Saorview TVs – Does my new TV meet Saorview Specifications

After listening to yesterday’s vigorous debate between representatives of RTE and TV3 on Matt Cooper’s Last Word Radio Show on Today FM, we felt we should write a small blog entry on Saorview TVs. Whatever your feeling about the whole issue of License fees and variety and control of channels on the new Saroview Digital Terrestrial platform, you should heed the warning given at the end of the program segment.

It was mentioned about the difference between Freeview & Saorview. Freeview is the UK name of it’s digital terrestrial tv service and Saorview is the Irish equivalent. The are many differences between the two, not least the channel line up. Saorview ONLY has the domestic Irish channels on it’s platform where as Freeview in the UK has all the free UK TV channels. Once you understand that basic fact there are other factors to consider mainly; that there are technical differences too and this is what we aim to address in this post.

Saorview is broadcast using an Mpeg4 compression standard but the UK uses Mpeg2 so if you go to buy a new TV and it has Freeview written on it, DO NOT buy it. It will not work with Saorview without the addition of an MPEG4 Set Top Box. Make sure that the TV is either a Saorview approved set or Saorview Compatible. Basically if you are upgrading your television, make sure you ask the following;

  • Is it an iDTV (Integrated Digital Television)
  • Has it got a Saorview Sticker on it (Saorview approved)
  • If not, is it Saorview compatible (Mpeg4 & HD)
  • Does it have Mheg5 Middleware for Digital Teletext

You may pay extra for these features but it will ensure your compatibility with the new Saorview service that has already been turned on since late last year but is due to be fully launched and widely promoted from May onwards with the ASO (Analogue Switch Off) due to happen in 2012.

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