Regional SA and Broken Hill switch to digital TV

Regional South Australia and Broken Hill are the latest regions to switch from analog to digital TV.  

The announcement:

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy said another milestone in Australia’s transition to digital-only free to air television was achieved today when analog TV signals in regional South Australia and Broken Hill were switched off for good.

At 9 o’clock this morning, analog television transmission equipment was turned off at 21 transmitter sites across the Spencer Gulf, Riverland, Mount Gambier and South-East South Australia and Broken Hill TV licence areas.

“All free-to-air TV in regional South Australia and Broken Hill is now digital-only, providing viewers with better sound and picture quality and greater program choice with access to new digital channels,” Senator Conroy said.

“More digital channels are also on the way, as a result of the Government’s $34 million funding partnership with regional commercial broadcasters to provide the full suite of commercial digital TV channels throughout regional South Australia and Broken Hill.”

Senator Conroy said the region was the second in Australia to switch to digital-only television. The switchover program included the introduction of new digital TV services at Morgan in the Riverland, and Clare, Orroroo, Quorn and Burra in the Spencer Gulf.

“I welcome the commitment of our national and regional commercial broadcasters to bringing the benefits of digital TV to all Australian households, no matter where they live,” Senator Conroy said.

Senator Conroy said more than 10,000 households in Mildura/Sunraysia, regional South Australia and Broken Hill had been helped to switch to digital TV through the Government’s Household Assistance Scheme.

The communities of Melrose and Wilmington in the Spencer Gulf area were the first in Australia to completely switch to digital TV by satellite to replace their community operated self-help transmitters.

“Almost every household in these communities took part in the Government’s Satellite Subsidy Scheme, which covered the supply and installation of a high definition satellite set top box, satellite dish and cabling for a one-off household contribution of $200,” Senator Conroy said.

“These households have moved from the limited choice offered by their old analog TV service to being able to access the same number of digital TV channels as is available in the capital cities, delivered by satellite.”

Senator Conroy said the digital switchover program was delivering better free-to-air television services across Australia.

“It’s a fantastic outcome for viewers in regional, rural and remote Australia, many of whom have put up with poor reception and limited channel choice since the introduction of TV.

“The Government is committed to improving the choice and quality of digital television services in all parts of Australia as we move towards digital switchover across Australia by 31 December 2013.”

The Executive Director of the Digital Switchover Taskforce, Andy Townend, said help is still available for people who may not be ready for digital TV.

“The overwhelming majority of households in regional South Australia and Broken Hill are now watching digital TV and won’t notice the end of analog, but we recognise that a very small percentage may not have switched over today.

“The Digital Switchover Taskforce is ready to help with information and advice on how to switch to digital TV, and people should call us on 1800 20 10 13,” Mr Townend said.

The Household Assistance Scheme is available for eligible households for another month, to January 15, 2011.

Mildura/Sunraysia was the first region in Australia to switch to digital-only TV on 30 June 2010. Regional Victoria will be the next to make the change, when analog TV broadcasting finishes on 5 May 2011.

Source: Dpt of BCDE press release


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