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Ireland’s RTE launches five new digital terrestrial channels

Irish public broadcaster RTE is launching five new digital terrestrial channels including a high definition network and a new kids channel.

The broadcaster is launching kids channel RTEjr, news channel RTE News Now, catch up channel RTE One+1, a high definition version of RTE Two and RTÉ Aertel Digital on DTT platform Saorview at the end of May.

However, rival commercial broadcaster TVE said that the move would increase RTE’s dominance in the market. “These newly approved channels will extend RTÉ’s dominance in media when it is already the most dominant State broadcaster in Europe. This decision extends RTÉ’s reach and will be at the direct cost of jobs and investment across all Irish media,” it said in a statement.

The Irish digital terrestrial service Saorview launched a trial service in 2010 and is rolling out across the country over the next few months. The country hopes to achieve digital switchover by the end of 2012.

Mary Curtis, RTÉ’s director of digital switchover, said: “We will be beginning a comprehensive public information campaign in mid March to explain how people can easily make the switch to the new Saorview service and enjoy the benefits of Irish free-to-air digital television long into the future. “