You might have seen adverts on the Seven & Ten network
stating that their new High Definition (HD) TV programs are now available. New
Zealand is also converting, with HD Digital on air in all major population
centres, ready for the start of the Beijing Olympics on 8th August 2008.
Perhaps you have been thinking that you will be able to get the
new HD programs with your existing standard definition (SD) set-top box (STB) or
SD digital tuner. Well, think again. It doesn’t work that way.
If you want to see HD programs, you will need an HD tuner, even
if your present display cannot show them in the needle-sharp focus of HD.
You'll need an HD set-top box
if your TV doesn't have one built in.
But don't despair: they won't cost an arm and a leg!
This Tevion brand HD STB was on sale earlier this year for less than $100
(see the review in this issue). And we've seen them for $50 or less on eBay!
In Australia there are HD and SD receivers. SD programming will
eventually die out with the advent of HD-only programming but an HD STB can
produce an SD signal for analog receivers. So even if you decide to stay with
your present analog TV set, it will still be possible to watch all the new
high-definition free-to-air programs, provided that you have an HD STB.
The clock is definitely ticking on analog TV broadcasts.
Senator Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital
Economy, has set the switch-off date for metropolitan analog TV as December
2009, with all analog transmissions to cease by 2013.
So there is no escaping it, if you want free-to-air TV programs
in the near future, you are going to have to "go digital" and realistically,
that means "go HD".