Ireland currently has four national TV networks - RTÉ 1 (mixed language), Network 2 (mixed language), TV3 (English language only) and TG4 (Original content language, with English language subtitling). A limited number of RTÉ programmes are transmitted in wide screen format on a trial basis.
Most households in urban areas subscribe to cable TV, and this provides a range of television from neighbouring countries including England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain - as well as the USA (CNN and CNBC). RTÉ1 TV and TG4 also carry the Euronews service at various times, using the English language soundtrack only.
See the Cablelink web site for information on cable TV services in the Dublin area. CMI provide Cable TV in the North Dublin areas of Swords and Malahide, using fibre optic technology and provide two-way internet access.
Information on RTÉ's plans for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) can be found here
Wireless cable (using a microwave MMDS system) provides cable TV service to non-urban locations. FM radio is also distributed over cable. NICAM digital stereo sound is available on most TV programmes, except in the Cork area where the ageing cable TV system does not provide a NICAM digital signal.
Aertel Teletext is carried on both TV networks, providing free, on demand, text based news, weather, TV programming, sports, etc. A limited range of pages from this service is also available on the WWW.
The following Aertel Teletext pages provide timely information of interest to visitors. If your hotel room has a teletext TV, go to the RTÉ1 channel and press the "Text" button on the remote control. Then enter the required page number:
- Entertainment / What's on P 170
- Theatre P330
- News P102
- TV schedule listings P170
- Weather P161
- Airport information P570
- Buses P520
- Ferries P500
Subtitles for many TV programmes are available on teletext P888.
Travel 106,8 FM provides a dedicated automated traffic information service for the Dublin metro area.
Cork City has its own TV station called "The Local Channel".
TV schedules can be found here.
Northern Ireland has no television network of its own, and depends on the five English terrestrial channels for a television service. Television services from the Republic of Ireland are only available near frontier areas.
A new analog cable TV system (operated by the British cable tv company NTL ) which serves urban areas in Northern Ireland, provides a limited selection of mainly British TV and Radio programming as well as analog telephone services to subscribers.
Satellite TV and Radio
All the European satellite TV services can be received throughout Ireland using either a dish or via a cable TV operator.
There are two "constellations" of hot bird satellites - Astra and Eutelsat, which provide a strong signal requiring a small aperture dish (typically 60-80cms). About 500 channels of digital television and radio is available from the Continental networks via the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellite - with programming in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portugese, Greek, Swiss German and Dutch.
Details of satellite TV and radio services on the Astra and Eutelsat Hot Bird satellites can be found below:
Eutelsat Hot Bird 1
Terrestrial Radio Services
Ireland has six national radio networks - RTÉ Radio 1 (news, current affairs, chat shows, some music), RTÉ Radio 2 (popular music), RTÉ FM3 (classical), Lyric FM (classical), Today FM and Radio na Gaeltachta (Irish language service). Both FM and AM are used to distribute these
services. RTÉ Radio 1 is also available on the Astra satellite across Europe, and on the WWW. See here for information on RTÉ radio services on the WWW, via shortwave, intercontinental satellite and telephone. There are numerous local radio stations around the country. Atlantic 252 is a commercial popular music station which broadcasts from Ireland on long wave (ie low frequency AM, 252khz, which provides international coverage, targeted at the British market).
FM radio signals broadcast by RTÉ and most local radio stations incorporate RDS (radio data service) signals. RDS provides a text display of each station's name and / or programme details, and provides a table of frequencies to the radio receiver for each station so that
car radios can automatically re-tune to the strongest signal as the vehicle moves across the countryside. RDS signals can also alert the driver to traffic problem reports by turning up the radio and temporarily pausing other in-car entertainment (eg CD or tape), while the traffic report is broadcast.