Analogue is the way that we have received television signals in New Zealand since television began. The old analogue television network will be progressively switched off and replaced with a digital signal between September 2012 and December 2013.
The process of going digital began in 2007 when the Freeview satellite service started transmitting a digital signal. In 2008, Freeview launched its digital terrestrial television service, Freeview|HD. Recent research indicates that around nine out of ten New Zealanders have already gone digital. This means it’s feasible to go completely digital by the end of 2013. Many other nations have already gone, or are in the process of going digital.
Going digital by the end of 2013 will free up radio spectrum in the 700MHz range, 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.
Digital TV is already available nationwide, so you can go digital now if you want. If you haven’t already, you’ll need to consider how you want to watch TV once your area has gone digital.
Most New Zealand homes have the option of watching digital TV using a UHF rooftop aerial. If you live in an area without this option, you’ll need a satellite service such as Freeview satellite or SKY. Homes in Wellington and Christchurch may also have the option of watching digital TV via cable. The Freeview website has a coverage map where you can check what options are available in your area.
More than nine out of ten households are already watching digital TV. We're conducting regular digital tracker surveys to see how many homes are already digital. You can download a summary of the latest digital tracker results.
If you have Freeview or subscribe to SKY, IGLOO or Vodafone, then you’re already watching digital TV, so you don't need to do anything.
If you’re using a Freeview compatible device such as TiVo or PlayStation 3’s Play TV, you’ve gone digital, too.
The two regions offer a combination of terrestrial and satellite reception areas and satellite-only areas. Viewers in Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast also had reasonably high levels of digital TV use when the campaign was launched (around 81 per cent on the West Coast, and around 70 per cent in Hawke’s Bay) so were well set up to help others in their communities get ready for digital.
New Zealand is going digital in stages – check our map to find out when your area will be completely digital.
Once your area has gone digital, you will need to get your television signal from either Freeview (free-to-air), SKY, IGLOO or Vodafone (pay-TV). The same free-to-air stations that you watch at the moment will still be available on digital TV.
The old analogue signal will be switched off. The spectrum it was using will be freed up for other purposes such as wireless broadband, data and telecommunications services.
No. Free-to-air television will still be available after we’ve gone digital. Freeview provides free-to-air digital television.
If you wish to continue to watch free-to-air television, you don’t need a new television but you may need some new equipment. Visit the what you’ll need section of our website to find out more.
There are no known health risks specific to digital TV.
One of digital TVs benefits is that it has the capacity to provide special features, such as audio description and subtitling, for those with sight and hearing impairments. Subtitles are available on selected programmes on Freeview and Vodafone. Contact them for more information.
Both Freeview and SKY offer a number of digital radio channels. These are only available through your TV. There are no other digital radio broadcast networks in New Zealand at present.
You don’t need a new television to watch digital, but you may need some new equipment.
The cost of going digital will depend on your location and what equipment you need, but it’s best to talk to your retailer or an installer about your options.
If you need a new aerial as well as a set-top box, you may wish to have them professionally installed. Installation costs vary depending on the size of the house and the location of the aerial.
Instead of buying equipment, you may choose to subscribe to a pay-TV service like SKY, IGLOO or Vodafone. These companies will install the equipment you need to watch digital TV in return for a monthly fee.
Your local retailer can provide further information and advice.
No. Almost any television can be made digital ready with a set-top box. The important thing to remember is that after your region goes digital, you’ll only be able to watch television on digital-ready sets.
If you want to buy a new television, and you’re not passing your old set onto friends or family, it’s a good idea to dispose of your old television responsibly. See our page on recycling old equipment for more information.
Check whether your existing aerial works before buying a new one. In some areas, indoor aerials may work.
Depending on where you live, and how you currently watch TV, you may need a new rooftop aerial or satellite dish. If you’re in one of the main centres that can receive a digital signal from terrestrial transmitters, then you can watch digital TV using a UHF aerial. If you live in an area without this option – or if you prefer satellite television – you’ll need a satellite dish and service such as Freeview satellite or SKY.
Your existing aerial may work, but if you have any problems, we recommend you contact a service person for technical advice. In some cases, the UHF service may not be available if the signal is blocked by trees, buildings or electrical interference.
If you live in an apartment building, it’s likely that you receive your television signal using an aerial or dish that you share with other apartments in your building. It’s important that you speak to whoever is responsible for managing your building to make sure you are digital ready. This may be your landlord, property manager, managing agent or residents’ association.
You can connect multiple televisions to a single set-top box, but because you select the channel you want to watch using the set-top box, all the TVs will show the same channel at the same time.
If your family wants to watch different programmes at the same time on your TVs, you may need to buy extra set-top boxes.
No matter how many televisions and set-top boxes you end up with, you’ll only need a single aerial or satellite dish.
Yes. Once your television is receiving digital TV from a set-top box, your existing video, DVD or digital recorder will be able to record it. However, if you want to watch one channel while recording another, you'll need a separate set-top box for your recorder.
There are digital set-top boxes that are also recorders, such as TiVo, MyFreeview, MySky. These devices offer easy recording options using on-screen TV guides. You may want to consider one of these if recording programmes is important to you.
No. There is no need to buy a high definition television to go digital.
A few older model TVs do not have an audio/video input. To ensure these are digital ready, you will need to purchase a Freeview set top box that has a built-in UHF modulator or purchase an additional modulating adaptor to connect to your TV.
In most cases, you can set up digital TV yourself. All most people need is a set-top box, which can be installed by plugging it into the back of the television and connecting it to the aerial lead.
Alternatively, pay-TV providers such as SKY or Vodafone will install the equipment you need to watch digital TV in return for a monthly fee.
The Energy Star scheme can provide you with guidance about how energy efficient different products are.
Whether you watch digital TV using Freeview, satellite services, or cable, putting your equipment on standby, or switching it off when you're not using it, will help save energy. Standby modes still use electricity but allow equipment to receive any necessary updates or perform scheduled functions like recording.
To watch digital TV you don’t need to buy a new television but you may need some new equipment. If you’ve got the equipment you need, you may not have installed it properly. Check your installation guide and contact the manufacturer or retailer.
Research shows that most New Zealanders are satisfied with the services they receive from television installers. Like any service though, it pays to ask about the experience and qualifications of any company you contact.
Consumers are protected under the Consumer Guarantees Act and the Fair Trading Act. If you believe an organisation has broken the Fair Trading Act, you can contact the Commerce Commission, which enforces the Act.
Your radio equipment and reception will not be affected by going digital.
Any new product can be used as a target for scams. Be aware of such scams and how to avoid them by ensuring you:
The equipment you need to go digital is sold at retail outlets. If you suspect a scam please contact your nearest police station.
The frequencies on which Freeview HD channels are broadcast will change in most areas and this will generally occur well before each region goes digital. Viewers will need to begin the automatic retuning process in their Freeview HD set-top box or televisions on the day of the change in their area. There will be householder publicity and on-screen messages at the appropriate time in each area.
Viewers who use only Sky, Vodafone, or Freeview satellite services do not need to make any changes.
Freeview is the digital replacement for free to air analogue television. Freeview HD broadcasts using UHF frequencies and allows viewers to watch some programmes in high definition, which means a better picture quality. Freeview is also available in standard definition via satellite.
The Freeview HD signal has recently been extended to Whangarei, Rotorua, Taupo, Gisborne, Wanganui, New Plymouth and eastern Taranaki, Wairarapa, Nelson/ Tasman, Timaru and Invercargill. This means that over 86 per cent of New Zealanders are now able to receive a DTT signal.
More than 86 per cent of New Zealanders are now able to receive free to air high definition digital television.
If you live in the coverage area for the Freeview HD service, you will need to have either a television with Freeview|HD built in or Freeview|HD receiver (set top box). A UHF aerial is required to receive Freeview the HD signal – but many homes already have this kind of aerial.
No. Almost any television can be made digital with a Freeview HD set top box.
In most cases, there’s no need to adjust your aerial. However, residents of the Wairarapa and Southland may need to point their aerial in a different direction.
Many New Zealanders choose to install Freeview HD themselves. However, if you need to install a new aerial, you may prefer to seek professional assistance.
No. The Freeview satellite service will continue to offer more channels and better pictures to all New Zealanders.
No. Local topography, buildings or other factors may mean that you cannot receive the DTT signal. In these cases, satellite services are available. Viewers are advised to seek professional advice from installers and service providers before purchasing new equipment.
The extended digital terrestrial television (DTT) network covers more than 86 per cent of New Zealand homes. New Zealanders who live outside the DTT coverage areas will still be able to receive digital television using a satellite dish.
The Freeview satellite service offers viewers more channels and better pictures, without the need to pay subscription fees. Covering the whole of New Zealand with a DTT service would require the installation of hundreds more transmitters, and would be uneconomic.
There are no plans to extend the Freeview HD network further in the future.
You can tell you’re watching digital television if you have an electronic programme guide, or if you can receive radio stations through your television.
If you are in an area where you can receive a UHF signal, you will need to check that you’re connected to a UHF aerial and that you are tuned into Freeview.
If you are in a satellite-only area, you will need a satellite set-top box.
The Freeview website has a coverage map where you can check what options are available in your area.
The best way to be sure your ‘Freeview-ready’ TV has gone digital is to make sure you can access an on-screen programme guide and at least 13 channels.
No. Going Digital is running a comprehensive awareness campaign, to make people aware of what they need to do and when, so they can continue watching TV after their region goes digital. Going Digital is not currently running a door to door campaign anywhere in the country. If you have someone knocking on your door asking about digital TV please check their credentials and if you are suspicious call the police as soon as possible after the incident.