Switched on to change

The Courier-Mail - Weekend Shopper - - Front Page - - KYLIE McIN­TOSH

LATER this year Queens­land will be­gin switch­ing per­ma­nently from ana­logue to dig­i­tal TV. What will this mean to the av­er­age couch potato? Much bet­ter sound and pic­ture qual­ity, more free-to-air chan­nels, eas­ier record­ing and a TV sched­ule that ap­pears along the bot­tom of our TV screens.

It will also free up the ana­logue broad­cast spec­trum for other com­mu­nity ser­vices and help Aus­tralians keep up with other coun­tries that are al­ready pro­duc­ing pro­grams in dig­i­tal for­mat, par­tic­u­larly high def­i­ni­tion.

The Dar­ling Downs, Wide Bay, Capri­cor­nia, North and Far North Queens­land, Cen­tral Queens­land coastal and Whit­sun­day re­gions will switch to dig­i­tal only in the sec­ond half of this year.

Bris­bane, the Gold and Sun­shine coasts will switch over in mid-2013, while re­mote Queens­land will switch in the sec­ond half of 2013.

Once the ana­logue sig­nal is switched off, peo­ple will only be able to watch their TV if it has a dig­i­tal set-top box or built-in tuner.

Shop­pers pur­chas­ing a pre-loved TV through the Week­end Shopper should bear this in mind, but it doesn’t mean old TVs are headed for the scrapheap.

Pro­vided the TV can be con­nected to a dig­i­tal set-top box, pay TV unit or dig­i­tal recorder af­ter the switchover, view­ers will be able to watch TV as nor­mal.

The TVs, DVD and VCR sec­tion of Week­end Shopper of­fers a vast ar­ray of tele­vi­sions in both old and new for­mats, along with ac­ces­sories like set-top boxes.

Older TVs in work­ing or­der can sell for as low as $25, while high def­i­ni­tion 42-inch plasma TVs can sell for as lit­tle as $500.

Many newer tele­vi­sions, such as flat-panel plas­mas and LCDs, al­ready have a dig­i­tal tuner built-in and don’t re­quire an ad­di­tional set-up box.

One way to check if your TV is “dig­i­tal ready” is to re­tune the chan­nels to see if you can re­ceive ABC2 or SBS TWO, two of the new chan­nels broad­cast­ing in dig­i­tal only. If so, you don’t need a set-top box.

How­ever, dig­i­tal set-top boxes can be pur­chased in Week­end Shopper for as lit­tle as $30.

To find out more about the switch to dig­i­tal TV visit www.dig­i­tal­ready.gov.au

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