Switched on to change
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