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Television in Ireland uses System I with 625 lines and the PAL colour standard, with NICAM digital stereo sound where applicable.

In the Republic of Ireland both VHF and UHF are used. Within Northern Ireland, in common with the rest of the UK, VHF is no longer used for analogue TV. VHF for TV transmission is slowly being phased out in Ireland - only RTÉ One and RTÉ Two are on VHF band III in some areas, and the more recently established stations (TV3 and TG4) have been only broadcast on UHF. VHF Band I terrestrial transmissions stopped in 1999 when RTÉ One from the Maghera (Co. Clare) transmitter moved from Channel B to E. Band I use on cable networks is decreasing due to bandwidth allocation for cable broadband and the phasing out of analogue cable TV services.

While many people in Ireland still receive their television via the off-air networks (run by RTÉ Network Limited in the Republic of Ireland, and Crown Castle and Arqiva in Northern Ireland), more than half [1][2] subscribe to multichannel television networks. The biggest single multichannel TV network in Ireland is Sky Digital a subsidiary of BSkyB, which broadcasts digital satellite television services. UPC Ireland, Magnet Networks, SCTV, Smart Vision among others provide similar digital television services. Viewers in Northern Ireland can receive RTÉ and TG4 via this service, and viewers in the Republic of Ireland can receive the BBC and Channel 4 via this service.

Contents

History

Television in within the island of Ireland began with the launch of BBC in Northern Ireland (BBC Northern Ireland) when it began broadcasting television programmes in 1953, followed in 1959 with the launch of Ulster Television (now known as UTV).

Through out the 1950s the Governments of the Republic of Ireland were worried about the influences of British television and the popularity of the medium. By the end of the 1950s 60% of the population could receive BBC 1 and the UK's Channel 3 franchise from spillover from Northern Ireland, Wales and the west of England. Through out the 1950s the Irish government would discuss the provision of an Irish television service, this was headed up by Leon O'Broin the secretary at the Department of Post and Telegraphs. The Department of Post and Telegraphs had responsibility for Raidió Éireann, Ireland's Radio service. In 1950 O'Broin established his own committee on Irish Television and bought a television set to receive broadcasts from the BBC. The Department of Finance at this time were worried of the cost of setting up a new television service and dismissed the possibility on several occasions during the 1950s. By March 1951 O'Broin would press for the invidable establishment of an Irish television service in the Republic. In a Memorandum to Government the Department set out four possibilities for the ownership and control of a new service: -

  1. Owned by the state directly
  2. Owned by a public corporation (similar to that of the then Raidió Éireann)
  3. Owned by Private enterprise
  4. Having a combination where transmitters would be owned by the state and content would be provided by private enterprises

The Department of Finance were incensed with this and asked the government to tell O'Broin to resubmit the proposals through the Department of Finance according to the formal procedures of the Civil Service, John A. Costello the Taoiseach did so and returned the memo to the Department of Post and Telegraphs. The Minister for Finance refused to look at TV calling it a "luxury service". However, through this means O'Broin was able to get funding for the research he had asked for.

In the Republic of Ireland television first became available in 1959. The public service broadcaster RTÉ Television opened in 1961, followed by an additional channel RTÉ Two in November 1978. TG4 launched on 31 October 1996 it is a free-to-air public service broadcaster which targets Irish language viewers.

On 20 September 1998, TV3 launched as the first independent commercial broadcaster in the Republic of Ireland. Since the 2000s television in the Republic of Ireland has expanded with the launch of Setanta Ireland, Bubble Hits (now defunct) and 3e which are available through cable and satellite services.

As Ireland begins to switch onto digital terrestrial television (DTT) in Summer/Autumn 2010 [3] it will provide viewers with greater viewing opportunities with an increase in public service channels i.e. of commercial services with the possibility of more public service channels from existing public service broadcaster and possibly two new channels, the Houses of the Oireachtas Channel and the Irish Film Channel, subject to finance from the government for the last two.

Regulation

  • Republic of Ireland

As of 1 October 2009 broadcasting in the Republic of Ireland is regulated by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) (Irish: Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann). The newly formed authority is a result of a merge between previously separate authorities which included the RTÉ Authority, the BCI and the BCC. Co-existing alongside the BAI is ComReg. ComReg act as a separate authority dealing with issuing licences to both the BAI and RTÉ NL in relation to establishing Digital Terrestrial Television in the Republic.

In the initial years of television, RTÉ as the sole broadcaster was regulated by the Department of Post and Telegraphs. With the onslaught of deregulation in the late 1980s the Department of Justice and Communications set up the Independent Radio and Television Commission (IRTC) to role out commercial broadcasters across the country, while the Office of the Director of Telecommunications Regulation (ODTR) (now ComReg) was set up to regulate the all telecommunications signals from radio to telephony.

In 2001 the IRTC was renamed as the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI), while a separate regulator called the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) looked after any complaints from the public and made rulings on all complaints in relation to all broadcasters included RTÉ, RTÉ however was not regulated by the BCI rather it had its own authority known as the RTÉ Authority who reported back to the Minister for Communications on the work of RTÉ.

  • Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, regulation of the broadcasting and telecommunications sector is regulated by the UK's OfCom.

Digital terrestrial television

  • Northern Ireland:

In Northern Ireland, digital terrestrial television is provided by the Freeview service. This is also available within the Republic of Ireland though with very limited availability, via overspill from Northern Ireland and Wales. Freeview is a MPEG-2 DVB-T service with a MHEG-5 interactive layer.

  • Republic of Ireland:

As of March 2010 the commercial digital terrestrial television with the Republic of Ireland is to be provided by OneVision (DTT). However launch of the commercial DTT operation is contigent upon sign-off with the BAI and RTÉ NL, and may yet be offered to Easy TV if One Vision don't sign off soon on the license offer. [4]

Public service channels are to be carried by RTE Networks Limited, with this service to be operational to 90% of the country by October 31st 2010 [5] and complete by December 31st 2012 (98%). However, publicly accessible tests of this system are available across large swathes of the country as of December 2009, with it being carried on all main and some relay transmitters.

The Irish system, as to be used by both OneVision and RTENL is currently aMPEG-4 DVB-T service with an MHEG-5 interactive layer. As this conforms to a pre-launch 2008 specification [6] its is subject to change. One Vision (or if it doesn't conclude license negotiations, Easy TV) could well if it so pleases go with the newer MPEG-4 DVB-T2 specification being rolled out in the UK, in order to realise lower electricity operating costs of network transmission and increase channel capacity further.[7]

In the early 2000s, the Republic of Ireland started a limited DTT service in Dublin and the North East during, which was officially a trial and not publicly marketed. RTÉ NL have started expanding beyond this area since the end of the trial, and are now in testing phase across most of the main transmitters.[8] In 2008, the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland awarded a contract in principle to Boxer TV Ireland to provide a subscription digital terrestrial television service on three multiplexes. However, a final contract was unable to be agreed between Boxer and the BCI, and Boxer withdrew from negotiations.[9] The BCI have now offered the licence to the OneVision (DTT) consortium. RTÉ has also been awarded a licence to operate a single multiplex, on which the existing public service channels will be distributed. The Broadcasting Act 2009 also provides for a Houses of the Oireachtas Channel and an Irish Film Channel.

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Historical testing

DVB-T has repeatedly been tested from RTÉ Network Limited's Three Rock Mountain transmitter, with relatively long tests in 1998 and 2001, and shorter tests in 2004, with a single multiplex carrying the four Irish analogue terrestrial channels, and Tara Television while it was in existence, on both UHF (channel 26) and VHF (channel D). These were under temporary licences for testing, which are regularly awarded.

A contract to run a nationwide system, with six multiplexes from main sites, and four from relay sites was awarded in 2001 to ITS Digital Limited, led by former RTÉ executive, Mr Peter Branagan and trading as "It's TV", who intended to launch a pay TV and broadband service. ITS wanted to offer broadband internet access using the DVB-RCT standard (which while high bandwidth at up to 30 Mb/s, is not fast enough with 20,000 people on one mast). They had no broadband licence and no viable business plan without selling broadband, and due to lack of funding withdrew its application in Oct 2002.

The government also planned to privatise RTÉ's transmission network at this time but this too failed in October 2002 following the withdrawal of ITS Digital Limited DTT licence application and a number of other factors.[10][11]

Disability organisations and the switchover

TV Access, a coalition of organisations in the disability and ageing sector urge the campaign to be initiated without delay so as to highlight the switch from analogue to digital television broadcast services in its contribution to the Oireachtas Communications Committee heard Wednesday 1 April 2009. TV Access told the committee members of the need to start the campaign early to “make sure the most vulnerable and hard to reach don’t get left behind”.[12] In furtherance of their aims to make the wider public aware of the needs of aging and disabled viewers, they have launched a website "Digital Terrestrial Television". http://www.tvaccess.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=5&Itemid=65. Retrieved 2010-02-07. . On 23 November of November it reiterated its concern at the lack of progress on DTT, which they were advised is due to the need for the commercial DTT negotiations to conclude first by March end 2010.Until that occurs no need is seen for their involvement in the internal Department of Communications Group on Analogue Switchover.[13] They were advised they would be included once the commercial DTT is resolved.

Reasons for the delay in the Information Campaign emanate from the withdrawal by Boxer Ireland from the DTT license process and the desire by the Department of Communications to have clarity on DTT before launching such a campaign to the public once the BAI license process is successfully concluded with a consortium and the BAI. Given that negotiations are progressing well [14] it is likely that an information Campaign will be launched by perhaps a DTT stakeholders group consisting of the consortium that signs off, the BAI, RTÉ, the Minister for Communications and TV3, TG4 single information campaign probably via a website, news coverage in 2010 with a Prime Time or other public service broadcasting programmes giving the European and UK background to this move to digital TV platforms and how it affects Irish viewers. In mid to late 2010 advertising by OneVision is likely to introduce itself to the public in advance of its launch. However this is conjecture until negotiations with One Vision (DTT) conclude either successfully or otherwise, which will either allow DTT launch plans to progress among stakeholders involving informing the public about it and so forth or further delays if One Vision (DTT) decide also to hand back the license.

Possible scenarios if One Vision (DTT) did not proceed, the third consortium which consists of RTÉ NL would likely be in a position to quickly decide its interest in Pay DTT, or lead to RTÉ proceeding with a Freeview brand like the UK with Pay DTT being retendered after discussion between BAI and the Minister for Communications.

The problem with an Irish Freeview brand is it lacking Irish content to make it attractive, plus the success of Irish Pay TV platforms to-date, suggest Freeview Ireland would not be attractive by itself to encourage take-up especially given the shortage of Irish DTT compatible TV models to-date. Currently Irish broadcasters only have 5 channels which is not sufficient for a Freeview brand with Irish Government budgetary challenges putting two other public service channels in doubt. Even so 8 channels including such additional 3, still makes for a weak Freeview brand.

The most likely scenario is that Irish FTA DTT and Pay DTT will be branded under one box and that either One Vision (DTT) or Easy TV will proceed, given the interest by Eircom (One Vision consortium) and UPC (Easy TV consortium) to advance their objectives in relation to TV triple play (broadband,TV, Mobile), with DTT giving UPC potentially better, and near universal coverage it does not currently have for subscription TV and giving Eircom a similar reach. In addition, Arquiva (One Vision) and UPC (Easy TV) are big companies, with the capacity and knowledge of the industry, to proceed with Irish DTT.

Given the size of the market, a FTA Freeview Irish box seems also not in the best interests of return on investment from the RTÉ DTT Network,which may reflect why RTÉ have not proceeded with launching its FTA DTT mux, while Pay TV provides FTA DTT when out of contract and allows easy upgrade to pay TV. Spectrum considerations and later launch show the challenges in Top-UP TV making inroads in a bigger market in the UK. Much more FTA content than Ireland is available via Freeview UK.This makes launch of a FTA-Pay DTT operation still likely during 2010.

Multiplex licensing process

The Commission engaged in two phases of targeted consultation to assist in the development of its DTT Multiplex Licensing Policy. These consultations ran from May to December 2007 and involved the production of a comprehensive consultation document outlining policy proposals in relation to DTT licensing and the commissioning of independent research on DTT.

The BCI launched the commercial multiplex processes with a minimum of twenty-four channels specified. Interested parties submitted their applications as specified in ads in National Papers on Friday 7 March 2008.

The BCI’s application process for the DTT multiplex contracts ran for a period of eight weeks. The application document sought a considerable amount of information including: proposals for programming; financial and business plan; the transmission/multiplexing proposals as well as details regarding the shareholding and management of the applicant group.

Nine applicants consisting of three bid consortiums for all three muxes made presentations to the Commission, which was open to the public at 1:30pm in the Westbury Hotel, Grafton Street, Dublin 2 on 12 May 2008 and the award of contract was offered to the most suitable bid team shortly after 21 July 2008 following evaluation by the BCI on the applications received.

The BCI on 21 July 2008 announced Boxer DTT Ltd trading as Boxer as the sole winner to operate the three commercial multiplexes. Boxer DTT Ltd was a consortium made up of Communicorp, Boxer TV Access in Sweden and BT Ireland. The award of the contracts was subject to clarifications and the successful outcome of contract negotiations.

The Boxer service was provisionally to be roll out from January 2009 but that consortium withdrew its interest in April 2009. The latest reports suggest an official launch in autumn 2010 to of a Free-to-air and possibly Pay DTT launch (dependent on 2nd/3rd consortia concluding the license offer), with extension of geographical coverage from 75% to 93% (pay DTT operator) / 98% (RTÉ Mux) by 2013.

Pay DTT launch uncertainty

According to an article in the Irish Independent on 26 February 2009, there could be further delays in a launch of Pay DTT slated for late 2009.[15]. According to the article however, "While there is an obvious synergy between the commercial and public aspects, the department expects RTE to deliver on the 2007 (Broadcasting) Act obligations (to achieve analogue switch-off by 2012) and to ensure the project does not lose its momentum," informed the Department of Communications to the newspaper article's author.

Thus at least with the rollout continuing with more transmitters starting test transmissions for DTT the Free-to-air launch looks at least on-target. Whether FTA DTT gets formal public marketed launch or not is the open question but without doubt FTA DTT will be receivable at least in test form and odds on are that free-to-air DTT will get a public launch, with or without pay DTT launch. No doubt the situation will clarify itself in coming months either OneVision the 2nd consortia, or if they decline the offer, Easy TV concluding contracts or the BCI revising license conditions and restarting the license contest process.

On 20 April, the BCI confirmed that Boxer had withdrawn from contract negotiations and will not be operating any service. The BCI has offered the opportunity for OneVision (a consortium made up of TV3 Group, Setanta and Eircom and who came second in the bidding process.[2]). to open negotiations on a contract. If One Vision do not take up on this opportunity, then it is likely that contract negotiations will be offered to Easy TV, the consortium made up of RTE and UPC. If this fails, the options will be for the BCI to seek further expressions of interest, or for the Government to intervene on the issue.

On 1 May 2009, Fintan Drury chairperson of the OneVision consortium announced that OneVision is to enter negotiations with the BCI) with the view to takeover operations of the the pay DTT service.[16] If negotiations are deemed successful it may see the launch of DTT in early 2010 [3] at a proposed operational cost of €40 million. OneVision aspire to offer 23 channels coinciding with the free-to-air channels.[17]

Current launch plans

RTE has reportedly made known it is no longer on track to launch a digital terrestrial television service in September 2009.[18] RTE director-general Cathal Goan, believed that RTE and the new commercial entrant should “all jump together”. “It wouldn’t be reasonable to assume you could have both public service DTT and commercial DTT up and running in September” he said. Presumably marketing, informational, promotion and co-ordination via a DTT Promotion brand, as well as multiplexing and channel line-up negotiations would have to follow sign-off with RTÉ Networks and the BCI by Onevision and this all takes time. This could be seen as a positive indicator for commercial DTT, as RTÉ might have perhaps sought to launch alone had it not confidence of commercial DTT negotiations being on track. Given it is prepared to wait that would indicate negotiations are going well. It also aids commercial DTT to avoid free-to-air boxes preceding commercial DTT launch which might hamper pay DTT sign-up as in the UK situation.

On 28 August 2009 it was reported that the consortium behind One Vision was set to announce its future plans in September 2009. It was also reported that negotiations between BCI, RTÉ NL and One Vision (DTT) were progressing.[14]

According to an article in The Sunday Business Post on 20 September 2009, both TV3 and Setanta are to take a lesser stake in Onevision. In the same article it stated that both Eircom and Arqiva are to increase their stake in the company. Such changes will only be granted based on regulations set out by the BCI. This could lead to further setbacks in the roll-out of DTT in Ireland. Also with the ongoing acquisition of Eircom by another company this could lead to further setbacks.[19]

On 22 December 2009, the Irish Independent reported the latest developments in relation to Onevision. They report that Eircom will become the main shareholder in the company. It is expected that the consortium behind the television provider and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland will announce the companies future plans in late February or early March 2010 once contracts are signed following intense negotiations.[20] Given the changes in the shareholding and more active negotiations after a quiet period the chances for DTT commercial launch have significantly improved for late 2010[21] DTT launch is now on target insofar as the FTA multiplex, following direction from the Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources to RTÉ and signing of Statutory Instrument 85 of 2010 RTÉ (National Television Multiplex) Order 2010 on February 26th, 2010.[22], [23]. FTA DTT has to be operational by October 31st 2010 to 90% of the country but launch could be anytime before December 31st 2011 leaving just over a year for actual launch date to be decided. The planned DTT information campaign is likely between Summer 2010 and Autumn 201l, regardless of the outcome of BAI commercial DTT negotiations [24]. This also tallies with RTÉNL proceeding with Irish DTT receiver certification announced in January 2010, following the selection of Teracom to conduct the tests and expansion of the network engineering tests during 2009[25].Commercial DTT launch remains to be determined whether it will proceed with Onevision or EasyTV [26]

Cross-border Partnership

On 1 February 2010 the Republic of Ireland's Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan signed an agreement with the UK's Ben Bradshaw[27]. This agreement will enable viewers within Northern Ireland to watch RTE One, RTE Two and TG4 on a free-to-air basis as of 2012[28]. The agreement between both jurisdictions will also guarantee that viewers within the Republic of Ireland will be able to view BBC One Northern Ireland and BBC Two Northern Ireland on the Republic of Ireland's free-to-air service which is to debut in late 2010. A cross-border initiative has always been on the agenda for the Green Party in the Republic of Ireland.However in recent days, a a change has occurred such that BBC services are now to be offered in the Republic of Ireland on a 'paid for' basis and not the original free-to-air basis.[29]

Mobile terrestrial television

Mobile Terrestrial Television is the broadcast of TV on mobile phone handsets which does not have contention problems compared with 3G networks.

The Commission for Communications Regulation issued its response to Consultation 08/44 about interest in multi-city mobile TV licenses that could cover up to 40% of the population that would lead to the Award of available UHF spectrum in the urban areas of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. That response to consultation was issued on Tuesday 28 July 2009 [30] Having provided options to stakeholders in terms of 2 options outlined in Consultation 08/44 of Mobile Telegraphy License or a technology neutral Wireless Telegarphy License, and minded by the 7 responses it received, the Mobile Telegraphy License was seen as the best use of spectrum, given the nature of the spectrum of 8 MHz of UHF band in between 470 to 750 MHz in the five main urban areas due to the limited spectrum arising from DTT introduction and use of 4 multiplexes as the spectrum priority prior to analogue switchover (ASO).

ComReg proposes launch of the wholesale mobile TV network following license award be rolled out within 24 months before penalty or license withdrawal from the winner of the contest. The contest is to be done by comparative beauty contest instead of auction, given the nature of Mobile TV as a newish area and the risks in terms of investment inherenet in it. Given the limited spectrum a wholesale model as noted by the EU Commission [30] reference 2 in such situation is chosen. This will result in third parties having access through agreements with the wholesale mobile network operator as Other Mobile TV Service Providers (OMTSPs) in a timely, reasonable, non-discriminatory and transparent manner to the network to provide their own services and electronic programme guide from up to 20 channels maximum space.

The license would be for 10 years and not automatically renewed. Those services will be encrypted by the service provider to the subscriber. Contributors to the consultation 08/44 are given time to reflect on the terms suggested for the comparative beauty contest before 11 September 2009 and following that feedback and ComReg's further reflection on that, the comparative contest guidelines will be issued and a application date set by the end of the year. The winner of that contest will have 2 years to build the network and agree terms with Other Mobile TV Service Providers. The Broadcasting Act 2009 was also referred to in Comreg Publication 09/64

Cable

Cable television is the most common system for distributing multi-channel television in Ireland. With more than 40 year of history and extensive networks of both wired and "wireless" cable, Ireland is amongst the most cabled countries in Europe. Forty percent[31] of Irish homes received cable television in September 2006. The figure dropped slightly in the early years of the 21st century due to the increased popularity of satellite reception, notably Sky, but has stabilised recently.

Virgin Media owns the cable television licence for Northern Ireland. In the Republic of Ireland, UPC Ireland, which trades under the brand name Chorus NTL, is by far the largest cable and MMDS operator, owning all of the state's MMDS licences and almost all of the state's cable TV operators. UPC offers analogue and digital cable television services in cities and towns throughout the country (with the exception of Cork, where the network is digital-only). It offers MMDS services in rural areas. Other than UPC, the only other operator providing analogue and digital cable is Casey Cablevision, which operates in Dungarvan, County Waterford. There also exists a small number of analogue-only cable networks such as the Longford service Crossan Cable. Cable Television in Ireland

Satellite

Direct broadcast satellite service has been available in the Republic of Ireland since 5 February 1989, when Sky Television launched. British Satellite Broadcasting, which was also available in Ireland, launched in 1990 and the two merged to form British Sky Broadcasting in 1990. For most of the 1990s however, Sky's DBS customer base in Ireland was dwarfed by the large numbers receiving its channels via cable. Sky Digital, Ireland's first digital television service, launched on 1 October 1998. However, in the absence of any subsidy for the Sky Digibox in the Republic of Ireland - viewers in the UK could avail of both a Sky subsidy and one from British Interactive Broadcasting - the cost to initially acquire Sky Digital equipment was very expensive (IEP 450) and subscriber numbers did not rise until both these subsidies were introduced into Ireland in 2000. In 2001, UK and Irish terrestrial channels became available to Irish Sky customers for the first time, although UTV is still not available via the Sky electronic programme guide (as it broadcasts free to air, it can be manually tuned however).

While Sky is the biggest satellite service in the Republic of Ireland, it is by no means the only satellite broadcasts available. Most free to air broadcasts available in Europe are available in the Republic of Ireland and can be received via an appropriately sized dish pointed at the correct satellite, and an appropriate satellite receiver set top box. In 2008, Sat4free, an adapted version of the UK Freesat equipment, was made available in Ireland which enables reception of UK channels on a subscription-free basis while Imported "Grey market" satellite receivers are often used by migrant workers to watch both FTA and subscription channels from their home countries (e.g. Cyfrowy Polsat)

Other technologies

O2 Ireland and 3 Ireland have commenced trials of DVB-H.However delays in licensing broadcast spectrum to the mobile sector in the Republic of IReland has forced telecoms providers such as 02 to proceed with 3G/HSDPA Mobile TV.[32][33] Vodafone Ireland and 3 Ireland already have significant digital video content distributed over their 3G and 3.5G (HSDPA) networks

UPC Digital provides a wireless cable service over an all digital MMDS network reaching over 80% of the country. This network operates at 2.5 GHz to 2.7 GHz.[34]

SCTV Digital provides an advanced digital television service to Cork City and parts of County Cork. It is licenced to operate all over Munster. Operating at 11.7 GHz to 12.5 GHz (MVDDS) it delivers approximately 75 digital television channels and video on demand services from "Sky By Wire".[35]

Digital satellite is the only form of subscriber satellite transmission available in the country and is provided by Sky Digital (and Sky+ HD). The British Freesat service is also available in the country, as are FTA satellite channels from several other European countries.

Two companies provide digital television via IPTV; Magnet Entertainment and Smart Vision (from Smart Telecom).

Deflectors (UHF Television Programme Retransmission)

In rural areas where neither cable or MMDS are available, UHF Television Programme Retransmission systems or deflectors[36] pick up the UK terrestrial channels (either from Northern Ireland or Wales), and retransmit them on local UHF signals along with other channels. These operators faced legal action in the late 1990s from MMDS operators, as they did not pay royalties to the relevant broadcasters, and were not licenced. When the deflectors were shut down, there was such an outcry in those areas that an independent election candidate in County Donegal, Tom Gildea, was elected as a TD on a platform of supporting legalisation, which occurred in 1999.
Deflectors were first licenced in 1999 by the then spectrum regulator, the ODTR.[37][38] The current regulations, Wireless Telegraphy (UHF Television Programme Retransmission) Regulations, 2009 [39] will be the last for deflectors, all deflector licences expire in Dec 2012 and will not be renewed due to the roll-out of DTT in Ireland.

Television licence

In the Republic of Ireland, a television licence is required for any address at which there is a television set or device not exempted under Staturory Instrument 319 of 2009 see [40].In 2008, the annual licence fee is 160.[41] Revenue is collected by An Post, the Irish postal service. The bulk of the fee is used to fund Raidió Teilifís Éireann, the state broadcaster. The licence must be paid for any premises that has any equipment that can potentially decode TV signals, even those that are not RTÉ's. The licence is free to senior citizens (to anyone over the age of 70, some over 66), some Social Welfare recipients, and individuals who are blind. The fee for the licences of such beneficiaries is paid for by the state.

Most-viewed channels

The channels with the largest viewing share among those which take part in AGB Nielsen's measurements as of the end of 2009 are:[42]

Position Channel Owner Share of total viewing (%)
1 RTÉ One Raidió Teilifís Éireann 23.7
2 TV3 Ireland TV3 Group 12.3
3 RTÉ Two Raidió Teilifís Éireann 9.65
4 BBC One Northern Ireland BBC 5.29
5 UTV UTV Media 4.53
6 Channel 4 NI Channel 4 3.74
7 BBC Two Northern Ireland BBC 3.06
8 TG4 Teilifís na Gaeilge 2.67
9 Sky1 Sky Ireland 1.92
10 E4 Channel 4 1.19
11 Living Virgin Media Television 1.18
12 Comedy Central MTV Networks Europe 1.02
13 Sky News Ireland Sky Ireland 1.17
14 Setanta Ireland Setanta Sports 0.9
15 Sky Sports 1 Sky Ireland 0.94
16 3e TV3 Group 0.85
17 MTV MTV Networks Europe 0.72
18 Sky Sports News BSkyB 0.53
19 Nickelodeon Ireland MTV Networks Europe 0.48
20 Nick Jr MTV Networks Europe 0.46

See also

References

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  2. ^ "Market Information - ComReg". http://www.comreg.ie/publications/irish_communications_market__quarterly_key_data_-_march_2008.539.103113.p.html. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  3. ^ a b "DTT Rollout". http://www.digitaltelevision.ie/National+DTT/DTT+Rollout.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  4. ^ http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/authority-frustrated-by-delays-in-deal-for-digital-tv-2099232.html
  5. ^ http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/NR/rdonlyres/E08E7E6A-6873-45BB-9303-3FE70A6F22C2/0/SI85_2010.pdf
  6. ^ http://www.rtenl.com/downloads/NorDig-Unified_ver_2.0.pdf
  7. ^ "TV's with DVB-T2 (DTT) AND Satellite Tuners - Page 3 - boards.ie". http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=63666019&posted=1#post63666019. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
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  9. ^ [1] BCI confirms Boxer decision to withdraw application for DTT multiplex contracts
  10. ^ Move to drop sale of RTE network - Irish, Business - Independent.ie
  11. ^ RTE pulls sale of transmission unit - Irish, Business - Independent.ie
  12. ^ "Campaign on move to digital TV urged - The Irish Times - Thu, Apr 02, 2009". http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/0402/1224243862633.html. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  13. ^ "DTT switchover progress report: No progress". http://www.tvaccess.ie/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=88:dttprogress&catid=45:digital-terrestrial-television-articles&Itemid=65. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  14. ^ a b "Digital TV rises back up off the canvas - The Irish Times - Fri, Aug 28, 2009". http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/0828/1224253397507.html. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  15. ^ Delays give mixed signals on the future of commercial DTT - Irish, Business - Independent.ie
  16. ^ "OneVision wants DTT licence - The Irish Times - Fri, May 01, 2009". http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/0501/1224245754008.html. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  17. ^ "OneVision wants DTT licence - The Irish Times - Fri, May 01, 2009". http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2009/0501/1224245754008.html. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
  18. ^ "RTE admits digital TV launch delay - Irish, Business - Independent.ie". http://www.independent.ie/business/irish/rte-admits-digital-tv-launch-delay-1813435.html. Retrieved 2010-02-07. 
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