TV channels in Ireland are currently available through:
- Digital terrestrial TV /Saorview – no subscription cost
- Cable TV –subscription cost to receive channels
- Digital satellite TV – subscription cost
- Free-to-air satellite TV – no subscription cost, just a one-off cost when you buy it
Cable and satellite subscription charges can vary depending on the number of channels or packages you want to subscribe to.
Digital terrestrial TV / Saorview
Saorview is RTÉ’s digital terrestrial TV service. You can watch this on a Saorview-approved TV or with any older TV once you connect a Saorview set-top box. There is no ongoing subscription cost but you will only receive a limited number of Irish digital TV channels.
‘Free-to-air’ satellite TV
You can buy your own ‘free-to-air’ satellite dish and receiver for a one-off cost and it gives you access to a number of free-to-air European and UK channels. It has no ongoing subscription cost, but you will not receive premium channels such as sports or movies, or any Irish channels.
Cable and digital satellite subscription
Depending on the area and type of home you live in, several other services may be available, including cable and digital satellite.
- Digital satellite TV lets you watch a large number of channels from Ireland and abroad, as well as specialist and premium channels like movies and sports. You can also use additional functions like pausing and rewinding live TV, recording programmes, watching programmes on demand, accessing high definition programmes and films and watching 3D programmes and films. You need a digital satellite and set-top box to get your TV channels in this way, and the service is generally available throughout Ireland. You may also need to have a landline telephone to use digital satellite TV to its full potential.
- Cable TV is a similar service to digital satellite TV and provides many of the same channels and additional features such as recording programmes. It is generally available in larger towns and cities, but not in rural areas.
These are all subscription services, so you usually enter into a contract for a minimum period. You may have to pay for any equipment you need and some suppliers may charge an installation fee. Once it is installed, you pay a bill every month or every two months.
When you are choosing a provider your options may depend on which services are available in your area, and the type of home you have. For example, if you live in an apartment block you may not be allowed put up your own satellite dish, or you may only be able to use a particular cable provider. So check the conditions of your lease or house rules carefully to see what is allowed.
Whatever service or supplier you choose, always check:
- The length of the contract that you are signing up to
- If you are getting an introductory offer, how long does it last and what will the price be after the offer ends?
- Can you change your package later on and would there would be a cost?
- Can you bundle your TV with any other services like broadband or phone?
Remember, if you have a TV, you must also buy a TV licence.