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Free TV…Free TV…Free TV…?

By tylersmayhem - 28 November 2008 27

I’ve seen a few TV ad’s this week announcing something like 15 new free to air channels being made available in Canberra in 2009.

I’ve tried Googling the subject, and so far I’ve come up with all kinds of speculation – whats the deal, anyone know?

What’s Your opinion?

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27 Responses to
Free TV…Free TV…Free TV…?
Gungahlin Al 10:44 am 28 Nov 08

D’oh – crossed over saying same stuff as repro, while composing it.

R. Slicker 10:43 am 28 Nov 08

I seriously doubt whether we will get the HD channels at all. Six new commercial stations in the district would need local advertising and with the current stations having trouble selling spots it just won’t happen.

Gungahlin Al 10:43 am 28 Nov 08

I recall in a previous thread someone saying that the digital signal is reduced strength to reduce interference with analogue. DTV tuners are $40 now, and even HD ones are as little as $99, and the picture is MUCH better, so bring on the analogue phase-out I say.

Because on rabbit ears (if you are stuck on them – mongrel landlord etc) the signal strength is crook – even with line of sight to Black Mtn.

tylersmayhem 10:29 am 28 Nov 08

On the topic of “rabbit ears” antennas, I’ve been considering finally buying an external TV antenna – but it’s the eye-sore factor of having those big wire antennas on the roof of our house. Is there any external antennas these days that are much more inconspicuous? I’ve looked around and spoken to various installers and they all indicate that they still only install the old school types.

Reprobate 10:18 am 28 Nov 08

TheScientist and Tylersmahem – Yes, “normal” analogue tv transmissions will be switched off from the end of 2010 (as I recall), meaning that any existing TV, VCR or similar with only an analogue tuner will not receive any stations unless it has a STB (Set top box) attached to it. Most (but not all) flat panel TVs, DVD recorders and PVRs on sale today have SD or HD digital tuners built-in.

SD STBs are available from about $30 – $40 (hell, you can even buy them at Coles), HD STBs from about $90 (Aldi).

Although digital TV gives the best possible picture and sound, it does have a caveat – if the TV signal is not strong enough, you won’t get a picture at all (unlike analogue, where you get progressive loss of signal through ghosting, fuzzy lines, snow etc). So it’s an all-or-nothing technology. For this reason, some units don’t cope well being hooked up to indoor antennas (ie rabbit ears). This can be an issue if you live on the outer fringes of Canberra or in a shadow zone like Mt Taylor; if you are buying a STB for use in such an area, make sure you buy a STB from a store that has an easy refund policy as the performance of STBs does vary a lot.

H1NG0 10:17 am 28 Nov 08

Oh, and the website you are after is, not the FreeTV site.

p1 10:15 am 28 Nov 08

that will be running 24 sports…

Gee I hope one of those sports is lawn bowls.

So if you get 15 new channels (new??)and analogue is phased out thats minus 5 channels so that leaves 10 channels…

No, 5 of the 15 are the same as the analogue.

H1NG0 10:08 am 28 Nov 08

What you are referring to is Freeview. Basically, its the exact same thing as current digital free to air, just rebranded. Don’t be fooled into buying new hardware if you can currently get digital TV, it will work fine with Freeview. Most people should have digital Set to boxes or digital tuners by now anyway. This is largely due to the changes in Free to Air TV laws for 2009 that allow each current station to run programming on seperate channels. For example, channel 10 are launching a new channel called OneHD that will be running 24 sports (woohoo!!)

This is covered in depth on the following forum which I am a member of.

Unfortunately for us Canberra viewers, the chances of us being shafted are very high. Southern Cross Ten has promised proper HD programming for years now and delivered bugger all. Don’t hold you breath for new Channels, we may not see them for years, let alone months.

wishuwell 10:02 am 28 Nov 08

So if you get 15 new channels (new??)and analogue is phased out thats minus 5 channels so that leaves 10 channels which I suspect will show not much more than what we get now, except perhaps for a dedicated sport channel or two. I haven’t been this excited over nothing for oh a long long time. Sorry for any over use of ‘channel’.

tylersmayhem 9:52 am 28 Nov 08

Thanks for the run-down Reprobate. Pretty much the info I was after. TheScientist has brought up one of my outstanding questions about set-top boxes. Any idea?

It pretty much adds up to what I thought it would.

TheScientist 9:45 am 28 Nov 08

I’m under the impression that it also introduces a need for digital set top boxes?

I thought that analogue tv signals are being phased out, with digital replacing them. The result being that unless your tv has a built in digital tuner then you’ll need a digital set top box, with more expensive models of such allowing the HD channels to show at full HD rather than just normal resolution.

p1 9:31 am 28 Nov 08

Yeah, ABC2 is good. Well as good as any of the other stations. All other options so far are a wank. Would like it if there were actually 15 stations worth of different content, at least then you could channel surf for longer when there is nothing good on (all the time).

Reprobate 9:30 am 28 Nov 08

Move along, nothing to see here.. literally…

The ads have been for Freeview, which is basically a grouping of the 3 major networks and regional affilliates, the ABC and SBS, with the aim of promoting digital TV. Basically it’s just a branding exercise to promote the use of digital TVs and STBs and to try and reduce audience leakage to pay TV (ie Foxtel, SelectTV, TransACTetc) to keep their advertising rates up.

What you will get is not much more than what you have got – ie all existing channels in SD (standard definition) and some others in HD (high definition). Trouble is, in a regional area “served” by Southern Cross Ten, there is no guarantee that we will get anything more than what we have at the moment. They have refused to allow retransmission of the TenHD channel shown in every “major” captital city to date. Southern CrossTen are also refusing to answer emails about whether they will transmit Ten ONESD to be launched on 1 January 2009. Great…

In summary, these are the maximum 15 channels that Freeview encompasses:
ABC1, ABC2, ABC3 (new children’s channel), ABC(1)HD, SBS, SBS news, SBSHD, 7/Prime, 7/Prime HD, 9/WIN 9/WIN HD, 10/SCTen, 10/SCTen HD, 10 OneSD, 10OneHD. * Not all regions will have access to all channels at launch.

Jonathon Reynolds 9:11 am 28 Nov 08

The official website is:
Nothing much to see there either…

AG Canberra 9:09 am 28 Nov 08

5 stations (7 9 10 ABC SBS) all broadcasting three channels…equals 15.

Nothing new to see – except for ABC2 which does actually broadcast different stuff.

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