20 December 2010, London -- The Digital TV Group (DTG), the industry association for digital television in the UK, has welcomed the joint UK and Ireland government statement on the transmission of RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) and TG4 (Teilifís na Gaeilge) services in Northern Ireland, which will see a new Irish multiplex carried in Northern Ireland using the technical standard at the core of the UK's Freeview HD service.
The DTG has worked closely with the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Business Innovation and Skills, Ofcom and the Irish Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to ensure that the widespread availability of the Irish language television station TG4 in Northern Ireland continues post digital switchover. DTG representatives met with the Irish Government on Friday to discuss the technical interoperability of the new multiplex.
In addition to carrying TG4, this multiplex, which will be part of the UK digital terrestrial television (DTT) system, will carry RTÉ 1 and RTÉ 2. It is hoped that this will further increase the coverage of these channels in Northern Ireland, enabling approximately 90% of the population in Northern Ireland to receive their services on a free-to-air basis, either through overspill or via the new multiplex.
The DTG looks forward to working with Digital UK and Freeview to deliver clear consumer messaging to ensure that Northern Irish viewers understand that integrated digital televisions, set-top boxes and digital television recorders carrying the Freeview HD logo will receive these services. The DTG will also work with all stakeholders to ensure the same receivers can receive overspill of Republic of Ireland services, which use the Nordig specification and MPEG 4.
The DVB-T2 mode chosen for the new multiplex is QPSK rate 5/6, details of which are defined in the D-Book. DTG Testing, the industry's interoperability test house, already tests that Freeview HD receivers functionally operate in this mode and the DTG RF Group has been asked to define performance parameters with a view to including these in future test requirements.
"The DTG welcomes this announcement and the strong progress that the UK and Irish Governments and regulators have made on delivering RTÉ and TG4 services to Northern Irish viewers," said Richard Lindsay-Davies, Director General, Digital TV Group.
"The new multiplex will deliver additional services to 90% of the population in Northern Ireland on a free-to-air basis and as the multiplex will use an existing D-Book mode for functional testing, we are confident that all DTG tested Freeview HD products will work with this mode. We look forward to working closely with Digital UK, Freeview, Dmol and Intellect and CAI, the trade bodies for consumer electronics and aerial installers, to ensure viewers in Northern Ireland make informed purchasing decisions and buy television equipment that we know will interoperate with cross-border signals."
The DTG will provide members with further technical interoperability information in early 2011.
In the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in April 1998, the UK Government undertook to explore the scope for achieving more widespread availability of the Irish language television station, Teilifis na Gaeilige (TG4) in Northern Ireland. The UK Government fulfilled this commitment by the construction of a new transmitter at Divis. This, combined with the analogue overspill signal from transmitters in Ireland, means that TG4 is currently available on a free-to-air basis to approximately 60% of the population in Northern Ireland.
Once the analogue signals in Northern Ireland and Ireland are switched off by the end of 2012, arrangements need to be put in place to enable TG4 to be received in a digital form. Following a broad range of technical work, the two Governments have now agreed that the most effective way to provide for the continuing provision of TG4 is by building a new, low power TV multiplex in Northern Ireland.
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Hannah Langston, Press and Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)20 7501 4300
The Digital TV Group (DTG) is the focal point of the UK's digital TV industry. The Group, a not-for-profit membership organisation, brings the industry together to enable the successful delivery and evolution of digital TV and associated technologies.
The DTG publishes and maintains the technical specification for the UK's Freeview and Freeview HD platforms and Connected TV (the D-Book) and runs the digital television industry's test centre: DTG Testing.
To encourage international harmonisation, the DTG is engaged with ETSI, HbbTV, DVB and the Open IPTV Forum. The DTG allows Digital Europe to use areas of its copyright under licence.
DTG Testing tests digital TV products applying for the Freeview, Freeview+ and Freeview HD logos against the D-Book standard.
DTG Testing also manages the Engineering Channel for continuous maintenance of the UK's Freeview and Freesat platforms, and maintains a receiver collection for testing new transmission modes and software downloads.
The DTG and DTG Testing supports the development and deployment of next generation technologies such as LTE (4G), TV white spaces, second screen and home networking.