Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte today announced details of National Digital Switchover Week which will take place from 17th – 23rd September, 2012. Organised by the Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources (DCENR) in partnership with The Wheel and Irish Rural Link, the week will see 26 local Digital Outreach Champions across the country organise events in their communities to encourage those who have not yet switched to digital TV to do so during National Digital Switchover Week. The week of events will conclude just one month before the analogue TV network in Ireland is switched off at 10.00am on Wednesday 24th October, 2012.
From coffee mornings to information events in local shopping centres and from family fun day events to open days in local community centres, National Digital Switchover Week will feature a whole range of events and initiatives aimed at encouraging local communities to get informed, make the switch to digital TV and not leave it until the last minute. Many retailers throughout the country will also be offering special deals as part of the National Digital Switchover Week.
One of the highlights of National Digital Switchover Week will be performances of ‘The Fog’, a short play written by Mayo man, John Corless, which is based on an entertaining exchange between a couple in a living room in a home in rural Ireland on Thursday 25th October, 2012, the day after the switch, when the husband realises to his dismay that he has no picture on his beloved TV. The 15 minute play will be performed in a number of community centres throughout Mayo and beyond.
According to Minister Rabbitte, “I am delighted to announce details of National Digital Switchover Week which is a core part of our national outreach programme which we have developed in partnership with The Wheel and Irish Rural Link. We are optimistic that a combination of the timing of this initiative – just one month before the analogue TV service gets switched off on Wednesday 24th October – and the number of local events in the heart of communities all over the country will encourage those who have still not made the switch to digital TV to do so during National Digital Switchover Week and avoid the last minute rush. In addition, most of us will have neighbours, friends or relatives who will need some assistance with the switch. So why not offer to give a helping hand during National Digital Switchover Week?”
Through a sustained high-profile advertising campaign fronted by Gay Byrne, the delivery of public information booklets to every home in the country in June and ongoing local awareness initiatives led by the Digital Outreach Champions as part of the Department’s Outreach programme, the DCENR has made a concerted effort over the past 6 months, in particular, to remind people not to get left behind and make the switch.
According to new figures just announced by Minister Rabbitte, 93% of Irish people are now aware of the Digital TV Switchover, with some 96% of people living in rural communities also claiming awareness. However, there are still some 200,000 still using the analogue TV network for their primary TV who need to make the switch.
According to Minister Rabbitte, “The switching off of the analogue TV network is now just over one month away and a large number of homes throughout the country have yet to make the switch to digital TV. It is essential that we use the heightened awareness in local communities that will come from events and initiatives organised as part of National Digital Switchover Week to encourage people to make the switch now and not wait until the last minute. I also encourage people who may seek professional assistance with the switchover to only use the services of reputable installers.”
All those still using the old analogue TV network will continue to see a ‘bug’ on the bottom right corner of their TV screen which will be a permanent reminder and countdown to analogue switchover date, October 24th. This ‘bug’ will remain on all analogue TV screens until October 24th or until those TV sets have been switched to the digital network.