Rockhampton’s Andy Claire is already enjoying the new digital television channels.
Rockhampton’s Andy Claire is already enjoying the new digital television channels. ALLAN REINIKKA AR

TV enthusiasts go digital

WITH more than 16 channels to choose from, digital television could cause a few unexpected problems for Andy Claire and his housemates when the switch is made in Rockhampton next year.

The sports fanatic, who has access to a few digital channels already available, yesterday said battles over the remote control might become more frequent with so much variety on offer.

“I love watching the sports channels when the NBA, baseball and American sports are on, but we also watch a few sitcoms on the other digital channels,” Andy said.

Rockhampton is due to be one of the first regions in Queensland to switch over to digital television from mid-next year, with Bundaberg, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Toowoomba also among the earliest.

Somewhere between July and December next year, analogue television will be switched off in the Rockhampton, Yeppoon and Emerald area.

This means anyone who doesn’t have a digital-capable television or a set top box won’t be able to pick up free-to-air television.

On Monday, the Federal Government announced a four-year plan to enable all Australians to have the same free-to-air digital television access.

A satellite service for viewers in “black-spot” areas will be carried out ahead of the complete analogue channel switch-off in 2013.

About 100 of the existing 600 broadcaster-run television towers around the country will be upgraded, while residents in non-upgraded areas will need to install a satellite dish to receive the service.

Residents in the non-upgraded areas will received a $300 subsidy to help cover the cost of installation, but those in black-spot areas will have to pay the full $600 cost.

Yesterday, a spokesman from the office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was unable to confirm how many people in Central Queensland were in black spot areas.

The office was also unable to confirm a more precise date for the switchover, saying it had not been determined yet.

“As the switchover approaches, everyone will be informed of the date and residents will notice a build-up of information campaigns and additional measures.”

The spokesman said such measures could include a locally appointed liaison officer as now being trialled in Mildura, Victoria, which is the first region in Australia to switch off analogue television.

For more information, visit www.digitalready.gov.au.



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