Digital TV in Australia
Digital TV in Australia
Digital television is currently available in many areas of Australia, and offers a clearer picture, better sound and more services than traditional analogue television services. Upgrading to digital television is relatively easy and will be required as analogue television is decommissioned within Australia, with the final cut-off date for receiving analogue television broadcasts being 31 December 2013.
This article is designed to help you make sure you’re ready for the switchover to digital television in Australia, and ensure that you have the right equipment to receive television into 2014.
Why would I want Digital TV?
Digital television comes with quite a few benefits – including increased picture resolution (allowing for higher quality images), better sound and more television channels. There is also a requirement to eventually switch over to digital television in Australia as the older analogue television signals will be phased out of operation, and will no longer be available in Australia by 2014.
Freeview is the free digital television service in Australia. It comprises all the channels from Australia’s free-to-view broadcasters, including the ABC, SBS, Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, Southern Cross, Prime and WIN. Freeview provides up to six more channels than would otherwise be received via analogue television.
As of June 2010, the additional channels are ABC 2, ABC 3, SBS TWO, 7TWO, GO! and ONE. In addition, channels Seven, Nine, the ABC and SBS provide simulcast programming of their main channel in high definition (HD) quality. ONE HD, Ten’s 24 hour sports channel, is also simulcast in standard definition in metropolitan areas. In the future, it is expected these simulcast channels will be replaced with unique programming.
How do I get Digital TV?
Getting Digital TV is relatively easy – you can either buy a new integrated television or upgrade your older analogue television. A set-top box or a digital TV Recorder will allow you to get digital television services on your existing television – although you will need a new digital television if you wish to get the additional clarity of high definition broadcasts.
Thanks to an Australian Government labelling scheme, devices are split up into three categories of Digital TV readiness; “HD Ready”, “SD Ready” and “Digital TV Capable” when an additional device will be required. The scheme highlights which TVs and set top boxes will receive high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) digital TV signals, and which televisions, monitors or projectors will require a set top box or digital TV recorder to receive digital free-to-air television.
Retailers will prominently display these labels, and most can offer advice on connecting your existing equipment to receive Digital TV, or help you with other questions about the changes. Some retailers also employ Digital Advisors, who are able to assist you. These people have passed Australian Government training and can offer advice on the appropriate equipment to get Digital TV. You can recognise an Australian Government Approved Digital Advisor by their badge with the “Get Ready for Digital TV” logo and the words “Australian Government Approved” at the top. The badge will also state their name and when their advisor status expires.
Further information about Digital TV, getting ready, switchover dates and retailers with approved Digital Advisors are available from the Australian government website, http://www.digitalready.gov.au