One third of all set-top boxes sold in Australia are not capable of receiving all available digital channels, figures released* in response to Senator Birmingham’s questioning during Senate Estimates reveal.
“Australians need to be aware that when they purchase a Standard Definition set top box they will not be able to access High Definition channels,” Senator Birmingham said today.
“One third of set top boxes sold are only Standard Definition which means households will miss out on new stations including One HD, 7mate, GEM, SBS HD and ABC News 24
“13 per cent of all households who have converted to digital TV have no access to High Definition TV services.
“Under the Government’s switchover program, Standard Definition equipment is labelled with stickers proclaiming it to be ‘ready’ for the switchover, just like High Definition equipment.
“Labor’s failure to ensure people making the switchover to digital TV understand the implications of only getting a standard definition service mean up to a million households will miss out on the full benefits of digital TV and will face additional costs to upgrade to High Definition later.
“Communications Minister Stephen Conroy should explain how he thinks the benefits of the digital switchover will be maximised when a million households may not have access to all digital channels.”
*See February 2011 Additional Estimates answer to question on notice 403 in the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio, within Program 1.3 of the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, available at