The Cush Registered User
#1

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)".


DCENR is seeking applications from interested parties for the provision of services to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in respect of a robust and verifiable quantitative analysis of the current geographic and demographic television reception mechanisms in Ireland.
The aim of the work is to provide a report on the TV reception methods in Ireland (with particular emphasis on analogue terrestrial television). In order to prepare the report research must be undertaken that will involve the use of surveys and these surveys must use sampling in such a way that it is sufficiently large to support a significant amount of sub analysis by target grouping and further detailed assessment. It is envisaged that the margin of error will be less than, maximum, +/- 3%.

The final report will
(i) 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)
(ii) inform the analogue switchover policy
(iii) deepen market information in relation to DTT services

1.2. Required Services
1. Development of a TV household questionnaire aimed at finding answers to the following:
a. numbers of TV households nationally that use the different types of television reception methods;
b. numbers of TV households nationally who rely on analogue terrestrial television as their primary method of TV reception, as a function of location;
c. socio-economic circumstances of these analogue only TV households;
d. the ability of these analogue only TV households to upgrade to a digital television service;
e. information on the type of aerial used by these households;
f. the number and location of TV households where some form of assistance may be required in the upgrade to digital; and
g. the type of assistance that such houses may need to upgrade to a digital service.

2. Establishment and maintenance of a national TV user panel:
a. Advise to the Department on the optimum number of participants for this type of survey;
b. Selection of demographic and geographic areas from which the participants can be selected;
c. recruitment of survey households;

3. Conduct Survey (if most suitable approach)

4. The collection and analysis of data from the participants and the questionnaire;

5. On completion, the consultant will be expected to submit the following within 6 weeks after contract award:
• An executive summary
• A final evidence based and detailed Report, summarising the findings of the questionnaire and analysing these findings
• Conduct a presentation to relevant Departmental officials / Minister following completion of the report

The information submitted in the report must be provided in word/excel format.
The progress of the project will be reviewed on an ongoing basis by the Department and the successful tenderer will be expected to accommodate this.
The Department shall, if required, have access to the primary data and retains the right to use this primary data and analysis resulting from the survey as it sees fit.

http://www.e-tenders.gov.ie/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=AUG164895



This from today's Irish Times

Study seeks to support switch to digital TV
GENEVIEVE CARBERY

Fri, Aug 13, 2010

THE GOVERNMENT is seeking to discover if it will need to financially assist analogue television households for the digital switchover in late 2012.

A survey to establish the type of households still reliant on the old-style analogue television signal is to be commissioned by the Department of Communications.

The audit will come ahead of the move to digital television and the switching off of the terrestrial analogue signal in December 2012. This will mainly affect households that do not already subscribe to satellite or cable services.

The socioeconomic circumstances of analogue households and their ability to upgrade to digital television will be among the topics in the questionnaire.

The department also wants to know the number and location of households that may need assistance to upgrade to digital.

The report’s aim is to help the Department of Communications to develop and deploy “supportive policy interventions/options in the move” from analogue to digital television, the survey tender document said.

A spokesman for the department said the tender did not imply that the department was going to financially assist people in the changeover.

The department had to establish “if there are issues”. Depending on the research results, the department may have to see if there is something it can do for people, the spokesman said.

Other issues which the survey will be seeking to assess include the number of Irish households that use different types of television reception methods. The report is expected to cost some €50,000 and went to public tender yesterday.

Over one-fifth (350,000) of Irish households rely on analogue terrestrial television, with the rest relying on cable and satellite, according to a department estimate.

Separately, Fine Gael called on Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan to provide vouchers to people on low incomes to help them with the cost of buying a digital box or satellite dish if they needed one.

Fine Gael communications spokesman Leo Varadkar said the switchover would not only affect analogue households but would also affect households with a second television which is not linked to cable or satellite.

Mr Varadkar also called for a public awareness campaign in responding to a survey published by ComReg earlier this week, which revealed that just four in 10 people were aware of the analogue switch-off,

The British government funded a digital switchover scheme for its television migration which will be completed by 2012.

The British scheme funds or partially funds the equipment (usually a set-top box) and set up assistance for digital television for people over 75 and others in receipt of disability benefit.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0813/1224276712785.html



The Comreg survey(s) that Leo Varadkar refer to are attached

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The Cush Registered User
#2

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.

markmagennis said:
The Dept of Communications has today issued a request for tenders for research into the current geographic and demographic television reception mechanisms in Ireland, with particular emphasis on analogue terrestrial.

They intend this research to inform their switchover policy, in particular concerning the provision of "supportive policy interventions/options".

I wonder what kind of interventions people here would expect to see? I'm thinking along the lines of information, setup assistance and even financial help in the form of subsidies for those people who find it difficult to make the switch or difficult to afford it due to issues like disability, poverty or special circumstances that require equipment or expenditure above the norm.

I'm particularly interested in this area from the perspective of social inclusion. Continued access to television at an affordable price is essential for full social inclusion and the enforced requirement for people to acquire, install and learn to use new digital equipment and services presents a significant barrier to many people who are older, disabled and/or on low incomes.

I lead a coalition of organisations from across the disability, aging and poverty sectors in Ireland - TV Access. We have been campaigning on this issue for some time. One of the things we're asking for is a well-funded, far reaching and inclusive programme of information and assistance for those who find it difficult to make the switch for financial or practical (e.g. due to disability) reasons.

Having met with various people within the Department (including the Minister and his predecessor), the Oireachtas Committee members, the BCI, RTÉ, Boxer, OneVision, etc. we aren't really any the wiser about what to expect along these lines. We know not to expect anything like the UK's Digital Switchover Help Scheme, but something in that direction is clearly necessary.

There seem to be quite a few people on this board with a degree of experience and insight about public broadcasting and the policy environment so I would be very interested in hearing opinions about what level of switchover support for vulnerable consumers is possible or likely, given the current restrictive economic climate.

Any thoughts on this important issue?

Mark


TV Access previously made a presentation to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications.

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markmagennis Registered User
#3

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.

Mark

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almighty1 Banned
#4

THE GOVERNMENT is seeking to discover if it will need to financially assist analogue television households for the digital switchover in late 2012.


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

Sponge Bob Banned
#5

Thanks Cush ( and Mark)

I am heartened that 4 out of 10 are already 'aware', I thought it would be half that TBH

#6

almighty1 said:
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


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.

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watty Registered User
#7

I think

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".

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The Cush Registered User
#8

markmagennis said:
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.

Mark


It happens, 5 mins or so between our respective posts. Of course you know what they say about great minds etc.

Sponge Bob said:
Thanks Cush ( and Mark)

I am heartened that 4 out of 10 are already 'aware', I thought it would be half that TBH


I too was surprised by that figure, there may be hope for the switchover yet, economics aside.

jobyrne30 said:
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.

...
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.


The money for this could be recovered from the planned sale of the digital dividend (upper UHF band) spectrum. The Minister said in April

By extrapolating from a recent European study, the value of the digital dividend to Ireland is expected to be between €2 billion and €10 billion, over 15 years. In this regard, it is vital for Ireland’s economic health that this spectrum is released as early as possible.

lucernarian Registered User
#9

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.

watty Registered User
#10

I think that is why they are doing the survey. They know that having Satellite or Cable doesn't mean no Terrestrial TV.

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lucernarian Registered User
#11

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.

Sam Russell Moderator
#12

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.

watty Registered User
#13

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.

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#14

watty said:
there is no quality increase on Digital over a GOOD Analogue signal,


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

Sam Russell Moderator
#15

watty said:
All Downconverting to SCART boxes have HDMI too.

2 & 3 is same setbox basically, just different connector used.



No, there are scart only boxes that plug into the back of the TV that are quite cheap compared to the normal box.

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