Technology Nov 2009
Digital TV expanding
HD takeover imminent
Within 3-5 years you won’t be able to get a signal on your old analogue TV set, your DVD recorder will be next to useless and the digital television revolution will be in full swing, along with the opportunity to channel flick or call up archived programming to your heart’s content.
The final ‘goodnight Kiwi’ decision on analogue broadcast frequencies will be made in 2012 or when digital uptake reaches 75 percent, whichever comes first. In fact the number of digital subscribers, those using Freeview and SkyTV, is already at 60 percent and rising.
Last count Freeview, the consortium of free-to-air channels designed to ease us off analogue, had over 300,000 viewers, including 113,936 with FreeviewHD personal video recorders (PVRs), while Sky TV had more than 778,902 subscribers, including 120,000 using its MySky boxes. The speed of adoption for digital TV in New Zealand is well above average for nations who’ve made the transition.
The recent growth in Freeview is partially due to the addition of new channels. After government mediation; Sky TV and Freeview reached a compromise so access Prime — owned by Sky TV — following a deal for State channels TV6 and TV7 to be on Sky. TV1 and TV2 are also in high definition for MySkyHDi viewers, true to TVNZ’s mandate to be ‘inspiring on every screen’.
Another major boost to digital TV penetration is the launch of TiVo
an alternative media access device for free-to-air content over the
FreeviewHD channels, geared to deliver an even broader package to the
screen of your choice if you’re a Telecom broadband customer.
Record two, watch one
A 14-day electronic programming guide (EPG) will enable all TiVo users to programme ahead, although Prime and Maori Television haven’t made their listings available.
Ultimately TiVo could offer a wide range of additional services including TiVo online shopping services games and other specialist channels. The TiVo recorder and wireless adaptor sell for $920.
One small hitch however could be that, without government assistance,
half of the country’s 20 regional TV broadcasters beyond the eight
largest cities may be forced off the air. They’ll either have to pay
expensive satellite transmission costs, partner with other providers or
quit the market. A report is expected in December on the options for
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