Northern Ireland (Ulster – UTV)

The Northern Ireland / Ulster TV region started its digital switchover on 10 October 2012 and completed switchover on 24 October 2012. After switchover was completed everyone in the Northern Ireland / Ulster TV region was able to receive digital TV via Freeview, or via other digital TV platforms such as Virgin Media and Sky.

The Republic of Ireland has its own digital terrestrial television service, this digital TV platform is called “Saorview”.

Switchover dates for Northern Ireland TV region

The digital switchover in the Northern Ireland Ulster TV region followed a switchover schedule published by Digital UK and RTÉNL. The Northern Ireland Ulster TV region is divided by 3 transmitter groups, which meant not all Northern Ireland households were switched over to a digital TV signal at the same time – the actual analogue switch off and reception of the digital TV signal was dependent upon the transmitter group that was nearest to you. Even while digital switchover has now been completed, there may still be upgrades or maintenance activities for the Northern Ireland Ulster TV region and as such it is recommended to check the DigitalUK and RTÉNL website for any updates.

Area served
Brougher Mtn
South West Northern Ireland
24 October 2012
Belfast area
24 October 2012
North West Northern Ireland
24 October 2012

Receiving Freeview Digital TV in Northern Ireland

To be able to receive Freeview on your television you require an aerial (antenna) and a television with a built in digital tuner or you can get a set-top-box that you can connect via HDMI to your HDTV or via SCART for an older (CRT) television. To compare packages of other digital TV providers such Virgin Media, Sky and BT, check the compare section of this website [coming soon].

Receiving Saorview Digital TV in the Republic of Ireland

Saorview is a free digital television service in the Republic of Ireland. Like Freeview in Northern Ireland, Saorview uses a technology whereby the signal is broadcast from transmission masts throughout the country. The digital terrestrial television (DTT) signal can be received through a standard TV aerial with a set-top-box or a integrated digital television (iDTV).

Consumers should be aware that the majority of UK “Freeview” boxes and iDTVs will not work in the Republic of Ireland and as such not able to present the Saorview service! There may be an overlap in services between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in particular when living in a border region, however differences in technology may limit you from receiving the other service.

Please check the Saorview website ( for the latest information of the available Saorview products and the digital switchover in the Republic of Ireland.


For the reception of any kind of digital terrestrial television you will need an aerial. The type of aerial may vary based on your location and that of the transmitter. In some instances an indoor aerial is already enough; in more rural areas you may require an external aerial. A “digital aerial” or “analogue aerial” doesn’t exist – there may be small differences between each aerial that makes one aerial better than another but there is no such thing as a digital aerial.


As result of upgrades or for instance channel line-up changes, you may be required to re-tune your digital TV receiver. This re-tune allows the digital receiver to search / locate the channels. It is an easy process for which more information is available at the FAQ section of this website.

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