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Digital TV in Australia

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Australia has achieved a historic switchover from analog to digital-only free-to-air TV transmissions. Affecting the lives of nearly every Australian, this represents the biggest change in Australian broadcasting since the introduction of colour TV almost 40 years ago.

The digital switchover began in 2010 in Mildura, Victoria, and was rolled out progressively around the country, region by region until the last of Australia's analog free-to-air TV signals were switched off in Melbourne and remote central and eastern Australia on 10 December 2013.

Now more than 8.7 million households from Broome to Lord Howe Island, from Darwin to Hobart, and everywhere in between, are able to access digital-only free-to-air TV. Digital TV brings numerous benefits to the country, including better picture and sound quality, an unprecedented choice of 17 free-to-air channels and also the ability to free up broadcasting spectrum for a range of new services, such as mobile broadband and wireless technology.

For the first time, people living in remote areas of Australia can enjoy the same television services as city viewers. The Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) system has delivered digital TV to nearly 200,000 households in locations that do not receive a terrestrial signal. More than 35,000 of these installations were provided through the Satellite Subsidy Scheme, including over 14,700 installations without cost for households in 327 remote Indigenous communities.

The national stakeholder video is a case study produced by the digital switchover campaign team and outlines  how the campaign came to be, the process and an overview of results.

As a final step in the move to digital-only TV, some free-to-air channels need to change frequencies. After they've changed, viewers in particular areas will need to retune their digital TVs, set-top boxes or video recorders to keep watching digital TV. Different areas will need to retune on different dates, so to find out your region's exact date, visit the retune website.

Digital Switchover Taskforce

To coordinate and oversee Australia's transition to digital-only TV transmission, the Australian Government established the Digital Switchover Taskforce. The Taskforce worked closely with the broadcasting industry, digital reception technology suppliers and installers, and other parties to ensure the smooth transition to digital-only TV broadcasting.

Specifically its objectives were to:

  1. advise government on policy settings, implementation and issues connected with digital switchover
  2. develop and implement a program framework, including a switchover timetable, to complete the switchover from analog to digital television transmission in Australia by the end of 2013
  3. manage an information and education program explaining the switchover process to all Australians, setting out what they will need to do and how to get further information
  4. convene meetings of an industry advisory group consisting of stakeholders—including broadcasters, retailers, manufacturers, antenna technicians and public and commercial housing agencies, government departments—and coordinate these to utilise their expertise in delivering the digital switchover by the end of 2013.

Digital Switchover Rollout Map Transcript

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