Saorsat Digital Television


Due to the topography of Ireland, some areas of the island have always been difficult to reach via terrestrial transmission. This is because terrestrial signals tend to travel in a line of sight and do not follow the curvature of the earth, navigate mountains easily or penetrate into valleys.

In the past this has meant that some Irish homes were unable to avail of Irish Public Service Broadcasts.

In February 2012, RTÉ Transmission Network put in place a satellite in-fill solution which provided free to air (FTA) Irish public service broadcasting directly to the viewer’s home (DTH) via our Saorsat solution. This platform delivered (for the first time) Irish television and radio services to the 1 – 2% of homes not covered by our Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasts due to the islands topography.

The services currently delivered on Saorsat are:

How do I get SAORSAT?

To receive SAORSAT you will need to either install a new satellite dish or modify and re-align an existing dish to face in the right direction to receive the SAORSAT service. Therefore, the services of a professional installer will almost certainly be involved.

In the vast majority of cases, existing satellite installations are set up to receive pay or free-to-air UK services and will NOT receive SAORSAT.

To receive SAORSAT you will need the following:

1. A Satellite Dish
A solid satellite dish is required for SAORSAT. A perforated mesh dish will not work. In some parts of the country a standard 80cm solid dish will work, but in many areas in the North West, and South West of Ireland you will need a 1 metre dish. A good quality satellite dish should cost no more than €35. Talk to your local installer for the best specific advice for your area.

2. Low Noise Block down converter – Feedhorn (LNBF)
In addition to a suitable dish, a KA-Band LNBF is required. LNBF is the unit that sits on the end of the support arm, in front of the satellite dish. You need an LNBF capable of receiving the SAORSAT specific frequencies. A good quality LNBF should cost no more than €35. Your local aerial / satellite installer will know all about this.

3. Set Top Box
SAORSAT Approved receivers are the only receivers that have been independently tested for SAORSAT compliance. SAORSAT receivers can be purchased from a number of retailers across the country. You can use the retailer search on the Saorview website to find retailers near to you and ask them if they stock SAORSAT Approved receivers.

4. Installation
The cost of installation will vary depending on the complexity of the job and depending on your location in the country. For an average two-storey house or bungalow, 40 km round trip and 1-year warranty, an installation by a competent system installer would cost around €200 fully installed (dish, LNBF, chimney / wall bracket, cable-surface clipped, and installation).

A service call to fit a new LNBF to a suitable existing satellite dish, re-direct the satellite dish to the SAORSAT satellite, and check over the rest of the installation will cost somewhere between €70 and €100 (+€35 if it includes the supply of the LNBF).

With any installation if you are disconnecting an old or different aerial or satellite dish and the installer can use the existing cables the cost should drop significantly. However, using existing cables is not ideal as it is better to replace old material with new double-screened cable. This will ensure that the installation is more reliable as new cable will last longer than old cable.

Get even more free channels!

As you will be using a satellite dish and satellite receiver for SAORSAT, you can also use this equipment to receive other free-to-air channels on satellite, with the addition of an extra LNBF. Your retailer or installer can advise you on getting this set up. This means you will be able to get Irish and UK / Continental channels with no monthly cost!

Consult your local retailer or installer for advice on the best SAORSAT solution for you, and be sure to get quotes for any work before proceeding and ask for a guarantee.