Budgeting for the Digital Switch Over
MEDIA RELEASE: 13 June 2011
Budgeting for the Digital Switch Over - Freeview is the smart choice
As the cost of living rises (the consumer price index rose 4.5 percent between the March 2010 and March 2011 quarters), New Zealanders are looking at ways to make savings and budget more efficiently.
With the switch-over to digital-only broadcasting approaching, now is the time to consider changing from free reception of analogue television to free reception of digital television with Freeview – the smart financial choice.
“The largest benefit of Freeview is that it’s just a one-off cost to set up, and then the service is free,” says Freeview general manager Sam Irvine. “Some people already have a TV with a Freeview|HD receiver built in and will only need a UHF aerial (already present on about 75% of New Zealand houses) to be able to access digital TV for free. Also, anyone with a TV can benefit from Freeview, by simply purchasing a Freeview receiver and connecting it to their existing TV via a UHF aerial or satellite dish.
Digital television products have also reduced significantly in price over the last three years, making it more affordable for households to switch over to digital.
Free television is set to change significantly over the next couple of years, with Digital Switch Over (DSO) beginning in September 2012 in Hawke’s Bay and West Coast and rolling out region by region to finish in the upper North Island in November 2013.
Raewyn Fox, CEO of The NZ Federation of Family Budgeting Services, says households should make an educated decision when making the switch to digital. “By consulting a budget adviser, families can incorporate the cost of going digital into their budget. Putting a small amount of money away each week will help families work towards purchasing the right equipment to switch over to free digital television.
“Many families have opted for in-home entertainment since the start of the recession in a bid to cut back overall household spending, which shows New Zealanders’ resilience and ability to adapt to a changing environment. Freeview’s service will ensure families can enjoy more channels and better picture quality without a monthly cost, giving consumers a much-needed break.”
Freeview was established by New Zealand’s leading broadcasters, including TVNZ (owners of TVONE, TV2, TVNZ7 and Channel U, TVWorks (owners of TV3, TV3+1, C4 and FOUR), Maori Television Service (owners of Maori Television and Te Reo) and Radio New Zealand (owners of Radio New Zealand National and Radio New Zealand Concert), to offer a range of digital TV and radio channels to all New Zealanders, with no subscription.
There are currently 14-15 TV and 3-4 radio channels available free-to-air on Freeview (depending on the service) including channels that are not available on analogue TV.
The Government will begin the DSO (digital switch over) in September 2012 in a regionalised roll-out. Freeview is the free-to-air digital replacement for free-to-air analogue TV and provides better quality pictures and sound, more channels, and an on screen programme guide all for free.