Digital Switch On

New Zealand’s switch to digital TV is running smoothly on the home-front – but TV broadcasters are having a rough ride through a jungle of bungles by state agencies.

More than 90 per cent of home viewers are now ready for the final switch to all-digital TV at the end of this year – but many of the country’s free-to-air broadcasters are having a tough time shifting to the new digital world.

The Save TVNZ 7 campaign moves into top gear this week – New Zealand loses another public service channel - and Freeview has a rough road ahead.

New Zealand viewers have just lost access to another public service television broadcaster – and most of us didn’t know we had it. It’s SBS, the public service broadcaster established to meet the needs of Australia’s ethnic minorities – a very supercharged model for our own late, lamented Stratos channel.

Our broadcasting bureaucrats are herding regional television broadcasters into using digital terrestrial transmission services. Unfortunately, the folks at home aren’t following their lead.

On the surface, New Zealand’s transition to digital TV broadcasting is going well. 83% of our homes with television have made the conversion -  and we are still six months out from the date when the first of our regions says “Good Night Kiwi” to the old, spectrum-hungry era of analogue transmission.