Rory Curtis sis ready for the digital TV switch in late-November.
Rory Curtis sis ready for the digital TV switch in late-November. Colin Gilmore

Tweed's switch to digital TV

ANALOG televisions in Tweed without set-top boxes will be unable to receive free-to-air reception as of November 27 this year.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced this week that 540,000 households across northern NSW will form the sixth region in Australia to make the transition to a digital-only broadcast.

"More than 84% of households in the northern NSW switchover region have already converted at least their main TV to digital, according to the latest Digital Tracker survey," Senator Conroy said.

"For most households, conversion will be relatively straightforward.

"Residents can choose to either connect a set-top box or digital recorder to an existing analog TV, or upgrade to a digital TV."

Good Guys owner Rory Curtis said he had not noticed a big change in buying patterns at his store.

"Other stores (in switchover locations) have noticed a change," Mr Curtis said.

"Digital TVs are so cheap now there's really no point in buying a set-top box when you can just replace the TV."

He said the November switch could catch many off-guard.

"As with most things the first time it's mentioned it doesn't stick, but after a couple of times it will strike a chord with people," he said.

"I don't think people will find it too complicated; it's just a number of extra choices."

Mr Curtis said although his sales team was prepared for the digital switch the average person might say, "'Oh, it is happening is it?'".

"My mum's still watching analog because it's not a priority to her - she's quite happy watching the snow (interference).

"Her computer broke down and I said 'We'll get you another one mum' but she said 'Oh I don't need it'.

"We'll be expecting to get a few calls when it's switched: 'My TV's broken down' and we'll just have to say 'It's not broken down, it just won't work anymore unless you get a box'."

Digital TV will provide Tweed with significantly better quality pictures and sound as well as widescreen format.

There is also more choice - with 16 TV channels from the ABC, SBS and commercial broadcasters available - including all the new digital only channels such as ABC2 , ABC NEWS24, ABC3, SBS2, SBS HD, ONE, Eleven, GO!, Gem, 7Two and 7mate.

"Broadcasters are establishing up to seven new digital TV transmission sites across northern NSW," Senator Conroy said.

"And upgrading 10 community-operated analog self-help towers to broadcast the full suite of digital channels in readiness for switchover."

Visit digitalready.gov.au for more information.



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