More of Northern Ireland within range of RTÉ TV signal


It will become easier to receive RTÉ and TG4 in Northern Ireland, following changes to the Freeview signal on Wednesday.

Standard definition versions of RTÉ One, RTÉ 2 and TG4 will be broadcast from additional Northern Ireland-based transmitters, improving free-to-air access to these channels, especially in areas where the overspill signal from the Republic of Ireland is unreliable or unavailable.

The Greater Belfast area will have three sites from where RTÉ and TG4 are broadcast: the main Divis transmitter, plus existing sites at Black Mountain, where the signal will be boosted and Carnmoney Hill.

Newcastle in County Down - where the Mourne Mountains currently block reception from the Republic's Claremont Cairn transmitter, will also gain access to three Irish channels, on top of the range of main Freeview channels available via the local relay. A similar set up will apply to viewers in Whitehead and Strabane.

To access these channels, available on channels 51-53 of the Freeview channel list, a newer TV or device that is compatible with Freeview HD or Freeview Play is required. A YouView box will also receive the channels, when in range of the signal.

The following transmitters will carry RTÉ One, RTÉ 2 and TG4 in Northern Ireland:
  • Armagh (New)
  • Brougher Mountain (existing site)
  • Carnmoney Hill  (existing site)
  • Divis (New)
  • Black Mountain (existing site; with power increase)
  • Newcastle NI (New)
  • Strabane (New)
  • Whitehead (New)

Broadcasts of RTÉ TV via Northern Ireland-based transmitters is subject to restrictions on some programmes, meaning that if there are broadcast rights issues with transmission in the UK, for example during some live sport, programmes will be temporarily unavailable.

Many households in Northern Ireland can receive signals directly from the Republic of Ireland, although the extent of the overspill signal may change in time, due to the changes in TV frequencies to facilitate 5G.

Where an overspill signal is available, but where the TV is set to UK and Freeview, Irish channels will be found in the 800s channel range and vary from receiver to receiver. The Irish terrestrial TV service is known as Saorview and offers RTÉ One and 2 in HD, without broadcast restrictions and including a +1 service for each channel. Viewers who receive their signal via overspill also have access to additional Irish channels, including Virgin Media One - the former TV3 channel.

A local aerial specialist will be able to advise on reception options. Households can check to see if they are able to receive RTÉ and TG4 from a Northern Ireland-based transmitter at http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/coveragechecker/ . On doing a postcode search, look for a message mentioning RTÉ One, 2 and TG4 at the start of the listing.

Alternatively, the bulk of RTÉ's programmes is also available to Sky subscribers in Northern Ireland and Virgin Media NI channels 875-877; but with some programmes blocked due to rights issues.