If Australia is to keep pace with international production trends and to provide viewers with the range and quality of television experienced around the rest of the world, argues the committee, then now is the time to get serious about getting digital. This report examines the options for ensuring the smooth transition to digital television in Australia, taking into account the cost of continued simulcast and in particular the impost this places on regional broadcasters. It considers the financial burden the conversion to digital may place on the community from the purchase of set-top boxes, and how to minimise the cost over an appropriate timeframe. It also considers the needs and responsibilities of manufacturers and retailers in providing lead times and adequate product information.
According to the report: ‘Digital also brings with it the opportunity for multichannelling and high definition broadcasting. These options have been tightly regulated until now. In line with the move to digital, the report makes a number of recommendations to lift these restrictions. Ultimately, these programming and broadcasting choices will be determined by market demand.’