Federal minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has announced that 540,000 households across northern NSW will switch to digital-only, free-to-air television soon.
The signal for analog TV will be switched off on 5 June.
‘More than 84 per cent of households in the northern NSW switchover region have already converted at least their main TV to digital, according to the latest Digital Tracker survey,’ Senator Conroy said in a press release last week.
‘For most households, conversion will be relatively straightforward.
‘Residents can choose to connect either a set-top box or digital recorder to an existing analog TV or upgrade to a digital TV.’
Digital TV will provide residents with better-quality pictures and sound as well as widescreen format with 16 TV channels from the ABC, SBS and commercial broadcasters available – including all the new digital-only channels such as ABC2, ABC News24, ABC3, SBS2, SBS HD, ONE, Eleven, GO!, Gem, 7Two and 7mate.
‘Households in areas unable to receive terrestrial reception will certainly not miss out and will be able to access the government-funded Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service from May 27,’ Senator Conroy said.
The government-funded VAST service provides all 16 free-to-air digital channels plus a dedicated news channel that features news bulletins from regional commercial broadcasters.
‘The government’s Satellite Subsidy Scheme will be available to assist eligible households in communities that need to move to VAST… The Satellite Subsidy Scheme reduces the cost of accessing the VAST service and has already assisted more than 9,000 households across Australia to switch to digital TV,’ Senator Conroy said.
Further support will also available through the government’s Household Assistance Scheme.
Assistance includes the supply and installation of a set-top box, a demonstration of how to use the equipment and, where necessary, antenna and cable upgrades if the resident owns their house at no charge to the household.
‘Eligible households across northern NSW will receive a letter from Centrelink inviting them to opt-in,’ Senator Conroy said. ‘If you receive this letter, you should call or visit Centrelink to test your eligibility for the Scheme – and I strongly recommend that if you are eligible you sign up quickly to ensure a timely installation.’
For more information about the digital switchover visit the Digital Ready website www.digitalready.gov.au or call the info line 1800 201 013.