30 September a historic day for New Zealand television

 

The Going Digital singers

30 September 2012 will mark a milestone in New Zealand television history with the switching off of the analogue TV signal in Hawke’s Bay and on the West Coast.  

The first official television broadcast in New Zealand began at 7.30pm on 1 June 1960 and could only be seen only in Auckland. Programming ran for three hours and included an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood, a live interview with a visiting British ballerina and a performance by the Howard Morrison Quartet.

A lot has changed in New Zealand TV over the past 52 years but not everything as even a TV used back in the 1960s can go digital with the right equipment says Going Digital National Manager Greg Harford.

Television was introduced to New Zealand in stages much like the move to digital 52 years later. Television was only available in Auckland in the first year of transmission, Christchurch was the second region to get TV in June 1961 followed by Wellington four weeks later and then Dunedin in July 1962.

Starting with Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast of the South Island, including St Arnaud and Murchison, New Zealand television is going digital in stages over the next 15 months.

With just days until the move to digital TV in Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast more than nine out of 10 homes in each region have gone digital. After 30 September anyone in these regions who isn’t watching Freeview or SKY won’t be able to watch TV.

Based on experiences overseas there will be a small percentage of households that won’t be digital by 30 September.

“The Going Digital information campaign that has run over the past 22 months has always been about making sure those people who want to continue watching TV know what they need to do and when and those people choosing not to go digital are making an informed choice,” said Mr Harford.

Over the past 22 months Going Digital has been running a comprehensive public information campaign in Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast to make everyone aware of the change. This has included an extensive advertising and communications campaign, mail drops, public information stands and door knocking more than 21,000 homes in the Bay.  

The Going Digital campaign was launched in November 2010 to give New Zealanders plenty of time to plan for the change. And there is assistance available for those groups most likely for face technical and financial barriers in going digital,” said Mr Harford.

While Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast will be making the move to digital TV in just weeks the rest of the country will be following suit in stages. The rest of the South Island goes digital on 28 April 2013 followed by the lower North Island on 29 September 2013 and finally the upper North Island on 1 December 2013.

The move to digital gives TV viewers better quality pictures and more channels and it also frees up radio spectrum which is ideal for next-generation mobile telecommunications services. These will support our economic development by offering faster and cheaper mobile broadband services for New Zealanders.

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Keeping TV alive for the hard of hearing

Hastings Hearing Association
Hastings Hearing Association President Chris Williams (centre) and Hastings Hearing Association Field Liaison Officer Joy Howell (right) learn about the new features available with digital TV from Hills SignalMaster installer David Jellyman (left).

On 30 September every TV in Hawke’s Bay needs to have gone digital – even those used by not-for-profit organisations, community groups and sports clubs.

One not-for-profit organisation all ready for the move to digital TV is the Hastings Hearing Association who received all the equipment it needed to go digital and a free install as winners of a competition organised by Going Digital and Hills SignalMaster.

Hastings Hearing Association President Chris Williams says television can be an important lifeline for people living with hearing loss.

“TV helps to keep people in touch with what is going on in the world and it helps to reduce isolation,” said Mr Williams.

At the Hastings Hearing Association people who have lost hearing can learn how to use headphones, personal hearing devices or captions to enhance their TV viewing experience.

“A lot of people who have lost hearing give up on TV because they can’t hear it properly but with the right equipment many people can continue enjoying TV.”

Mr Williams explains that many of the people the association works with are older and for them technology can be a challenge. Now that the Association’s television has gone digital it will be able to continue it’s work explaining the options available for people with hearing loss when it comes to watching TV.

The Hastings Hearing Association went digital easily and quickly thanks to the competition win but it can be just as easy for most groups and individuals says Going Digital National Manager Greg Harford.

“After 30 September everyone in Hawke’s Bay who wants to watch TV needs to have either Freeview or SKY and going digital can be as easy as buying the right set-top box and connecting it to an existing aerial or satellite dish,” said Mr Harford.

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52 years from first official TV broadcast to digital

The first official broadcast in New Zealand occurred on 1 June 1960 and now 52 years later the country is preparing to go digital.

New Zealand television will start to go digital on 30 September when Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast, including Murchison and St Arnaud make the move. All of the country will be digital by the end of 2013.

Looking back to 1 June 1960, the first official television broadcast in New Zealand began at 7.30pm and could only be seen in Auckland. Programming ran for three hours and included an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood, a live interview with a visiting British ballerina and a performance by the Howard Morrison Quartet.

A lot has changed in New Zealand TV over the past 52 years but not everything as even a TV used back in the 1960s can go digital with the right equipment says Going Digital National Manager Greg Harford.

“Every TV, even really old ones, can go digital with the right set-top box and a UHF aerial or satellite dish,” said Mr Harford.

Television was introduced to New Zealand in stages much like to move to digital 52 years later. Television was only available in Auckland in the first year of transmission, Christchurch was the second region to get TV in June 1961 followed by Wellington four weeks later and then Dunedin in July 1962.

By 1965 the four stations were broadcasting seven nights a week – a total of 50 hours. There was no national network and each centre saw local programmes. Overseas shows were flown from centre to centre and played in different cities in successive weeks.

“Today 52 years later as the country prepares to go digital the range of channels available and the picture quality will be a marked improvement on what was enjoyed in the 1960s,” said Mr Harford.

 

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21,400 homes get going digital message

Going Digital Community Advisor Murray Sawyer guides some of the Going Digital Information Officers through their data collection work.

Over the last two months Going Digital information officers have covered over 2,822 kilometres as the going digital message has been personally delivered to 21,400 homes in Hawke’s Bay.

Going Digital information officers have been going door to door in Napier, Hastings, Flaxmere, Havelock North, Waipukurau and Waipawa since late March to make sure everyone is aware of the move to digital TV on 30 September.  

Going Digital National Manager Greg Harford says the campaign has been an effective way of ensuring everyone in Hawke’s Bay is aware of the move to digital TV and what people need to do to ensure they can continue watching TV after 30 September. 

“As a result of this campaign we have been able to update our records of homes that are digital and it also helps us to better target homes that are still to go digital with future campaigns,” said Mr Harford.

The last of the 21,400 doors was visited this week and information gained over the past eight weeks will be used to support future communications to those people who are still to go digital or were not home when the Going Digital team visited them during the door knock. 

TV in Hawke’s Bay goes digital on 30 September and after this date if you aren’t watching Freeview or SKY you won’t be able to watch TV at all.

“To go digital you don’t need a new TV but you will need the right set-top box and a UHF aerial or satellite dish,” said Mr Harford. 

With the move to digital TV Mr Harford says it is important to think about the second TV you may have at home or your DVD and video recorder because all of these items need to go digital if they are to continue to receive and record pictures.

Mr Harford says if you were missed during the door knock campaign and you want further information on how to go digital you can visit www.goingdigital.co.nz or call 0800 838 800.

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From renting to digital – TV has come a long way

TV has come a long way in the last half century as this month marks 50 years since people were able to rent black and white televisions.

Since then the television industry has seen the introduction of colour TV, commercial television channels, the development of pay television services and later this year the move to digital TV.

On September 30 Hawke’s Bay and the West Cost of the South Island, including Murchison and St Arnaud, will become the first regions to go digital. The rest of the country will follow in stages with Auckland and the upper North Island the last to make the move to digital on 1 December 2013.

Back in 1962 the cost to rent a TV was a fraction of the purchase price. Someone looking to buy a 23-inch black and white television would have paid ₤130 – the equivalent of about $4500 today, making it a luxury item that not everyone could afford.

“The move to digital TV will give viewers a markedly improved viewing experience especially in comparison to what was offered back in 1962,” said Going Digital National Manager Greg Harford.

Digital TV offers better pictures and more channels unlike in 1962 when viewers relied on rabbit-ears and ribbons of wire and only received one channel. 

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