This Friday 7th February is Melbourne’s re-tune day for digital television. This is when the frequencies of some channels change, so they can make more efficient use of the spectrum.
If you don’t re-tune your digital TV devices, you may find some channels don’t work after this. Hopefully most people will figure out how to do it.
The whole shift to digital TV, and the shutdown of analogue services, has been interesting to watch. Once the benefit of the extra channels were there, it seemed like there was a stampede of people switching.
It’d be interesting to know what the next planned stages are. Will we move towards all HD channels? It’d certainly be nice to make use of the available technology to get that higher quality.
Digital TV is one of those changes that governments implement from time to time to help the country move forward, and it’s nice to know that — despite some rightly highlighting issues with it — it’s gone ahead relatively smoothly, and without the kind of luddite response to change that you see in some other parts of the world.
Other similar changes that spring to mind from recent decades:
- Decimal currency (1966)
- The switch to metric (1970-1988)
- The replacement of $1 and $2 notes with coins (1984-1988), and the removal of 1 and 2 cent coins (1991)
- 8 digit phone numbers (
1984-19881994-1998) — many people may not recall, but like digital television, this involved multiple number changes for some regional areas
- The switch from analogue to digital mobile phones (1993-2000)
The USA’s near-paralysis on some of these types of issues is an interesting contrast. They’re one of a handful of countries steadfastly resisting metric despite the economic benefits, they still have 1 cent coins and $1 notes despite inflation, their telephone numbering system is a complete mess with more and more cities now having multiple area codes…
But they have managed to largely migrate from analogue to digital television — and might even have more free-to-air HD channels generally available than we do.
And of course, the USA leads the world in other ways, particularly around innovation, so I don’t know if these things are necessarily holding them back, but you’d have to wonder how much better they’d do if their government was able to push ahead with basic technological reform.