High Definition-only channels
ABC News 24 was the first HD-only channel.
There’s more on the way: Channel 7’s offering aimed at the male demographic “7-Mate” will also be HD-only.
Channel 10’s new “Eleven” will be SD, but it will replace the SD version of their sports channel “One”.
There are rumours Channel 9 will launch a new channel next year, and inevitably that’ll be HD-only, given they have to continue to broadcast their main channel in SD.
Time, perhaps, for those of you with no HD tuner to look into upgrading.
How many channels?
Once the commercial networks launch their third channels, by my calculations we’ll almost be at capacity, with 15, though it’s unclear to me if SBS has the right to put up any more channels.
Certainly things have grown since just a few years ago when there were 6 (analogue) channels: ABC, 7, 9, 10, SBS and Channel 31.
Note the graph is not linear. Based on some stuff from Wikipedia, counting distinct programming, and main channels only, not things like channels displaying TV guides, which were used at one time last decade. I may have missed a few minor and temporary ones, like that 3D test channel that ran for a while this year.
That bump in 2001-03 was the ABC’s initial extra channels FlyTV and ABC Kids, both of which got canned.
Ian, an Englishman used to the old UK channel numbering of BBC1, BBC2, ITV (implied “3”), Channel 4, Channel 5 etc, once remarked to me that when they first discovered Australia had a “Channel 10”, they wondered if we also had channels 1 to 9. We didn’t of course, but now we do, though they’re not all numbered like that. (In the mean time of course, the UK has also expanded its channel range via digital… and interestingly, the BBC’s “CBeebies” and “CBBC” are similar to the ABC2 and ABC3 daytime children target demographics.
How many people are watching what?
Here’s some figures from OzTam, Melbourne between 6am and midnight, for all homes and including cable TV share:
- Seven 20.00%
- Nine 18.20%
- Ten 15.80%
- ABC1 10.50%
- GO! 3.90%
- ABC2 3.40%
- 7TWO 3.10%
- SBS1 2.80%
- ABC3 1.30%
- One 1.20%
- ABC News 24 0.80%
- SBS2 0.50%
- All cable channels 18.50%
ABC News 24
Despite glitches like those that affected Sunday night’s repeat of Insiders (where it started late, accidently switched to Inside Business for a mistaken minute or two, then flicked back but was cut short just as Barrie Cassidy made an interesting point), I’m very much enjoying ABC News 24.
This interesting piece highlights something that hadn’t occurred to me: because it covers major press conferences live and unedited, it’s proving a boon for niche journalists, such as the tech press, who are covering the debate over broadband, as they can’t afford to physically be at these press conferences, but can listen in via the TV coverage. And of course their readers, who can also watch the coverage for themselves.