Following on from a recent discussion on an ASO help scheme and yesterday's Drivetime radio programme the Dept of Communications has launched a tender to collect information for a report on TV reception methods in Ireland (with particular emphasis on analogue terrestrial television).
The report, amongst other things is to "inform the Department in how best to develop and deploy supportive policy interventions/options in the move from analogue terrestrial television (ATT) to digital terrestrial television (DTT)".
This from today's Irish Times
The Comreg survey(s) that Leo Varadkar refer to are attached
markmagennis (Dr. Mark Magennis) of TV Access has also posted similar in another thread - Support for people in making the switch to digital. TV Access press release - Government researching need for switchover assistance.
Can I suggest to mods to merge the two threads to avoid splitting the the discussion between the two threads.
TV Access previously made a presentation to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications.
Thanks for posting that info Cush, I was busy writing my own post at the time so didn't see it. Also useful to get the link to the previous discussion which I was unaware of and which provides some of the opinion and info I was looking for.
Firstly I know that digital is being forced on the good public and that by paying our TV license that we are entitled to a terrestrial service.
BUT in fairness, the government shouldnt make themselves accountable to assist households when the countries finances are already in a dire state.
If somebody wants terrestrial then go out and spend €100 on a STB and an aerial. Otherwise its an improved service for free
Thanks Cush ( and Mark)
I am heartened that 4 out of 10 are already 'aware', I thought it would be half that TBH
There are social groups of people in this country who don't have €100 to spend on a STB and an aerial, and I'm not referring to newly/recently unemployed or those affected by the economic downturn. Access to DTT services should not come at a cost for those people.
DTT will be cheaper to broadcast than analogue so any initial expense of funding equipment in the change over should be covered by the government and can be offset against the future cheaper running cost of DTT.
Outside of the equipment funding some people will need to be shown and re-assured about the use of the new DTT equipment. To be honest from my experience of changing over services for some elderly relatives little training may be required, for them it's a still the case of turning on the TV and STB and selecting the channel they want to watch. Some people with special needs will require extra training , in what form the training comes need to be decided and the cost as above should be covered by the government.
Success of the Switch Over depends on:
- How good any info campaign is.
- TVs and Setboxes in shops with Saorview sticker at good price.
- One free box for anyone on Medical Card (i..e Means tested need).
- No snags in rollout of 51 DTT sites
- Successful timely launch and Commission of Kasat to feed some sites, backup feed all sites and DTH Saorsat for 2% to 8% that can't get DTT Soarview.
- Free dish and cable install for ANYONE outside official DTT reception.
The cynic view?
DTT is not primarily about having more free (or Pay) channels via the aerial. It's about the "Digital Dividend". That is Government making money flogging Spectrum and Mobile or other Wireless Voice/Data operators making money selling stuff to public.
Since this is ultimately to suit Government and Mobile Operators who will both make money from it, it's not like B&W to Colour change over. Apart from "Widescreen" which was largely to sell new TV sets, there is no quality increase on Digital over a GOOD Analogue signal, though it's possible. In fact the Bit Rates will be set to a quality just slightly below a perfect Analogue Picture as a compromise between improving quality and the same. Actually the switch to WideScreen has already reduced the quality of a perfect analogue signal as the Widescreen Digital image is cropped and resampled thus resulting in lower Analogue quality than if source was still 4:3. Widescreen should have been on HD only and then there would have not been degraded 4:3 and double upgrades of TV and broadcast equipement.
So for everyone with a Widescreen TV, DTT will be a real upgrade in quality, but only because of Widescreen. It will allow over the next year an increase in HD content on Irish TV, via Saorview and Saorsat.
It will be almost theft from tax payer if the aforementioned compensations at least don't occur as the Government has put almost no funding in DTT rollout and will make Millions in Revenue from "Digital Dividend".
It happens, 5 mins or so between our respective posts. Of course you know what they say about great minds etc.
I too was surprised by that figure, there may be hope for the switchover yet, economics aside.
The money for this could be recovered from the planned sale of the digital dividend (upper UHF band) spectrum. The Minister said in April
I would be very concerned that people who use an aerial everywhere but in the one room where there's a sky/UPC box will not be considered as dependent on aerial reception. I don't think many people will want to start taking out multiroom subscriptions because of ASO. This is particularly true if any study would think that having a freesat/FTA system means that they have digital equipment and therefore "won't" be affected by ASO.
I think that is why they are doing the survey. They know that having Satellite or Cable doesn't mean no Terrestrial TV.
The cynical side of me thinks there would be a nice temptation to consider people with some form of digital reception in the main as "covered", while they may not have digital RTÉ available in many or all TVs in house. The same department's attitude to what counts as broadband in the upcoming census or on how it assessed coverage for the NGB scheme is very questionable to me.
It all depends on what sort of questions the department are willing to ask in this survey. And in the case of low income earners, it would strike me that any who don't have a TV license will shut their doors to such a survey, even if it's nothing to do with An Post.
Of course, I'm not saying that we should cater for lawbreakers but it is a possibility that results will be skewed by people unwilling to comment on how or if they watch TV. I don't think those on unemployment benefits are entitled to a TV license either but I'm willing to be corrected on that.
If a household receives RTE from an aerial on UHF, they will get DTT from that aerial in nearly all cases. (90%). If they get TG4 and TV3, they are getting that on UHF, so they will get DTT in most cases. Also 60% of households will get DTT on a simple aerial (rabbit ears). So not many aerials needed.
Given that 80% already receive RTE from $ky or NTL, that reduces the problem somewhat. Also, some TVs sold recently are already able to receive DTT.
If STBs are available for €50 or so, there should be little difficulty for the government to offer some sort of subsidy. For example, reduce the VAT on appropriate boxes would go some way - €50 becomes €40.
You can classify TVs into four categories.
1. iDTVs that can get Saorview now. No problem.
2. TVs with HDMI connectors that will get HD Saorview with a STB. Say €100 each, possibly with recording through USB.
3. TVs with SCART connectors that will get Saorview with a down-coverter STB. Say €50 each, perhaps more.
4. TVs without SCART that should be scrapped, or need a STB with a UHF modulator. It is these TVs that are the biggest problem as it is usually the poorest and /or oldest people that will have them. These will need the greatest subsidy, possibly a new TV - say €250, as these TVs generally have small screens.
The survey needs to determine how many are in the fourth category, and determine a policy that will answer their needs.
All Downconverting to SCART boxes have HDMI too.
2 & 3 is same setbox basically, just different connector used.
4 needs identified as setboxes don't have Modulators anymore. However Off the Shelf SCART to RF Modulators exist at under €70. People may want to keep the TV.
Other than the quality improvement owing to true RGB video ?
There are also the benefits associated with having a proper EPG
As for widescreen weve had it for the best part of 20 years now and broadcasters still cant manage to set up 4:3/16;9 signalling properly
No, there are scart only boxes that plug into the back of the TV that are quite cheap compared to the normal box.