The service began operation on 29 October 2010 on a trial basis with full launch on 26 May 2011. By legislation it was required to be available to approximately 90% of the population by end of October 2010 in a public testing capacity and nationwide by December 2011. The national public launch was preceded by a public information campaign, which began on 15 March 2011, with a television and radio advertising beginning 17 March 2011.
Saorview was officially launched on 26 May 2011 by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte TD  and the service became the primary source of broadcast television in Ireland following the ending of analogue transmissions on 24 October 2012.
Saorview is Ireland's national DTT service. The Irish word Saor [sˠiːɾˠ] means free, thereby mirroring Freeview which is available in the United Kingdom, through a mix of the English and Irish languages.
Saorview is available from 64 DTT transmitters covering 98% of the population as of the end of Q3 2012. The previous analogue terrestrial television (ATT) network was available to 98% of the population from 150 ATT transmitters, however TV3 and TG4 were not available on all transmitters.
The service is a DVB-T/MPEG-4 HD broadcast that is received via set top box (STB) receiver or iDTV and UHF aerial is required. MHEG-5 is the middleware standard for digital teletext. Programme information is displayed through the receiver's own inbuilt EPG. Either DVB or Teletext subtitling can be displayed when broadcast.
Mary Curtis became Director of Digital Switchover (DSO) in September 2010 and reported to the Director General. She oversaw the transition from Analogue to Digital TV broadcast, which was completed in October 2012
The service was launched in 2011 with ASO campaign phase beginning Dec 2011. Two campaigns were launched. The first campaign was marketing Saorview and was paid for by RTÉ, this cost RTÉ over €3million, meanwhile a second campaign featuring Gay Byrne was also launched by the Department of Communications, it also cost in the region of €3million. Both campaigns used social media such as Facebook and Twitter alongside their own websites www.goingdigital.ie (now defunct) and www.saorview.ie.
Initially only one multiplex was available on the service, the second public service Mux was launched with the introduction of RTÉ One HD on 16 December 2013.
Saorview on launch carried just one High Definition (HD) service, a second HD service was launched for RTÉ One on 16 December 2013, to date they are the only HD channels available on Saorview. It is expected that TG4 and TV3 will eventually become high definition services. TV3 have already launched their HD definition studios in association with Sony, while TG4 launched a trial HD service on the UPC cable network (it launched on Sky Ireland later). TG4 received €1.4million in aid from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in 2011 for the roll out of their HD service.
UTV Ireland joined Saorview for its launch on January 1, 2015.
RTÉ operates two DVB-T PSB multiplexes for transmission of Saorview television and radio channels. Both multiplexes are free-to-air, and feature MPEG-4 encoding.
A further four multiplexes are available for commercial pay DTT.
2RN has the capacity to provide commercial DTT capacity on its network for pay TV services that can agree terms with it and the BAI. However the option to launch commercial muxes was not pursued in the aftermath of the 2008 licence process. The BAI said "the Authority now considers that it will not be feasible to introduce commercial DTT as originally intended until after Analogue Switch Off (ASO) at the earliest. The position will be reviewed towards the end of 2011 and the Authority may seek expressions of interest in the provision of commercial DTT at that point. A competition could potentially be held during 2012 with a view to commercial DTT being operational in 2013". It continued "it is the considered view of the Authority that as part of the preparation for the successful launch of commercial DTT in the future, legislative change will be necessary to enable the Authority to have formal relationships with the applicants, as obtains at present, and with RTÉNL".
To date the BAI have not announced any plans for a competition for a commercial DTT service. In August 2013, the BAI confirmed that it would launch another attempt of finding a service provider for the commercial DTT service.
This was to allow the PSB side to proceed with an ASO transition to DSO, a stabilized economic backdrop by that time (3 years time) to emerge and changes in the Broadcasting Act 2009 to allow it have statutory mediation powers in dealing with RTÉNL (now 2RN) that it currently has with the broadcasters and interested parties but not with 2RN. 2RN is currently regulated by ComReg.
In August 2013 a report into Commercial DTT by Oliver & Ohlbaum was given to the BAI, the report outlined the main problems associated with DTT in Ireland including the lack of free-to-air services on Saorview. Based on this report the BAI have decided not to proceed with a licence competition for pay-DTT. The report was published on the BAI website in January 2014. On its publication Bob Collins, Chairperson of the BAI said “The contents of the report raise a number of policy implications for consideration by Government and also for the BAI, having regard to its statutory obligations and its enduring objectives in respect of diversity and plurality. In submitting copies of the review to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, the BAI would now welcome the opportunity to discuss the findings of the report and the policy implications arising at an early date.” 
|Site||Mux 1||Mux 2||Pol*||ERP*||Approximate area served|
|Cairn Hill, County Longford||47||44||H||160 Kw||North Midlands|
|Clermont Carn, County Louth||52||56||V||160 Kw||North East / Belfast|
|Holywell Hill, County Donegal||30||33||H||20 Kw||North East Donegal / Derry|
|Kippure, County Wicklow||54||58||H||60 Kw||East|
|Maghera, County Clare||48||55||H||160 Kw||West|
|Mount Leinster, County Carlow||23||26||H||160 Kw||South East|
|Mullaghanish, County Cork||21||24||H||200 Kw||South West|
|Spur Hill, County Cork||45||49||H||50 Kw||Cork City and environs|
|Three Rock, County Dublin||30||33||H||63 Kw||Dublin City and environs|
|Truskmore, County Sligo||53||57||H||160 Kw||North West|
On 20 January 2016 RTÉ announced that it had partnered with Freesat, the UK free-to-air television company, to develop a new product for Saorview, Ireland’s free digital television service and the largest television platform in Ireland. This follows a previously announced intention to develop a new hybrid offering for Saorview The Saorview Connect offering was launched in November 2017. The service allows customers to connect a new type of receiver to their home broadband. The service features advanced functionality including online services, a backwards EPG, access to content recommendations, a newly designed remote control and a mobile app.
|1||RTÉ One HD||2RN Mux 2||HD (1440x1080i)||Full-time|
|2||RTÉ2 HD||2RN Mux 1||HD (1440x1080i)||Full-time|
|3||TV3||2RN Mux 1||SD (544x576i)||Commercial|
|4||TG4||2RN Mux 1||SD (544x576i)||Irish-language|
|5||3e||2RN Mux 1||SD (544x576i)||Commercial|
|6||be3||2RN Mux 2||SD (544x576i)||Commercial|
|7||RTÉjr||2RN Mux 2||SD (544x576i)||Part Time (Children's)|
|11||RTÉ One +1||2RN Mux 2||SD (576i)||Part Time (Timeshift)|
|21||RTÉ News Now||2RN Mux 1||SD (576i)||Rolling news (20% live content/80% repeats)|
|22||Tithe an Oireachtais||2RN Mux 1||SD (576i)||Oireachtas and European Parliament proceedings|
|27||Saorview Information||2RN Mux 2||SD (576i)||Saorview platform rolling information|
|Test service (no LCN)||"AG Tástáil Innealtóireachta"||2RN Mux 2||HD (1080i)|
|Test service (no LCN)||RTENL "Tástáil Innealtóireachta"||2RN Mux 2||SD (576i)||Test Card (captions "2RN" and "Eireann")|
|Test service (no LCN)||RTENL "Tástáil Innealtóireachta"||2RN Mux 2||SD (576i)||Test Card (captions "2RN" "Eireann" and 24h digital clock)|
|LCN||Service||Saorview Multiplex||Audio Bitrate||Notes|
|200||RTÉ Radio 1||2RN Mux 1||128 kbit/s|
|201||RTÉ Radio 1 Extra||2RN Mux 1||128 kbit/s|
|202||RTÉ 2FM||2RN Mux 1||128 kbit/s|
|203||RTÉ Lyric FM||2RN Mux 1||160 kbit/s|
|204||RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta||2RN Mux 1||128 kbit/s||Programmes in Irish|
|205||RTÉ Pulse||2RN Mux 1||112 kbit/s|
|206||RTÉ 2XM||2RN Mux 1||112 kbit/s|
|207||RTÉjr Radio||2RN Mux 1||112 kbit/s|
|208||RTÉ Gold||2RN Mux 1||112 kbit/s|
At 10 am on 24 October 2012 all analogue television transmitters in Ireland were switched off and Saorview became the primary source of Irish terrestrial television. The process was televised live on RTÉ One and RTÉ News Now, with the kill-switch being thrown by television personality Miriam O'Callaghan.
Following the failure of the commercial DTT process RTÉ submitted a revised DTT plan including a FTA satellite option to the Department of Communications in mid June 2010 for approval. RTÉ publicly announced at an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications discussion in mid July 2010 that a satellite service, called Saorsat, would be offered to complement the terrestrial DTT service. Saorsat will enable Irish public service channels to be made available, unencrypted, for the first time, as a means of covering the last 2% of the population who will be unable to receive the Saorview terrestrial service.
RTÉ said the combined offering was designed to be the most cost-effective solution for viewers and broadcasters; to offer for the first time 100% coverage of public service television services in Ireland; and to provide full national back-up coverage on satellite in the event of an emergency or catastrophic failure of the DTT system[dubious ].
Approval for the revised National DTT plan and the new Saorsat satellite service was announced by the Minister for Communications at the end of July 2010.
Test loop transmissions detected from the end of May 2011 and received on generic DVB-S2 HD set-boxes.