Bye bye to analogue TV

Analogue TV has been shut off in most parts of Australia in the last few months.

Sydney was yesterday morning, and one enterprising bloke managed to record the last moments of all five stations. Have a watch, it’s great. Note Channel 7 (top right) which actually marked it by playing an old animation. The others just went blank as if in some horror movie:

Channel 7 also made an effort when their Brisbane analogue signal ended back in May:

Melbourne makes the final switch-off next Tuesday at 9am.

I assume most people have switched already, and thankfully the household assistance package has meant people shouldn’t get left behind.

The extra channels should have been motivation enough for most of us. And the government’s motivation? Lots of revenue from selling off the old analogue spectrum.

The big question will be when we start to get more high definition (HD) channels. Will there be another switch date in the future when standard definition equipment is no longer supported? How many SD-only setups are out there, who can’t get ABC News 24, 7Mate, and GEM?

Oh and by the way, if you’re culling the duplicate channels in your tuner, you might like to know that SBS HD and SBS1 are not actually identical. SBS HD usually shows SBS1, but sometimes shows SBS2 for movies and sport and other programming that benefits from HD.

Only one thing puzzles me about the big digital switchover — why does officialdom call the old system “analog”, US spelling without the ue?

Update 10/12/2013:

Melbourne shut down, all channels:

Channel 7, which marked the occasion with archival footage:

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7 thoughts on “Bye bye to analogue TV

  1. Why the US spelling of analog(ue)? Perhaps for the same reason people in Australia and even often in the UK use the US spelling ‘program’ in the context of computer software and ‘programme’ elsewhere. ‘Analog(ue)’ in the present context has a very specific, non-traditional technical meaning and I suspect many people outside the US use the variant spelling to mark this distinction.

  2. Australian television is so behind the times in general. Old MPEG2 decoding hardware where most have moved to DVB-S with proper 1920×1080 and AAC audio. Even using H264 streams. I hope with this shutdown that maybe they can now use the extra bandwidth to show HD stuff with a decent bitrate and maybe home grown AU shows in HD. We seem to have gone backwards in the past few years. Once upon a time we even get our soap operas in HD.

    Sigh, Australian TV is a mess.

  3. I think it has a name, but the older Foxtel digital box/recorder are Standard. It was very annoying to not be able to watch News 24 at my sister’s.

  4. I can’t stand how utterly compressed digital TV is today to fit those extra channels – it is unwatchable at 60 inches and higher. Throw in fast moving sport and it’s just a pixelated mess.

    Switch to a *cough* raw satellite feed of the V8s for instance and it’s as insanely gorgeous and glorious as watching a Blu-ray.

    Only watch a few shows anyway so channel BItTorrent provides nice 1080p downloads for those…

  5. The distinction between British and American spellings developed during the twentieth century; it used to be that there was one language with different options which were more popular in the different countries (as well as a few truly American changes, like “tire” instead of “tyre”). And this exists to this day, with -ise preferred in Australia, -ize preferred in America, but both existing in England.

    Words like “program”, “color”, “honor” have always been found in that spelling in Australia. (The Age only adopted a lot of “British” spellings in 2000 after they’d received enough complaints that it was confusing to students who were now so ill-educated they could only understand correct spelling if there was only one option.—Well, that’s my spin on it.)

    Anyway, I didn’t realise analogue tv was shutting off about now; I’d long supposed that both it and digital tv were long forgotten features of an ancient past, like going to the well to get water, newspapers and throwing your waste out the window. I must agree with Roger’s sentiments.

  6. I hardly turn my TV on these days except to watch DVDs. Will be a lot more TVs out on the nature strip now I guess. Flat screens are already starting to get tossed.

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