By the end of 2013 all free-to-air television in Australia will be digital-only — but that’s not quite the end of our transition to digital television.
Coming up is the retune!
As analogue television is switched off in each area the broadcast spectrum will be re-organised, or ‘re-stacked’, to make better use of the frequencies available by grouping together channels in each broadcast area (instead of having them spread across the VHF and UHF bands as often happens now) and to vacate any broadcasts from UHF channels 52 to 69.
The broadcast spectrum currently assigned to channels 52 to 69 will then be made available for other non-broadcast uses.
The retune does not affect viewers watching digital TV via the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) system.
The retune begins in May, starting in Adelaide (3 May), and is due to be completed across approximately 450 transmitter sites Australia-wide by the end of 2014.
In the case of Adelaide the only broadcasters to be affected by the retune are SBS and community TV 44Adelaide. Local digital transmissions from Mount Lofty for ABC, Seven, Nine and Ten will not be affected.
For the other major capital cities, Sydney is scheduled for retune on 18 March 2014 , Melbourne on 7 February
10 March 2014, Brisbane on 27 June 2013 and Perth on 17 May 2013. Different dates may apply for those receiving digital TV from translator sites within those cities.
Viewers affected by the retune will not need to buy a new set but may need to re-scan their digital TV tuners and recorders on or after the retune date (not before) to retrieve any channels lost in the retune.
In some instances broadcasters will have the ability to simulcast on both old and new frequencies leading up to the retune date, but most frequency changes will be instantaneous.
For more information on the retune and to find out if or when any of your broadcast frequencies are being changed, refer to the Australian Government’s Digital Ready website.