Many of Longford’s largest electrical retailers are celebrating a pre-Christmas windfall this week thanks to last week’s digital switchover.
A number of firms revealed they had been inundated with calls and enquiries for new Saorview set top boxes and digital televisions over the past seven days.
One outlet went so far as to confirm sales agents had to re-order digital boxes on no less than THREE occasions such was the level of demand from Longford based consumers.
“It’s been unbelievable,” said a spokeswoman from long established Longford store, Providers. “We sold out three times and we had another 60 (boxes) come in this morning. New televisions have sold well too. We have had calls all morning.”
A couple of hundred yards up the road and on Longford town’s Main Street, Crossan Electrics reported an almost identical scenario.
“We have been very busy,” said Enda Crossan. “New TVs have been selling well and people are still coming in, calling for second TVs and other sets.”
And while new figures show the State expects to net up to €533m from the switch to digital TV broadcasts, Mr Crossan said there were welcome benefits for local businesses too.
“We would be up 50 per cent (in sales) than what we would previously,” he said, in the wake of last Wednesday’s much publicised suspension of the old analogue system.
“A lot of people left it to the last minute. There was a lot of advertising on it but some people I suppose just waited to see what happened,” he continued, saying the store were still catering for those who have yet to successfully connect with RTE’s new Saorview digital service.
The State broadcaster has invested €70m in the new service which includes eight TV channels and 10 radio stations with the capacity to make numerous additions. It’s also been confirmed the digital service required just 64 masts compared to the 176 used for the previous analogue network.