Its official – if you’ve not already made the switch over to digital television, then you’d better get moving. The new national digital television network, Saorview, will replace the existing analogue service when it is switched off on October 24, 2012.
It was widely expected that the analogue television network across Europe would be switched off before the end of 2012 – and now the switch-off date for Ireland, and the North, has been finalised with communications minister Pat Rabbitte commenting that the move is positive and would offer more benefits for television viewers including clearer picture and sound quality, more TV channels, more radio channels, high definition television and improved information services. It will also free up additional space on the broadcast spectrum for mobile and broadband services.
What to do next
If you’re one of the estimated 250,000 households currently relying on an aerial to watch television then you should first consider how many TVs you have and how many you want to continue watching once you make the switchover. If you like to record television then consider moving over to a television with a digital TV recorder (DTR) that allows you to record one channel while you watch another. It also comes with additional advantages, such as the ability to pause live television.
You won’t necessarily have to buy a new television to complete the switchover as almost any TV can be converted to digital using a digital box – even a black and white one. Digital boxes generally just connect to a TV using a SCART cable. If your existing television does not have a SCART socket then you will need to ask for a digital box with a built-in RF modulator.
As for video and DVD recorders, they should continue to offer playback and record after the switchover. However, crucially you will not be able to record one channel while you watch another with most recorders. As such you might want to consider investing in a digital TV recorder such as Sky+ or Freeview. It is even possible to buy a digital TV recorder with a twin tuner that will also convert your TV.
Ticking the right boxes
Of course buying a new television or digital equipment can be expensive so don’t make any mistakes – look for the digital tick logo that identifies products and services that are designed to work through the switchover. Bear in mind that even some high definition televisions may not be digital ready – so never assume, and always look for the digital tick before you buy.
If you are going to buy a new television, make sure you get the best available deal by comparing prices online. Also look out for television voucher codes, such as by visiting the electronics voucher codes section of Moneysaver.ie to see what savings are available.
Photo by Aleks Dorohovich on Unsplash