Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood Gwyn­neth Hay­wood is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer for Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

Changes to the way sev­eral new TV chan­nels broad­cast is caus­ing re­cep­tion is­sues for some tele­vi­sion users.

Un­til re­cently, all net­works were broad­cast­ing in ei­ther stan­dard def­i­ni­tion or high def­i­ni­tion us­ing the MPEG-2 video for­mat.

Now, how­ever, some high-def­i­ni­tion chan­nels in­clud­ing Chan­nel 9’s new Chan­nel 90, Seven’s new 7Flix on Chan­nel 76 and the Rac­ing Chan­nel on 78 have be­gun broad­cast­ing in high def­i­ni­tion us­ing the new MPEG-4 for­mat, which pro­vides a higher qual­ity pic­ture but uses less band­width.

There are plans for other chan­nels to soon be­gin us­ing the new MPEG-4 for­mat.

Some TVs and set top boxes, which are able to re­ceive high-def­i­ni­tion sig­nals, may not be com­pat­i­ble with this new for­mat. Nine is still broad­cast­ing its pro­grams in stan­dard def­i­ni­tion on Chan­nel 9 for those who are not able to view HD Chan­nel 90.

There are con­sumers who pur­chased HD TVs some time ago and these TVs may not be ca­pa­ble of play­ing MPEG-4.

Gen­er­ally, TVs and set top boxes pur­chased be­fore 2010 will not be com­pat­i­ble with MPEG-4.

Prod­ucts sold now with the Free­view logo dis­played should be MPEG-4 com­pat­i­ble.

Pick­ing up the new chan­nels re­quires a res­can of your TV’s tuner which can be found in the set-up menu. Only then will you find out if your TV sup­ports the MPEG-4 for­mat.

If, af­ter a res­can, your TV does not pick up all the chan­nels and the man­u­fac­turer can­not re­solve it, you will ei­ther need to buy a new TV or opt for the cheaper and sim­pler so­lu­tion and buy a new set top box which sup­ports the new for­mat. Set top boxes can cost as lit­tle as $30.

Con­sumers buy­ing TVs or set top boxes to­day have a rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tion that the de­vices will be able to ac­cess all sta­tions broad­cast­ing in all for­mats. It would be ad­vis­able, how­ever, to check to make sure they are com­pat­i­ble with the MPEG-4 for­mat.

Re­tail­ers should be ad­vis­ing con­sumers whether or not they will be able to ac­cess all sta­tions.

Western Australians can con­tact Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion for as­sis­tance by con­tact­ing 1300 30 40 54.

Pic­ture: Bill Hatto

Re­cent changes in the way TV chan­nels are broad­cast may af­fect your TV and set top box.

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