Questions about Freeview
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.
- 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 to http://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 new digital services such as ABC2, ABC3, ABC News 24,SBS TWO, GO!, 7TWO and ONE HD, are now available in Remote Central and Eastern Australia TV licence area, Mildura/Sunraysia, regional South Australia and Broken Hill licence TV licence areas. VAST is expected to become available to viewers in remote Western Australia by early 2011.
For more information on this service please visit, http://www.digitalready.gov.au/government-assistance
- 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 you need to prepare for switchover in your area. This includes your predicted digital TV coverage and channels, your switch off date for analog TV, links to your nearest Australian Government endorsed antenna installers, retailers participating in the Retail Advisor Scheme and events. Please visit http://www.digitalready.gov.au/MySwitch.aspx
- Your building may need to upgrade its antenna system in order to ensure good quality access to digital TV. This may be necessary if, for example, components are broken, corroded, outdated or of poor quality.
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 either because the new digital channels are in a new frequency band or because the antenna is older or not in good condition and can’t receive adequate signal. You can find the best antenna and accessories for your area by going to http://www.matchmaster.tv
The building’s antenna system (including cabling) can be assessed by an antenna installer with experience in master antenna TV (MATV) systems to find out if it needs to be replaced or upgraded.
- 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 at http://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 at http://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, click here
- The new satellite service is available to viewers who are unable to receive adequate digital television services from existing terrestrial transmitters.
Households that currently rely on self-help retransmission facilities which are not able to receive digital terrestrial television services, either because their self-help re-transmission facility is not converted to digital or because reception from the site is not adequate, are able to access the new satellite service.
The VAST service is available for viewers in the Remote Central and Eastern Australia TV licence area, including regions of the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland, News South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. For more information on VAST please visit, http://www.digitalready.gov.au/government-assistance