The free-to-air TV service Saorview will be made available via a broadband-connected set-top boxes later this year under a new partnership between RTÉ and UK television platform Freesat.
The new service, which is called Saorview Connect, service will make on-demand content available to viewers via catch-up TV while it will also offer the ability to record programmes.
Saorview, is operated by RTÉ subsidiary 2rn and was set in 2011 as a digital terrestrial television service to replace the analogue television signal. The nine free-to-air channels include all the RTÉ channels in addition to TV3, 3e, UTV Ireland and TG4.
Some 43 per cent of all households with television sets, or 676,000 homes, have Saorview, according to the latest Nielsen figures. Some 186,000 of these homes use it as their only means of accessing television.
“Saorview has come a long way since digital switchover just a few years ago: it is now the largest television platform in Ireland. Saorview Connect will offer viewers a richer experience and, by connecting a Saorview Connect box to broadband, viewers will be able to access a wider range of content. We are pleased to be partnering with Freesat, who have successfully run their connected service in the UK for the last three years. We hope to achieve the same success with Saorview Connect,” says Noel Curran, director general of RTÉ.
Saorview Connect will be based on Freesat’s cloud-based connected television guide solution, Metaphor. The recently launched service for satellite, terrestrial and cable operators is based on Freesat’s Freetime service. Freesat will integrate the Metaphor platform, set-top box application and mobile applications with Saorview’s existing linear service to create the Saorview Connect offering. Freesat will provide the solution as a fully managed service.
There are 676,000 homes in Ireland that currently have Saorview and this represents 43% of all TV homes according to the most recent Nielsen Establishment Survey.
News of Saorview’s added functionality came hot on the heels of the announcement that Vodafone was entering the TV market in Ireland with its own offering to customers as part of a quad play strategy that has been embraced by other telecoms providers.
Vodafone TV will offer a comprehensive digital TV package to customers and it comes on the back of 18 month’s intensive research and development at its Dublin headquarters in collaboration with Vodafone teams from around the world.
According to Ciaran Barrett, head of consumer fixed, Vodafone Ireland, “this is a significant move for Vodafone in the Irish market, offering a full TV service to our customers for the first time. Vodafone TV customers can build their own packages to suit their household needs and enjoy unique features such as Restart TV and Netflix at the touch of a button.”