Free-to-air digital television service to be launched today

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte is launching Ireland's new free-to-air digital television service today.

Irish households will need to switch to Saorview by the end of 2012, as the old analogue television signal is switched off across the EU.

Unlike analogue television, Saorview requires a set-top-box (which costs about €100) or integrated digital television with a built-in receiver to decode the digital signal that comes through an aerial.

To receive Saorview, householders need to connect their set-top-box to their aerial and television.

For most households currently receiving analogue television through a rooftop aerial, the total cost of making the switch to Saorview will be the c€100 paid for an approved set-top-box that can be installed by householders.

"(The €100 cost) is likely to drop as more approved set-top-boxes enter the market and as volume increases," according to the Saorview website.

Pat Rabbitte will launch the service at RTE's headquarters in Dublin this morning.

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