Australia: Digital television just under 50%

Only 2 in 5 households have now switched over to digital, that’s about 42 percent of the country, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA); with one quarter that haven’t switch won’t switch in the long run.

If Digital Subscription Television numbers were added (Foxtel Digital and its resellers), then it improves to 54 percent of the country.

The highest take-up of Digital television was Mildura, Victoria, with 70.3 percent and Tasmania with 64 percent. This high take up is because there is a third commercial station that broadcasts only in digital, with both taking up Network Ten affiliation.

WIN Television has a 50% percent stake in the two networks; with Prime taking the other half in Mildura Digital Television (MDT), and Macquarie Media Group owning the other half of Tasmania Digital Television (TDT).

The lowest areas where digital has not fully developed were in South Australia (37.1%) and Queensland (37.2%).

Out of those who are not switching, said that they were not switching at all or were put off because of the price. The average price for a standard definition (SD) set-top box is around $70, while high-definition (HD) versions are around $200.

Digital Television will have its switchover date on 2013, but for now it will co-exist with its analogue counterparts. Only Pay-TV have made the switchover since 2005 and will now start broadcasting HD channels this year.

Last year, Seven and Ten launched their HD “multichannels”, thus allowing them to show additional programming during non-peak or their morning shows. Nine followed suit in March. ABC and SBS do not have plans to multichannel in HD, but already have done multichanneling in SD as current regulations allow such practice.

Foxtel, however, will be launching four new HD channels in line with its “Foxtel HD+” plan. Those will be a documentary channel being shared with Discovery and National Geographic; 2 sporting channels, Fox Sports HD and ESPN HD; and a new channel by BBC Worldwide called BBC HD.

Discovery and National Geographic will then be their own separate channels sometime next year.

You can find TEN HD on channel 1, Seven HD on channel 70 and Nine HD on channel 90.

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