New Zealand to expand Freeview|HD coverage

Sunday, March 27th, 2011
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HD TV extension in time for RWC 2011

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman today announced free-to-air high definition digital television, also known as Freeview|HD, will be available by UHF aerial to an extra 160,000 homes in time for the Rugby World Cup.

The Government is extending the existing digital terrestrial television (DTT) service to Whangarei, Rotorua, Gisborne, Taupo, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Wairarapa, Nelson, Timaru and Invercargill.

The decision to expand the DTT network means over 86 percent of the population will be able to receive the high definition television signal using a UHF aerial by September 2011, up from the present 75 percent.

“The Government’s investment will make it even easier for more New Zealanders to enjoy the benefits of free-to-air high definition digital television including enhanced reception, better picture quality and more channels,” Dr Coleman says.

”The network will be operating in time for the Rugby World Cup, so people will be able to enjoy the action like never before.”

The DTT extension is part of the Government’s move to modernise New Zealand’s television broadcasting network by replacing the old analogue system with universal digital broadcasting.

Digital switchover will be phased starting with Hawke’s Bay and the West Coast in September 2012. The rest of the country will switch over in three stages between April and November 2013.

New Zealanders who live outside the DTT coverage areas can still receive digital television using a satellite dish. Recent research shows that 72 per cent of New Zealanders have already converted to digital television.

Households that have Freeview NZ, SKY Television or TelstraClear, are already set for digital switchover. Other viewers do not need a new television to make the switch, but may need to buy a set-top box and possibly a new aerial or satellite dish depending on what equipment they currently have and where they live.