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NZ Going Digital: TV channels are Going Completely Digital This Year!

Televisions Going Digital

As some say, TV is like a window to the world. It is an important medium for keeping people informed of the ongoings through news broadcasts as well as of course provide entertainment. Our country is following the rest of the world, switching completely over to digital TV this year. Last year, the Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast region of New Zealand were the first regions to switch over to digital while the South Island will be going completely digital in April 2013. The Wellington region will switch on August 2013 and the Auckland region will switch December 2013, meaning New Zealand will have completely switched over to digital by the end of this year. Watching TV by the way of the analogue signal will be of the past once this happens. We thought we’d dedicate a few posts to the subject of televisions going digital.

Our first blog to this series is about what digital TV is, what channels are available on digital TV and what equipment is required to view digital TV.

What is digital TV?

For us viewers, digital TV means clearer pictures, better sound quality and more channels. It will also mean the ability to receive other services such as radio and text services on the television.

What’s the point of the country switching over to digital?

As well as the above reasons — clearer pictures, better sound quality and more channels — there is also another reason for the country’s televisions to go digital. Without going into the technical side (as well as to save ourselves some unnecessary headaches trying to grasp it all, : oP : oP), the main reason is efficient use of the frequency spectrum.

Digital TV uses less capacity in the frequency spectrum. To transmit one analogue channel, it uses a single frequency. In contrast, digital TV technology allows multiple channels as well as other services such as radio and text services to be transmitted all at once in the same amount of space.

In short, transmitting channels via the digital signal will allow broadcasters to transmit more channels at a time and free up the spectrum for new technology.

Who offers Digital TV?

Here in New Zealand, digital television is available via the Freeview service, SKY TV, TelstraClear TV, or IGLOO. Freeview is an organisation organised by major broadcasters in New Zealand. Freeview has been offering us free to watch digital channels since 2007.

There is no subscription fee associated with getting Freeview digital channels. However, there is a cost to getting the equipment necessary to receive digital channels (more on this later).

Sky TV and IGLOO are paid services, offering digital channels through paid subscription.

What are the (Freeview) Digital Channels?

The following lists some of the channels that broadcasts in the digital signal (channel number and then name of channel are listed below):

  • Freeview 1 – TV One
  • Freeview 2 – TV2
  • Freeview 3 – TV3
  • Freeview 4 – FOUR
  • Freeview 5 – Maori TV
  • Freeview 6 – U
  • Freeview 7 – TV One Plus 1
  • Freeview 8 – TV3 Plus 1
  • Freeview 9 – C4
  • Freeview 11 – Trackside
  • Freeview 12 – Choice TV
  • Freeview 18 – The Shopping Channel
  • Freeview 22 – Parliament TV
  • Freeview 28 – Chinese TV 8
  • Freeview 29 – Channel 9 (Chinese TV)
  • Freeview 40 – Canterbury Television

The list of digital channels above are location-dependent and may not all be available in your region. To find a more comprehensive list of channels available for your region, check Freeview.

Do I have Digital TV already?

A lot of people have Digital TV already. Digital channels have been broadcasting since 2007, so it may be that you are already watching digital channels. To find out if you have Digital TV already, you can flip through your TV and see if you see any of the following channels:

  • Freeview 6 – U
  • Freeview 7 – TV One Plus 1
  • Freeview 8 – TV3 Plus 1
  • Freeview 9 – C4
  • Freeview 11 – Trackside
  • Freeview 12 – Choice TV
  • Freeview 18 – The Shopping Channel
  • Freeview 22 – Parliament TV
  • Freeview 28 – Chinese TV 8
  • Freeview 29 – Channel 9 (Chinese TV)
  • Freeview 40 – Canterbury Television

The above list are only available on the digital signal. If you are seeing one or more of these digital channels now then it means you are already watching digital TV. You will not need to worry about not having any TV to watch when the analogue signal is switched off because you are already set up with Digital TV.

(Again, we want to note that some channels may not be available in your region. Channel availability is dependent on which region broadcasters choose to broadcast. Most people should be able to get Freeview 6, Freeview 7, Freeview 8 and Freeview 22, however; so on your remote, press the corresponding numbers and see if you get some of these channels.)

This completes our first post to NZ Going Digital with televisions. Our next post will be on the equipment needed.

Till next time!

See our other posts in NZ Going Digital blog series:

NZ Going Digital: Equipment Needed to Watch Freeview
NZ Going Digital: Troubleshooting TV Reception Problems
NZ Going Digital: Recording Digital TV Programmes – Digital TV Recorders

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