made, it is hoped that all Irish TVs will be able to pick up a digital signal. Anyone who hasn’t made the necessary change to pick up the digital signal by that date simply won’t be able to receive a picture once the analogue signal has been turned off.
Ireland is just the latest of a number of countries to make the change to digital. Holland and Sweden have already switched, as has the USA. The UK, where the digital switchover has been slowly rolling out since 2007, is expected to turn off the analogue signal on the same date as Ireland.
How will this affect me?
When you make the switch, you need to be sure that every television in your household can receive a digital signal. This is very straightforward. You can either buy a digital box, get a new digital TV or order a monthly subscription package from somewhere like Sky. The digital box is probably the cheapest option, but a subscription package from Sky which can start from €25 per month offers much more channels (with the option of internet and phone depending on the package you choose) and it works with many existing television sets. A new digital television could set you back anything from a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand Euro’s, depending on what you want, the Sky package does offer greater value in terms of viewing option.
Will I still get the same channels?
Once the digital switchover is complete, you will have all the same terrestrial channels you currently receive. You will also notice better picture and audio quality, and extras like listings (on screen), pay-per-view movies and the interactive ‘red button’ they always mention on television shows.