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Date set for digital TV switchover, here's what you need to know

The Minister for Communications has confirmed that the analogue TV signal will be switched off on 24 October 2012.

IRELAND’S ANALOGUE TV network will be switched off in just over a year’s time as the Minister for Communications today confirmed the date for the digital switchover.

Pat Rabbitte confirmed 24 October 2012 as the date that Saorview will replace the analogue TV network which is being used by anyone who currently relies on an aerial to watch television.

Until then the two services will run in parallel but the government is urging anyone who hasn’t yet made the switchover to do so.

Saorview was launched nationally by RTÉ in May of this year but around 250,000 households across the country will need to take action in order to ensure they have switched over before next year’s deadline.

The analogue TV network will also be turned off in Northern Ireland on the same day.

Research carried out by Millward Brown Lansdownwne has shown that 77 per cent of Irish people are aware of the digital switchover, but 23 per cent, who are mostly over-55 years of age, are still not aware that the analogue TV network will be switched off next year.

What to do

The government has outlined two options available to television viewers who need to make the switch.

Viewers can connect to the Saorview service at a one-off cost with no subscription fee or recurring charges. In most cases the purchase of a set-top box will enable connection to Saorview and this costs around €100. More details are on www.saorview.ie or LoCall 1890 222 012.

Alternatively, viewers can choose to move to a pay-TV service, such as Sky, UPC or a cable or broadband service provider which normally requires a monthly subscription fee. Those already subscribed to such services will not be affected by the switchover.

The Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources is providing guidance to the public though a new website and a publicity campaign fronted by broadcaster Gay Byrne.

Those looking for more information can log on to www.goingdigital.ie, a LoCall helpline 1890 940 980 or you can get in touch on Twitter.

As well as this, free information booklets will be available in post offices and Citizen Information centres throughout the country from next week.

Read: Communications minister launches free-to-air Digital TV service >

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Hugh O'Connell

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