Although many Australians are not ready for it, analogue television services are being switched off today for the start of the new digital-only television service in Australia.
Residents in the Mildura/Sunraysia region, in Victoria, became the first region to welcome the historic transition, benefitting from upgraded reception from three new digital transmitters installed by commercial broadcasters in the blackspots of Ouyen, Underbool and Robinvale, and a move to more than 16 TV channels.
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said: “People in Mildura/Sunraysia have moved from having some of the worst television reception and the most limited choice of channels, to leading Australia in the move to 16 or more channels of clear pictures and crisp sound.”
The Government’s latest Digital Tracker survey showed that 87 per cent of households in the region had made the switch to digital, and Senator Conroy said he was proud of the work done to ensure residents were prepared.
“Representatives of the Digital Switchover Taskforce have been out in force in Mildura/Sunraysia over the last few weeks to ensure that all possible help is given to the local community,” Senator Conroy said.
“Over 2,500 households have been helped to convert to digital TV under the Government’s Household Assistance Scheme, and the Digital Switchover Liaison Officer, Kellie Boyce, has done a fantastic job making sure people have been given all the information and assistance they have needed.”
Broadcasters are also delivering terrestrially the full suite of digital television services to viewers in the region, matching the services available from the new satellite service, Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST).
VAST is broadcasting in the Mildura/Sunraysia region now, and is available to any household in the area which cannot access a terrestrial digital signal, or has previously relied on the analogue satellite service.
The Government-funded satellite service provides access to the same number of digital television channels that are currently available in capital cities, including multi-channels such as ABC2, ABC3, SBSTwo, 7Two, Go! and OneHD.
It will also carry the new ABC 24 hour news channel when it is launched later this year, and will provide access to the local news from regional commercial television broadcasters via a dedicated news channel.
Analogue TV will be switched off completely in Australia in 2013. Users who are not ready for the switchover to digital services should contact the Digital Switchover Taskforce on 1800 20 10 13.