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View Full Version : Anyone else in Australia trying to work out what Freeview is supposed to actually be?


Martini Enfield
12-01-2008, 12:18 AM
I caught an Ad on TV last night for something called "Freeview", which- so the ad claimed- was a new type of Digital TV.

"Great", I thought "Another thing to confuse the public with."

We already have Digital TV here and have done for a few years, but the uptake rate is embarrassingly low and there's nothing special on Digital TV that isn't on Analogue TV anyway, for the most part.

As far as I can tell (via a read of the Wiki article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeview_(Australia)) and a Press Release from the ABC (http://www.abc.net.au/corp/pubs/media/s2306264.htm)), Freeview is just a re-branding (using the UK name) of Digital TV. But then the stuff I've read starts going into complicated stuff about EPG formats and competing with TiVO and Foxtel IQ and so on.

So now I'm confused: Is Freeview just a brand name for Digital TV here (to try and present a united front against digital pay TV) or is it something else again, like TiVO that will require yet another expensive piece of equipment which no-one wants or can afford, in order to be used properly?

I'm pretty sure it's the former, but there's a lot of other very confused people out there as well and I'm starting to wonder if maybe the TV broadcasters aren't entirely sure themselves...

hawthorne
12-01-2008, 01:16 AM
The government - in their wisdom - is going to abolish analogue TV. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_terrestrial_television_in_Australia#Analogue_Switchoff) That is, you will either need a set-top box or a new telly.

Existing free-to-air licensees will be able to have more channels. They will not be pay. That, as I understand it, is all Freeview is: a brand for no-pay channels and an attempt to persuade people that no longer having analogue TV is a terrific thing where they get stuff that they would not otherwise.

GuanoLad
12-01-2008, 01:27 AM
Yeah, I think Freeview is just a re-branding of Digital TV, with a couple of subtle changes that most of us won't even notice, like additional channels or more HD content or something.

Basically it's the final push before they switch off analogue, trying to convince people to hurry up and get their gear upgraded so they don't complain when their TV goes blank.

maggenpye
12-01-2008, 02:43 AM
We have it in New Zealand. It copies some (but not all) of the channels we already have on analogue (which will also stop transmitting here at some stage), plus a few new ones. All free to air, but digital.

I keep thinking of Douglas Adams.

Digital is being presented as so very clever. The only impact it will have on me is I'll need to buy a new and more expensive TV.

Martini Enfield
12-01-2008, 03:01 AM
We have it in New Zealand. It copies some (but not all) of the channels we already have on analogue (which will also stop transmitting here at some stage), plus a few new ones. All free to air, but digital.

I keep thinking of Douglas Adams.

Digital is being presented as so very clever. The only impact it will have on me is I'll need to buy a new and more expensive TV.

My understanding is that Digital Set Top Boxes in NZ cost some insane amount of money and that until recently most of it was satellite based rather than terrestrial, and, more importantly, almost nobody has it.

That's why I'm surprised they've gone with the "Freeview" name here- IMHO it's a stupid, stupid name for Digital TV and they should have stayed with "Digital TV", which is clear and unambiguous.

maggenpye
12-01-2008, 03:31 AM
About *$300 per unit when it came in (eh, about $250 Aus - whothefuckknows US)
Digital TVs (with the unit built in) are now on the market and slowly coming down in price.
It seems that most people are like me, happy to wait until analogue's turned off or the current telly dies, whichever happens first.

Last year, no-one I knew had one, this year it's about 50/50. Most of them used it as part of their excuse to upgrade to a larger set (flatscreen or home theatre) I don't know anyone, even now, who bought it for its own sake (but I'm sure someone has).

Once analogue goes off transmission, there will only be digital pay per view and digital freeview, that's the distinction they're advertising.

*More than I paid for my current analogue TV.

Martini Enfield
12-01-2008, 03:38 AM
Wow. Digital Set Top boxes are between $50-$80 here for a SD version about about $129 for an HD one. I'm not surprised Wiki reckons the take-up rate in NZ is only 10% if the STBs cost more than people's tellys there! :eek:

maggenpye
12-01-2008, 03:56 AM
New technology - they don't cost that now (checking - about $200 including dish & cabling). They're still coming down in price - the economy's helping with that.

Satellite's more effective here than terrestrial. Lots of mountainous and sparsely populated land even the high population areas are spread out.

A bit like I paid more for my first cell phone 15 years ago than I did for my current one. The cost per call was higher and they had bugger all coverage outside the main centres (we still don't have full coverage in some rural areas).

ETA: It was a very cheap telly.

don't ask
12-01-2008, 06:27 AM
I have a standard set top box for my TV but more often now I use a $50 USB device I bought from Aldi that is a HDTV tuner and gets me all the HD channels on my PC.

For any interested Aussies I notice that Aldi have one again this Thursday but it is a bit swisher than mine - twin tuners for picture in picture or tapeone, watch another or tape 2. Details are here. (http://aldi.com.au/au/html/offers/2867_6547.htm)

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