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JKDerry1,901 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
The aerials needed to pick up UTV/HTV were giant, so tall that Dublin was allegedly officially an air navigation hazard (I am not sure to what extent that is an urban myth). Regardless Dublin was cabled very early and ironically RTÉ was one of the major driving forces in that, through its RTÉ Relays subsidiary which evolved into Cablelink. It’s hard to explain now just how dominant Cablelink was in pay-TV in Dublin. If you lived in Dublin in the late 1980s or 1990s, and your area was cabled (and most estates of any length established were), chances are that you had Cablelink and so did practically all of your neighbours. It’s why Sky One probably had a greater penetration in Ireland than it did in the UK in the analogue era - it was practically treated as the fifth UK terrestrial over here in a way it wouldn’t have been in the UK itself.

So when Channel 4 launched in November 1982, did that automatically come onto the cable platform in Ireland?

It is amazing how cable television was so much present in Ireland than in the UK during the 70s and 80s.
rdd3,401 posts since 21 Jun 2001
In Dublin, yes. It replaced HTV in areas where it was being carried as a second ITV service alongside UTV.

However, during the 1980s and 1990s if you lived in the south or southeast and were lucky enough to have cable you’d have received HTV and S4C (remember, still at that point a service which carried timeshifted C4 programmes) instead of UTV and Channel 4. These mostly moved over to UTV and Channel 4 in the 1990s as Irish Multichannel, who provided cable services in Cork and Limerick, put in place infrastructure to do this when MMDS was developed. By the early 2000s only a handful of towns on the east coast still carried HTV and S4C and they changed when digital was introduced. (Dungarvan, Co Waterford may have been a hold out, they had a local operator which was only acquired by Virgin Media last year).
London Lite10,710 posts since 4 Jan 2003
London London
It’s why Sky One probably had a greater penetration in Ireland than it did in the UK in the analogue era - it was practically treated as the fifth UK terrestrial over here in a way it wouldn’t have been in the UK itself.


Unless you lived in an area of Ireland that had overlap coverage either from NI or Wales, the choice was very limited, so it's no surprise that when Sky launched, it gave those viewers who didn't have cable a much wider choice of programming than they had from RTÉ.

It makes the choice British viewers had wider in comparison on analogue terrestrial.

Irish TV still isn't that great when you consider that to get Virgin Media channels in Full HD, you have to subscribe to VM to get them, otherwise it's SD on DTT and RTÉ is 1440x1080 in HD is as good as it gets for DTT viewers, it's an improvement of sorts.
chinamug457 posts since 29 Jul 2013
UTV Newsline
It’s why Sky One probably had a greater penetration in Ireland than it did in the UK in the analogue era - it was practically treated as the fifth UK terrestrial over here in a way it wouldn’t have been in the UK itself.


Unless you lived in an area of Ireland that had overlap coverage either from NI or Wales, the choice was very limited, so it's no surprise that when Sky launched, it gave those viewers who didn't have cable a much wider choice of programming than they had from RTÉ.

It makes the choice British viewers had wider in comparison on analogue terrestrial.

Irish TV still isn't that great when you consider that to get Virgin Media channels in Full HD, you have to subscribe to VM to get them, otherwise it's SD on DTT and RTÉ is 1440x1080 in HD is as good as it gets for DTT viewers, it's an improvement of sorts.


In many ways, Ireland was very bizarre when it came to TV in the early 80's. In about 65% of the country, viewers had a way more choice than UK viewers, in 35% of the country they had a lot less.
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rdd and London Lite gave kudos
rdd3,401 posts since 21 Jun 2001
It has had an impact in the digital era though to the point where “digital TV = Pay TV” was effectively the mantra. There wasn’t originally going to be either a Saorview or Saorsat in Ireland’s digital plans and Saorview only came about after two attempts to run DTT as a primarily pay operation both failed and Ireland was facing a DSO deadline (I know that DTT in the UK was also originally a pay-TV service). You’ve got a 60 Channel Freeview service and even more on Freesat. We have ten channels on Saorview and even channels that are FTA in the UK are only officially available here on pay TV (the most bizarre example being FreeSports, which is actually Irish!).

That’s not to say that there’s not widespread viewing of UK FTA/Freesat in Ireland, of course, but it’s come about with zero promotion save by individual dealers on a local level, no official receivers in Irish shops (except Maplin), and dismissed by broadcasters and authorities alike as mere “overspill”.
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London Lite gave kudos
JKDerry1,901 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
It seems that the best way for Irish people to access the main UK free-to-air channels is via Freesat or if they want subscription too then Sky. It must be hard for homes which are pure cable, as I never realised how restricted their choice of channels would be.

Freesat, which I have, provides all the UK channels and more, with a proper EPG, whereas you have to tune in all the ITV and Channel 5 channels if you have Sky, meaning you can't record any of their content, but at least you do have access, unlike those with Virgin Media, Eir TV or Vodafone TV.

I wonder why the two broadband providers Eir and Vodafone never bothered to provide the ITV channels on their platform, surely they could have arranged a carriage deal?

It still amazes me how widespread cable television was in Ireland. I also read that in many areas without cable, UHF transmitters called "deflectors" would rebroadcast the four main UK channels, via a voluntary annual subscription - WOW!

So, this meant for example, people in County Cork, by the time I was born in 1985, could receive the four main UK channels either in cable or through the air via a simple UHF aerial and voluntary payment - the Cork people must have been very happy with that arrangement.
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London Lite gave kudos
rdd3,401 posts since 21 Jun 2001

I wonder why the two broadband providers Eir and Vodafone never bothered to provide the ITV channels on their platform, surely they could have arranged a carriage deal


Vodafone TV is the easier one to answer, because it launched after UTV Ireland, so the option of carrying ITV was no longer there. I have no idea why eir Vision (originally eVision) never did a deal, though they did have UTV Ireland while it existed.

Virgin Media still to this day has ITV3&4, the only major Irish provider that does so. They also had ITV2 until they took over UTV Ireland, at which point they dropped it because it was competing too closely with what was then still 3e.
bkman19901,295 posts since 29 Jan 2012
UTV Newsline
David McCullough had mentioned at the end of Prime Time tonight that it will get a brand new studio, presumably with new titles, an extended programme & an online BTS programme on RTÉ Player from Tuesday the 1st of October.
AJB3952 posts since 10 Aug 2019 new member
ITV3 and ITV4 are the only channels now from ITV on Virgin Ireland?

Yep I’m a customer and we get ITV 3 and 4. However a lot of the sport on ITV 4 is blacked out for copyright reasons. For instance the Rugby World Cup matches on ITV 4 are blacked out as Eir Sport have the rights in Ireland. As mentioned in a previous post we used to have ITV 2 but it was removed as many of its programmes are carried on the Virgin Media channels.
JKDerry1,901 posts since 15 Oct 2016
UTV Newsline
ITV3 and ITV4 are the only channels now from ITV on Virgin Ireland?

Yep I’m a customer and we get ITV 3 and 4. However a lot of the sport on ITV 4 is blacked out for copyright reasons. For instance the Rugby World Cup matches on ITV 4 are blacked out as Eir Sport have the rights in Ireland. As mentioned in a previous post we used to have ITV 2 but it was removed as many of its programmes are carried on the Virgin Media channels.

Strange though, as ITV Sport on those channels would probably be unblocked if you had Sky or Freesat?