The transition from analogue to digital TV is seen by many as long overdue in a broadcast industry which has often failed to keep pace with revolutionary changes in the telecommunications and information services industries.
• Television has been an important political and cultural force in Australia since its introduction in the 1950s.
• Analogue technology has been used to deliver television broadcasts—at first in black and white, and since the 1970s, in colour.
• Analogue transmissions are scheduled to cease, however, in 2013. They will be replaced by digital technology.
• Digital technology uses broadcasting spectrum more efficiently and offers audiences a significantly better viewing experience, delivering superior images, better audio quality and improved reception.
• The development of digital television began internationally in the 1980s. In Australia, the road to digital conversion began in the late 1990s.
• This paper traces that road, which has been complex, and arguably, strewn with mistakes and missed opportunities.
• The paper discusses also the difficulties that have been encountered by policymakers in attempting to develop and implement a digital policy which satisfies broadcasters, grabs the imagination of consumers and encourages innovative use of digital technology that goes beyond a passive television experience.
Image: End of analogue TV, hugovk / flickr