Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Maydena's digital d-day this December

BY the end of next year all free-to-air television services in Australia will be broadcast in digital-only, but the town of Maydena is switching to digital-only free-to-air TV earlier than other parts of Tasmania. Much of the Derwent Valley has had access to digital television broadcasts for several years, but Maydena has been limited to old-style analog transmissions.

Tasmanian television broadcasters are planning to switch Maydena from analog to digital in early December. The community will be informed once a date is confirmed. This early switchover is happening because the Maydena transmitter at Abbotts Lookout is unable to broadcast analog and digital TV at the same time. This means the analog TV signals will be turned off the same day the digital signals are turned on.

After the early switchover Maydena will have access to the full range of digital free-to-air digital channels from national and commercial broadcasters for the first time. This will include digital standard definition (SD) channels from the commercial broadcasters Southern Cross, 7TWO, WIN, GO!, TDT Ten, Eleven. The high definition (HD) channels 7mate, GEM and ONE HD will also be available after the early switchover.

Digital SD channels from the national broadcasters ABC1, ABC2, ABC3, SBS ONE, SBS TWO, and the HD channels ABC News 24 and SBS HD will also be available after the early switchover.

What do you need to do?
To access the new digital services you will need a TV that is capable of receiving digital signals by either:
  • connecting a digital set-top-box or digital recorder to an existing analog TV; or
  • upgrading to a digital TV which has an in built-in digital tuner.
Some properties may also need to upgrade their antenna systems and cabling, including buildings with shared antenna systems. If you rent your home you should consult your landlord or owners corporation. If you think you might need to upgrade your antenna system you should consult an Australian Government Endorsed Antenna Installer. To find your closest installer enter your full address into the "mySwitch tool" at www.digitalready.gov.au or call the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 201 013. You should ask the installer to point your antenna to the Maydena transmitter site and ensure that it is adjusted for correct polarity (horizontal).

What to expect during the early switchover
Work to upgrade the transmitter will usually begin in the morning. There may be periods during the day where there are no or disrupted TV services. Work should be completed by late afternoon when the new digital TV services should be available. After the upgrade has been completed, you will have to tune your set-top box or digital TV to ensure you are receiving the new digital channels.

Household Assistance Scheme
You may be eligible for the Household Assistance Scheme if you have a working TV, have not yet converted to digital TV and receive the maximum rate of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement payment.

The Household Assistance Scheme provides an entire package of assistance and is free to eligible households. Assistance includes the supply and installation of a set-top-box, a demonstration of how to use the equipment, 12 months after care support and equipment warranty and where necessary, antenna and cable upgrades if the resident owns their home. The Department of Human Services has written to eligible people inviting them to opt-in to the Household Assistance Scheme by calling 1800 556 443. If you believe that you or someone you know are eligible for assistance and you have not received a letter, call the Department of Human Services on 1800 556 443.

Need some help or more information?
There is a range of tools and resources available to help you. For further information visit the Digital Ready website www.digitalready.gov.au or call the Digital Ready Information Line 1800 201 013 (8am to 10pm AEST). You can also find localised information by entering your address into the "mySwitch tool" on the Digital Ready website.

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