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RTE to introduce five new television channels

RTE unveiled five new television channels yesterday that will begin digital broadcasting in May.

The new channels will include a high-definition version of RTE Two; RTE News Now; a dedicated news channel; RTEjr, a children's channel; and RTE One+1, which will be a catch-up channel for viewers to watch their favourite programmes at a later time slot.

RTE also announced a number of radio stations available for free on the service. RTE Radio 1, RTE 2fm, RTE lyric fm, RTE Raidio na Gaeltachta, RTE Choice, RTE Pulse, RTE 2XM, RTE Gold, RTE Chill, RTEJnr, and Radio 1 Extra.

The channels are part of the national broadcaster's TV line-up on the new free digital Saorview service. Saorview operates in tandem with the analog (TV aerial) system but it will replace it when the analog system is finally switched off at the end of 2012.

Yesterday's announcement was greeted with shock by TV3, which claims the newly approved channels would extend RTE's dominance in media.

The broadcaster said it would call on the incoming government to immediately overturn the decision, which it claims will destroy jobs, growth and investment in the media sector, while costing taxpayers huge sums of money. Also available will be TV3's sister channel, 3e, which was previously only available on digital pay TV.

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