As the official launch of the new Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) service nears in October 2010 it is timely to outline what is needed to switch over to the new Irish Digital TV system along with the Freesat channels.
PART 1: DTT Services & Boxes
RTENL, who are responsible for the building the new DTT network, have finally moved to bring some clarity to the new system by officially christening it ‘Saorview’ – an Irish equivalent of the UK ‘Freeview’. Currently no receivers that I know of on the market carry the Saorview sticker but this will come in time. The basic requirements of the system will be that it will be
- MPEG2/4: Where the DTT will all be MPEG4, the box will be backward compatible with MPEG2
- MHEG5 software: Which will support Interactive services on the boxes
Two of the key reasons there are currently relatively few boxes on the market which suit Irish requirements are:
- Ireland is a relatively small market – which is off putting from an R&D spend perspective
- Most other EU countries e.g. UK are using MPEG2. Some small (& pretty well bankrupt) countries such are Greece and Portugal are using / trialling MPEG4 boxes but not in Majors numbers.
Currently the main (& probably the best) receiver on the market is the Triax TR110. This is one of the most popular Standard definition DTT receivers, the 7 Day EPG works well, it has an RF out to allow you to loop the output of the receiver to other rooms, plus a loop through for the analogue Channels. Alternatively you buy this receiver as part of a Kit.
Channels available: RTE 1, RTE2, TV3 (test card), TG4, RTE News
PART 2: Satellite receivers
A problem with the TR110 receiver is that you still need a separate satellite system
which will allow you receive all the Freesat channels such as BBC 1,2,3,4, ITV, Channel 4, sky news etc.
Drawback: this means, 2 boxes, 2 remotes, plus you have no HD or PVR (to allow you pause or rewind live TV) facilities.
PART 3: Single Box Solution – Combo Satellite & DTT receivers
A neat solution comes in the form of the Edision Argus 2in1 combo satellite & DTT receiver. This box really has it all:
- it has both Satellite Dish and DTT inputs on the back of the box meaning all the channels appear on a single channel line up.
- The box can handle both HD and Standard definition transmissions
- and the addition of a 250GB hard drive allows you pause and record TV.
- Also it comes with the all important IP port
Once you have a Satellite Dish and UHF TV Aerial set up, you can use the edision argus 2in1 combo receiver to watch both Irish DTT and Freesat satellite TV.
One minor gripe is that it is not possible to look at the Satellite channels while recording at the Irish channels & vice versa. But you can record one DTT channel while looking at another DTT channel. The 7 Day EPG works well on the DTT side, but so good on the Satellite.
Compared to its competitor products from Strong, Mvision or Triax it is considerably cheaper, has more features and most importantly extremely reliable, with return rates of less than 1%.