Tips to save money with digital TV hook-up
If you’re in Matamata and you still need to go digital, you may be wondering how much it’s all going to cost. While you’ll probably need to buy at least some new equipment to keep watching TV after December 1, the good news is you needn’t spend a mint.
For most people, all they need to go digital is the right set-top box. You can buy the most basic model in electrical stores from about $79. Or, you can often pick up a second-hand, or even a new, set-top box on Trade Me for a bit less.
If you choose to buy from Trade Me, remember to pay attention to the seller’s history.
The Consumer Affairs website advises that when bidding for something in an auction or competitive tender, you’re not covered by consumer law if your purchase turns out to be faulty, even if the person selling the item is in business. When you buy from a retailer it does.
You don’t need a new TV, but if you have your eye on a new television anyway, even the cheaper ones in the $300 to $400 bracket come with built-in digital receivers.
These TVs require a UHF aerial. If you use a satellite dish, you’ll also need a satellite set-top box to go digital this way.
Every TV that you want to keep watching after December 1 will need its own set-top box.
So, if you’re used to watching the news while someone else watches reality TV in the bedroom, you may want to budget for an extra set-top box.
Installing your set-top box can be no harder than setting up a DVD player.
You can save money by installing it yourself. If you don’t know your RF cable from your HDMI, it may seem a little daunting, but once you get past the jargon it can be really quite straightforward. Instructions vary for different models but you usually plug the box into the back of the TV, select your television’s AV channel and away you go.
Freeview’s website has some useful advice if you get stuck ( www. freeview nz.tv).
If you have a trickier set up, or you don’t feel confident doing it yourself, it’s always worth asking a family member or a neighbour if they can help before paying for the services of an installer – tech-savvy teenagers are often a good bet!
A few people will need to buy a new UHF aerial or satellite dish to keep tuning in after December 1. You can buy UHF aerials and they can be installed by a local installer.
Going Digital advises people to try out their existing equipment before buying anything new and says that it pays to shop around.
Many people put up their aerial or satellite dish themselves.
Looking at where other aerials or dishes in your street are pointing can be a clue to where the television transmitter is located.
Point yours the same way and it’s more than likely that this is the best position to get a good picture.
If you do want to enlist the help of a professional installer, Going Digital advises getting in early before they get booked up.
Once your television is receiving digital TV from a set-top box, your existing video, DVD or digital recorder will be able to record it. However, if you want to watch one channel while recording another, you’ll need a separate settop box for your recorder.
There are digital set-top boxes that are also recorders, such as MyFreeview, MySky. These devices offer easy recording options using on-screen TV guides.
You may want to consider one of these if recording programmes is important to you. These normally retail at around $300 to $500.
You’ll still be able to watch videos and DVDs that you have already recorded, whatever set-up you choose.
For more advice on Going Digital, call 0800 838 800 or visit www.goingdigital.co.nz