We get asked about digital television and Freeview all the time. So, we've compiled for you a list of the most commonly asked questions to help with everything you need to know.
Australia has achieved a historic switchover from analog to digital-only free-to-air TV transmissions. The digital switchover began in 2010 in Mildura, Victoria, and was rolled out progressively around the country, region by region until the last of Australia's analog free-to-air TV signals were switched off in Melbourne and remote central and eastern Australia on 10 December 2013.
As a final step in the move to digital-only TV, some free-to-air channels need to change frequencies. After they've changed, viewers in particular areas will need to retune their digital TVs, set-top boxes or video recorders to keep watching digital TV. Different areas will need to retune on different dates, so to find out your region's exact date, visit the retune website.
Some TV channels are changing their frequency as the final step in the move to digital-only TV. The retune begins in May 2013 and is due to be completed by 31 December 2014. You'll need to retune your TV, set-top box or digital recorder when these changes happen in your area. If you don't, you won't be able to receive all free-to-air digital TV channels. To find your area's retune date and more information on what you’ll need to do, please visit http://retune.digitalready.gov.au/
Parental lock is a feature on digital TV receivers that gives parents and/or guardians greater control of what their children watch on television via classification of programs or full channels.
The Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) mandated that all new digital TV receivers sold in Australia after 4 February 2011 must include Parental Lock functionality. For more information visit http://www.freetv.com.au/parentallock
Freeview is the free digital television service in Australia. It comprises of the channels from Australia’s free-to-view broadcasters, including the ABC, SBS, Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten.
No, Free TV is a completely separate entity. Free TV is an industry body which represents all of Australia’s commercial free-to-view television licensees. The organisation provides a forum for discussion of industry matters and is the public voice of the industry on a wide range of issues. Free TV is responsible for the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice and provides a service to classify and advise on television commercials and infomercials. For more information about Free TV, please visithttp://www.freetv.com.au
No, Freeview does not control the content, programming or number of channels offered by the free-to-view networks.
Freeview is the free digital television service in Australia. It comprises of the channels from Australia’s free-to-view broadcasters, including the ABC, SBS, Seven Network, Nine Network, Network Ten, PRIME7, Imparja and Southern Cross Television. Additional channels on Freeview include:
ABC2 Entertains pre-schoolers from 6am – 7pm every day. In the evening, ABC2 provides contemporary adult programming including comedy, drama and documentaries.
ABC3 is a commercial-free, dedicated kids channel created especially for 6-12 year olds.
ABC News 24 offers 24 hour, commercial-free coverage of national and global breaking news.
SBS 2 is Australia’s multicultural digital channel featuring more of the world’s best stories, filmand documentaries from here and around the world.
NITV aims to inform, entertain and educate its audiences with unique programs showcasing the rich diversity of Indigenous culture, languages and creative talent from across the nation.
7TWO brings you the very best of British television, comedies and movies.
7mate offers first-run comedies, reality and movies for the guys. It’s man’s best friend.
GO! is an entertainment channel for the young and young at heart.
GEM is a general entertainment and movie channel.
ONE offers premium sport, factual programs and movies plus action and adventure.
ELEVEN is a premium entertainment channel for the distinctly youthful.
TV4ME features information rich content around lifestyle, finances, community, education, alternative sports and shopping.
EXTRA & Extra2 features programs created by advertisers across a range of categories from home shopping, brand funded, religious, community, educational and multicultural programming.
At TVSN, you can shop when you want, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Experience a variety of exclusive, well-known brands in departments such as Fashion, Health, Beauty, Kitchen, Electronics, Homewares, Collectables and Jewellery.
Spree TV showcases the latest products and offers across home improvement, lifestyle, cooking, fitness and health products.
Fresh Ideas TV features information rich content around lifestyle, finances, community, education, alternative sports and shopping.
iShop is the new place to buy the latest products designed to make life easy, healthy and fun.
Aspire TV is Australia's newest home shopping channel brings life-changing products to your home.
In addition, SBS HD offers simulcast programming of SBS ONE in high definition (providing better picture and sound). In the future, this will be replaced with unique programming as more Australians switch to Freeview – so you’ll get even more of the great TV shows you love, for FREE!
Community TV channels in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth are also broadcast in digital. These channels include TVS, C31, 31 Digital, 44 Adelaide, WTV CH44. They are available in standard definition via channel 44.
The channels that you will receive depend on your region. You can view which channels are available in your region by clicking HERE
Yes. TVS, C31, 31 Digital, 44 Adelaide and WTV CH44 are all Community TV Stations that are available on Freeview. The stations are broadcast in standard definition via digital channel 44.
TVS is available to residents in the Sydney metropolitan area who currently receive a digital signal. It offers viewers a wide range of free-to-view programmes. More than 40% of content on TVS is made in Sydney, with another 30% coming from other community TV stations around Australia.
C31 is Melbourne and Geelong’s Community TV Station. The station encourages the active participation of individuals and community groups to produce programs of interest to their community.
31 Digital is South East Queensland's only Community TV Station. It broadcasts from Mt Coot-tha to the South East of Queensland, from the Sunshine Coast to the Gold Coast and inland to Toowoomba, covering the larger population areas of Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich. 31 Digital features programs that reflect the diversity and vibrancy of the many different demographics that make the South East Queensland region unique.
WTV CH44 is Western Australia's first and only free-to-air digital community television station. It is available to those in the Perth Metro area. WTV CH44 provides a great choice of entertainment and general interest programs to suit the needs of everyone, regardless of age.
44 Adelaide is South Australia’s only community TV station, available in the Adelaide Metro area. 44 Adelaide offers a diverse range of programming that caters to all demographics, from arts, sport, music, lifestyle and special events, with a strong focus on local content.
Each individual broadcaster makes its own decision about retransmitting its services via Pay TV. Check with your Pay TV provider about the availability of these channels.
The Digital Switchover Taskforce’s MySwitch website details the channel frequencies for each region in Australia. The MySwitch website will also tell you transmitter information relevant to your area and what channels you should be receiving. Please visit http://myswitch.digitalready.gov.au/ then enter your address. The channel frequencies will appear under ‘Technical Information’ for your specific region.
For a list of the channel numbers to tune into, go to http://www.freeview.com.au/channels/.
Turn your digital TV, set top box or personal video recorder (PVR) off at the main switch for 5 minutes, then switch it back on and perform a channel rescan. If you continue to experience a loss of sound, you should contact the manufacturer of your digital receiver.
Please visit the TV CHANNELS link page for a list of channels available in your region. Alternatively, go to http://www.digitalready.gov.au/ then enter your address to view a listing of the channels available in your area.
Channel 78 is the new RACING.COM channel. It is a dedicated free-to-air channel covering Victorian thoroughbred racing 363 days-a-year and will be integrated with digital streaming and other services at Racing.com.
There is currently no program guide but it is hoped this will be launched in the near future.
You will need to call Chief Entertainment Services on 02 8437 2700 or email them through their website www.chiefentertainment.com.au
Once you have the necessary digital ready equipment, you should be able to watch Freeview.
If your equipment isn’t working, you need to try one of the following:
• Re-tune your digital receiver (i.e. TV, STB, PVR).
• Check that your cables are in good condition and connected properly.
• An indoor antenna may need to be replaced with an external antenna to get a reliable digital signal.
• Check the external antenna (may require the help of a local antenna installer).
• In most cases a new antenna isn’t needed, but if the problem still persists the older antenna may need replacing. Check with a local antenna installer.
The easiest way to test if your current equipment is high definition digital is by checking to see if the TV receives ABC News 24. You can do this by going to Channel 24 on your television set. TVs are Freeview-ready if they are able to receive ABC News 24 without the aid of a Pay TV box. You may need to retune the television before ABC News 24 appears, so don’t forget to give this a go if you are experiencing any problems.
New channels are launched on Freeview from time to time. The TV broadcasters also implement system upgrades to their frequencies. So it pays to retune your digital box every couple of months to make sure you are up to date. Some digital boxes automatically retune but most have to be retuned manually. The process is straightforward but varies slightly between boxes from different manufacturers. For more information on how to retune please visit http://retune.digitalready.gov.au/how-to-retune
For general information about digital TV in Australia and Australia’s switchover from analog to digital TV visit the Department of Communications website. Alternatively, you can call 1800 20 10 13.
If you are a manufacturer of digital receiver equipment and you are currently not receiving technical communications from Freeview, please Contact Us for further information.
If you are a retailer of electronic products, please Contact Us for further information.
If you are an antenna installer, you need to be endorsed by the Digital Switchover Taskforce (Part of the Australian Government - Department of Broadband, communications and the Digital Economy).
To do this, contact them via email or visit http://www.digitalready.gov.au/industry. Once you have been endorsed, you will be able to apply to Freeview to use the logo.
You can email us or write to us at:
44 Avenue Rd, Mosman
Sydney NSW 2088
Many existing antennas will be able to receive digital transmissions without any problem, but in some cases equipment may need to be upgraded to receive reliable digital signals.
You will need to find out if the current TV antenna is designed for the same band of operation that the digital TV broadcasts in the area will be transmitted on. In some cases it will need to be upgraded because the new digital channels are in a new frequency band or because the antenna is older or not in good condition. You can find the best antenna and accessories for your area by going tohttp://www.matchmaster.tv
There is no such thing as a ‘digital antenna’, but some antennas have been manufactured specifically to receive both digital and analogue channels (particularly those made after 2000). You can have your antenna system assessed by an antenna installer to find out whether it needs to be replaced.
Individual broadcasters are responsible for the rollout of channels to regional areas. Content and programming vary according to geographical area based on the ownership of commercial TV licences in particular markets. So, for example, most of Sydney does not receive PRIME7, WIN and Southern Cross Television, while regional markets do not receive SEVEN, NINE and TEN.
However, the Government’s Viewer Access Satellite Service (VAST) provides Freeview digital television to eligible viewers in regional ‘blackspot’ areas. That is, all free-to-air digital television services, including the original three commercial (SEVEN, NINE and TEN) and two national channels (ABC and SBS), as well as digital services.
For more information on this service please visit, https://www.myvast.com.au/
Freeview is not a vehicle for resolving reception issues. You can call an antenna installer to check current equipment, tuning and orientation, and to investigate signal strength in the area and any other possible factors which might contribute to poor television reception. The installer may be able to advise on modifications to the current antenna system to improve reception, if required. Local digital reception quality can also be affected by trees, geography, buildings and other obstructions near a residence. You can find the best antenna and accessories for your area by going to http://www.matchmaster.tv
Furthermore, you can visit the Government’s MySwitch website which is designed to provide information about digital TV in your area. This includes your digital TV coverage and channels, links to your nearest Australian Government endorsed antenna installers and more. Please visit http://www.digitalready.gov.au/MySwitch.aspx
Please visit the Government’s MySwitch website to find out if you live in a blackspot area. If so, you may need to access free-to-air television via the Government’s satellite service which provides Freeview to viewers in regional blackspot areas. Click here for more information.
There are a number of factors that might lead to poor reception of digital television services. These may include the following:
1. Weather conditions, which can cause digital reception to break up or ‘pixelate’.
2. Signal obstructions, such as the immediate local terrain, foliage, buildings and trees. You may be living in what is known as a reception “black spot”.
3. The signal received may be too weak or too strong to allow the HDTV to generate a stable picture.
4. ‘Impulse noise’ interference which may be generated by the use of household items such as domestic appliances, light switches, fridges, hair dryers, air conditioners, computers, wireless network equipment (Wi-Fi) and cordless phones. Moving the devices away from the antenna source can decrease the level of interference.
5. How far you are from the transmitting tower of your local TV station. The further away your nearest transmission tower, the worse quality reception you will have.
6. Condition and age of your antenna. The average age for antennae in Australia is around 5 years old, and the average householder only services or upgrades their antenna every 12 years. Lots can happen in those 12 years, the antenna can deteriorate as can the cabling, the local environment can change, new structures can be built in the line of sight and there are ongoing changes happening to the networks – such as the current move towards digital TV.
7. Changes to your TV or home entertainment set up, e.g., additional TV points or outlets, changing the physical location of your external antenna, adjusting the direction of your external antenna.
8. Condition of your Television. The age of your television may be a contributing factor to poor picture quality and signaling.
If you are experiencing poor reception of digital TV, try one of the following:
1. Re-tune your TV.
2. Check that your cables and connection points running between your television or set top box and the wall socket are in good condition and connected properly. RG-6 coaxial-shielded cables will block out interference and screw-in F connectors will ensure connectivity.
3. Review your splitter setup. Splitters let you spread your signal to multiple devices but doing so weakens the signal strength.
4. Move any digital devices away from your Antenna source.
5. Check with your neighbours to see if they too are having problems – compare setups, direction of antenna, cabling etc.
6. If you use an indoor antenna, you may need to replace it with an external antenna to get a reliable digital signal.
7. Check your external antenna. You may need the help of your local antenna installer. In most cases, a new antenna isn’t needed, but if the problem still persists, your older aerial may need replacing. Check with you local antenna installer or you can find the best antenna and accessories for your area by going to http://www.matchmaster.tv
A list of Government and Freeview-Endorsed Antenna Installers is available athttp://www.digitalready.gov.au
If you are having problems with the reception and transmission of ABC services, please contact the ABC Reception Advice Line on 1300 13 9994 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 7pm EDT). Alternatively, you can send an enquiry through their website at http://abc.net.au/reception/contact
SBS transmission information is available on the SBS website athttp://www20.sbs.com.au/transmissions
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has published information about digital television reception that can be downloaded from the ACMA website.
The Australian Government has implemented a satellite service that gives viewers living in regional and remote ‘blackspot’ areas of Australia access to the same number of free-to-air digital television channels that are available to those living in the cities. This includes ABC1, ABC2, ABC3, ABC News 24, SBS ONE, SBS TWO, SBS HD, SEVEN, 7TWO, 7mate, NINE, GO!, GEM, TEN, ONE HD and ELEVEN. This service is called Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST).
In addition, the VAST service provides regional viewers with access to the local news currently broadcast in their TV licence area via a dedicated local news channel.
For more information on the satellite service, https://www.myvast.com.au/