Friday, 5 September 2008

Distant Digital Futures

An article in today's Age talks about the eventual switchoff of Australia's analog television signals and the permanent move to digital.

The point of the article is that, for the Luddites among us . . .
". . . the Federal Government is considering offering financial and other incentives to convince people to upgrade from analog to digital television before the 2013 analog switch-off."

I would have thought that the option of digital-or-nothing would be incentive enough. But hey, what do I know?

Anyway, the switch-off date made me do a double take. It's 2013 now?

The last I heard it was going to be 2010. And that was after it had already been pushed back from the original target of 2008.

This is bad. Until the analog signals are gone and we've opened up the (much wider) digital spectrum to some decent competition, there's no incentive at all for our oligopolous free-to-air stations to lift their game.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the FTA stations have engineered the delay in an attempt to retain the status quo. If they have, then it'll prove a costly mistake.

They desperately need someone to drag them into the 21st century. In five years' time, free-to-air television will be even less relevant than it is now, with downloadable, streaming and subscription content continuing to take over.

If our FTA stations are still doing then what they're doing now, then before long they'll be nothing more than a distant memory.
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