Mildura’s already done it. So has Rockhampton. Have you?

The analog TV signal switch off has crept it’s way around the country over the last two years. With just over 12 months to go, a fair chunk of the population is about to be affected…

NSW – North West Slopes and Plains (incl Tamworth and Inverell) – 27 November 2012
NSW – Richmond/Tweed Byron Bay (incl Tenterfield and Lismore) – 27 November 2012
NSW – Northern Rivers Coffs Harbour (incl Forster and Grafton) – 27 November 2012
NSW – Hunter (incl Newcastle and Port Stephens) – 27 November 2012
SA – Adelaide – 2 April 2013
TAS – Tasmania (incl Hobart, Launceston and King Island) – 9 April 2013
WA – Perth – 16 April 2013
Qld – Brisbane (incl Gold Coast and Noosa) – 28 May 2013
WA – Regional and Remote Western Australia (incl Kalgoorlie, Broome and Bunbury) – 25 June 2013
NSW – Sydney (incl Gosford) – 3 December 2013
NT/Qld/SA/NSW – Darwin, Alice Springs, Mt Isa, Bourke, Roma, Longreach (incl surrounds) – 10 December 2013
Vic – Melbourne – 10 December 2013

But what does it all mean? And why is there a double rainbow right behind you?

At its most basic – it means that the old analog transmission of free-to-air television ceases and you’ll only be able to access FTA TV if you have a digital receiver in your TV or a digital set top box. You may also need to upgrade your antenna also.

Beyond that? Well, it’s kind of up for grabs. The Federal Government will need to review the anti-siphoning list as well as the rules around local content and what counts towards each network’s quota.

Both of these systems were created before the switch-off (with at least the former somewhat digital aware) and with ALL the FTA channels existing on the same playing field from 10 December 2013 – where every Australian should have access to them all – the Government will have to offer some changes to the networks. The Networks will have to be allowed to include Australian content they play on what were the multi-channels in their Australian content quota, and they’ll also have to be allowed to move events on the anti-siphoning list onto whatever FTA channel they like – we’ll all have access to them so it will make no difference which channel what program/event is on.

We’ll also have our own expectations of the Networks as well though.

Major sporting events will not only need to remain live (e.g. Cricket, Bathurst 1000, NRL/AFL Grand Finals) but we should expect the Networks to deliver them to us in High Definition (HD). With the freeing up of the analog spectrum it’s reasonable to expect that we (again) will see a duplication of a Network’s ‘primary’ channel to include a Standard Definition (SD) and HD broadcast version. We’re also likely to see the Networks deliver us additional channels and I for one would welcome the inclusion of a plus 2/plus 4 style channel that rebroadcasts the primary channel 2 or 4 hours later (copyright broadcast agreements to be negotiated, naturally), similar to that already provided by subscription TV.

It’d also be recommended that the Networks KEEP TO THEIR PUBLISHED PROGRAMMING SCHEDULE instead of allowing pre-recorded programs to run well beyond their advertised finish time – all tricks aside this is the most infuriating practice and the frustration is shared across the TV viewing audience.

Don’t get me started on what the NBN will mean for all of us and how the Networks should have their IPTV plans well in place already (but that’s for another time).

Additional reading: Check out the official website for more details. Also check the DBCDE website for more information around the rules for TV Networks.