Ireland’s free-to-air platform continues to grow with two new services from TG 4 launching in September.
Following technical changes to Saorview earlier this year, TG 4 + 1 and children’s channel Cúla 4 will be launching on multiplex 2 on Friday 8th September.
But viewers with Saorview can already access pre-launch captions by selecting channel 14 or 18.
TG 4 + 1 will launch on channel 14, while Cúla 4 will launch on channel 18, right next door to RTÉJr, becoming the second children’s channel to be available on the platform.
Despite the addition of these two services, there is still enough capacity for a further service to launch in the future.
Viewers in Northern Ireland may also be able to receive the new TG 4 services, but may need to retune their Freeview sets. UK Freeview TVs will display Saorview channels in the 800s where overspill reception is possible in Northern Ireland.
In the meantime, RTÉ has been busily moving some of its radio services from Saorview multiplex 1 to 2. Services including RTÉ Pulse and RTÉ Chill are currently broadcast twice. The old versions of the channels have a full stop after their name and will be removed in due course.
After a static first decade since launch, the last two years has seen the arrival of Sky News, Challenge, Virgin Media Four and the HD launch of TG 4.
Saorview is also testing HbbTV as a replacement for MHEG-5 for text-based services as well as DVB-I.
RTÉ recently demonstrated a DVB-I proof of concept, whereby three DVB-I IP channels appeared on channels 9 – 11 on test devices. However, the tests were not available to a wider audience.
DVB-I will allow RTÉ and other broadcasters to start offering services delivered by either fixed broadband networks or 5G Broadcast in the future.
This will have two possible outcomes: viewers may be able to seamlessly move from traditional terrestrial broadcasts to online streams within the same channel list.
Alternatively, the entire Saorview service could be delivered by IP to viewers who don’t have a TV aerial or who are outside of terrestrial coverage, but do have a broadband internet connection. This could remove the need for Saorsat in the medium to long-term.
In the UK, Freeview has recently soft-launched a similar concept for BBC HD channels delivered via the iPlayer on compatible Freeview Play devices on channels 301 – 303 and 501 – 502.
Unlike the HbbTV-based streaming channels found between Freeview channel 260 – 299, DVB-I services can’t be seen on non-compatible devices.
PICTURED: Saorview and TG 4 logos. COPYRIGHT: Saorview/Teilifís na Gaeilge.