Irish consumers cautioned against buying digital TV equipment

RTÉ transmission
RTÉ transmission

RTE NL logoSome retailers are misleading consumers by selling Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) equipment ‘approved’ for the Irish market, according to RTÉ NL.

RTÉ NL, RTÉ’s transmission division, is urging consumers to hold off purchasing new digital TV equipment until the launch of a DTT information campaign in the next year.

The DTT system will allow viewers to receive high quality digital TV without a subscription – however they will need to purchase a set-top box capable of decoding digital signals.  The DTT system will replace the current analogue service which is due to be shut down by 2012.

“Consumers need to be absolutely careful when buying DTT equipment.  Some retailers are selling equipment that they say is ready for the Irish DTT system but it is difficult to see how they can say that as no DTT equipment has been approved for sale here.” RTÉ NL said.

Most DTT equipment, including Freeview set-top boxes, that have been on sale in the Republic since 2002 will not be compatible with the Irish DTT service which will use mpg4 encoding to that in the UK which uses mpg2.

As part of the information campaign equipment compatible with the Irish system will carry an Irish DTT approved logo, similar to the ‘Digital Tick’ used by the UK’s Freeview service.

RTÉ is currently testing DTT in the Dublin region.


  1. Why are RTE using a Scandinavian Encoding system instead of the UK FreeView system, is this just the typical bloody mindedness of RTE as usual. Most TV’s in this country are imported via UK so the price of DTT TV’s will be higher here as we will have to have a different specification to the UK as far as I can make out from this article. Anny comments.

    1. @RoderickYoung The BBC are using a 10 year old system (Which was state-of-the art at the time) and are currently testing MPG4 encoding in London at the moment. The advantage of MPG4 is that it will allow more channels, with higher video quality, on a smaller amount of the spectrum. If RTÉ were to use the Freeview system they would have to update very soon to MPG4, costing users more.

      You are correct that many DTT devices bought in Ireland in the past decade will not be able to recieve RTÉ’s digital signal. Consumers will have to buy another DTT set-top box compatable with Saorview. Although, with that said, more and mre TV’s being produced now can decode both MPG2 & MPG4.

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).