Analogue TVs redundant as region switched to digital

LIKE clock radios and typewriters, analogue TVs are now a thing of the past. 

This morning at 9am more than half a million housholds will be switched to digital only TV and analogue signals will be switched off. 

The 500,000-odd households across the north making the switch will be joined by more than 2.1 million households across five other regions across Australia.

Switching over means if you must have a digital TV or a digital set-top box to continue watching free to air television.

Nathan Axelsson, executive officer for Regional Development Australia Northern Inland, said today would be exciting for the region’s residents for a number of reasons. 

“Digital TV will not only provide an increased total of 16 channels, but many people who had variable reception with analogue signals will now receive the same quality digital television as those in metropolitan areas,” he said.

John Syzc, the owner of Peel TV Services, said his store had been manic with people asking questions about the switch off for months. 

“Even over the past week people have been asking questions,” he said. 

“Lots are leaving them to the last minute.”

Mr Syzc said it wasn’t uncommon for people to be just discarding the old analogue TVs outside his shop. 

“We had about 40 unwanted TVs just dumped there last week,” he said. 

While Mr Syzc estimated about 90 per cent of people would have made the switch or purchased a set top box, he said the reasoning was not necessarily because analogue would be turned off this morning. 

“I think the main reason is people have, until this point, wanted the extra channels,” he said.

Council’s waste services manager, Jon Beckett, said there had been unprecedented numbers of analogue televisions being dropped off at the Forest Rd landfill in recent weeks. 

“In Tamworth, demand is being driven not just by tomorrow’s end to the analogue television signal but also the start of an e-waste recycling service,” he said. 

“As part of the transition to the new service, council decided to allow local residents to bring their old televisions and other electronic waste to the landfill during November without charge.

“There have been hundreds and hundreds brought in.”

Mr Beckett said two 6.7 metre long shipping containers full of unwanted analogue televisions have already been delivered to the new e-waste recycling facility being run by JoblinkPlus at Taminda.

Another two shipping containers at the landfill are full and a third is almost full.

“Council had to hire two extra containers to meet the demand after our existing three containers filled up,” Mr Beckett said.

Residents cannot take their electronic waste direct to the new e-waste facility. Any items for recycling must be taken to the Forest Rd landfill where it is stockpiled and then taken to the facility where the recycling process is carried out.

The opportunity for free drop off of e-waste at council’s Forest Rd landfill will end this Friday. 

The Australian government is providing assistance to make the swtich through the Household Assistance Scheme. The support scheme for northern NSW residents will run until December 27. 

Anyone with problems, or who hasn’t already made the switch is encouraged to visit www.digital ready.gov.au or call 1800 20 10 13.

Today’s switch off will be celebrated with an official countdown at the Tamworth Regional Council chamber with representatives from the local television stations.

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