Discussion paper

Beyond switchover: the future technical evolution of digital terrestrial television in Australia

24 Jan 2012

This paper starts a discussion about some of the issues for the future technical migration of free-to-air DTTB. While the discussion paper and consultation is intended to be broad-ranging, certain matters are outside their scope.
In terms of timing, realising the digital dividend is a key policy objective for the government and the ACMA does not envisage that any action that would have a negative impact on the digital conversion and restack processes may be undertaken. Steps to facilitate future technical evolution may be taken if they do not negatively affect these processes.
In terms of subject matter, this paper is concerned with standards that relate to free-to-air terrestrial digital television transmission and reception. However, the paper takes note of the ongoing evolution of television receivers, from purpose-built devices designed to show free-to-air television into multi-purpose displays for a proliferating range of home entertainment. Noting that developments in free-to-air television standards are no longer the only drivers of receiver evolution, the paper invites submitters to consider whether standards development in any other area—for example, in point-to-point, online delivery of television programs after they have been transmitted free-to-air—should also come into scope, and if so, why.
In terms of remit, while technologies or technical migration strategies that might require additional spectrum can be considered within the scope of this paper, decisions about the future use of vacant spectrum are, in general, for the government rather than the ACMA to make.

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