Just a reminder that those watching terrestrial TV in or from the north that BBC2 analogue shuts down permanently next Tuesday night/Wednesday morning (looking at the schedules it'll either be 11.50pm or 12.20am) and will be replaced by a new digital multiplex which will carry all BBC channels in standard definition at high power. Relays will also broadcast digital for the first time so if you haven't received Freeview up until then and still rely on analogue you'll be able to now have at least part of the service. Majority of viewers should be able to view this new multiplex from 6am but those at some relays might have to wait until mid-afternoon before they become available. If you currently have Freeview reception you will have to retune on the Wednesday or you'll lose some BBC Channels (BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, CbbC and BBC News at least).
Two weeks later is the big analogue switch off across all of Ireland - in the north all remaining analogue TV is shut down, and new full-power multiplexes will take their place, including one multiplex that will carry HD services (BBC1, BBC HD, UTV HD, 4HD and another future service) which will be available at all transmitters and relays. The commercial multiplexes will remain only being broadcast at the main transmitters (no relays) and anyone who currently receives them should still get them though there might be a few problems in parts of Tyrone & Fermanagh. The RTÉ mini multiplex will also fire up on this date which should be available to many across the north (the north coast being a general exception) especially if they can't get Saorview though it will only carry RTÉ1, RTÉ2 and TG4 in SD. The RTÉ mini multiplex and HD multiplex require a Freeview HD receiver to watch - Freeview (non-HD) and Saorview receivers won't receive them. The switch-off and conversion to full digital service will follow a similar pattern to the first stage two weeks before - analogue channels shut around midnight, majority of viewers should be able to tune in by morning time but a few will have to wait until mid-afternoon. Again a retune of Freeview receivers are required.
In the south on the same day the analogue TV broadcasts of RTÉ1, RTÉ2, TV3 and TG4 will shut down at approx. 10.00am. The Saorview transmission network is almost complete and most viewers won't have to perform retunes with a few exceptions - in the south-east, viewers receiving from the Mount Leinster transmitter will see their current frequency for Saorview broadcasts move from channel 45 to channel 23 - they'll be a brief simulcast period before the transmission on channel 45 is switched off. That should improve coverage and reception particularly along the coastline where Welsh signals interfere on the same channel. Secondly the Clermont Carn transmitter in Louth will also change frequency from channel 53 to 52 (with a short simulcast period) and the new Saorview broadcasts on channel 52 will come from the current analogue TV aerial meaning that Saorview coverage in the north will significantly increase, but parts of the south especially around north County Dublin should also have an improved service. Both these new frequencies should be transmitting on the 24th from around lunchtime or mid-afternoon.
In the north if you, a relation or a friend is 75 or over, or is eligible for certain disability benefits they can avail of the Switchover Help Scheme. If you are eligible you should have already received a letter from them, more info is available from www.helpscheme.co.uk