Digital television | ACMA

Digital television

Welcome to the ACMA’s Digital Television page with a range of information available on digital TV and the switchover to digital TV and the retune (which is the final step in the transition to digital television).

Free-to-air television in Australia is progressively switching, region by region, from analog to digital-only transmissions. This switchover will be completed by the end of 2013. Digital television provides the viewing public with several advantages including improved picture and sound quality, as well as additional channels and new interactive features, such as electronic program guides.

Switchover to digital television

The ACMA is working closely with the Digital Switchover Taskforce within the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), which is responsible for coordinating and overseeing Australia's transition to digital television. The Digital Switchover Taskforce website, Digital Ready has the latest information about the switchover, including when each region is scheduled to begin the switch from analog to digital. The mySwitch tool will enable you to identify the broadcast services available in your area that are already transmitting in digital.

A major benefit of digital broadcasting is that it requires far less spectrum space than current analog transmissions. This improved use of spectrum will provide the possibility of new services such as wireless broadband or new mobile phone services. This gain in spectrum efficiency is referred to as the digital dividend.

Channel changes and retune for digital television

Australia’s final step in the move to digital-only TV will require some TV channels will change their frequency. Viewers will need to retune their TV, set-top box or digital recorder on the day when these changes happen in their area. Viewers who do not retune will not be able to receive all free-to-air digital TV channels.

The retune will take place between May 2013 and the end of December 2014. The retune will affect most TV viewers in Australia. Your retune date will depend on your location and which transmitter you’re receiving a TV signal from. To find your retune date, visit the Stay tuned for the retune website.

Viewers receiving their TV through the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service will not need to retune.

Information for:

  • Viewers and consumers
  • Broadcasters
  • Importers
  • Manufacturers
  • Antenna installers
  • Media

The ACMA’s role in the switchover to digital television

The ACMA continues to play a significant role in supporting the switchover to digital television. Key tasks include:

  • Assessing digital signal coverage under the Coverage evaluation program. This data has been used to develop a digital coverage tool, mySwitch, available at my Switch
  • planning and licensing digital services
  • planning the reallocation of the spectrum made vacant following the switchover to digital television. This is known as the digital dividend
  • providing the Minister with an analysis of the technical and other factors which may influence the timetable for the switchover in each region
  • undertaking research on the technical impediments to digital television take-up. The research will also look at improved measurement of digital signal coverage and the performance of digital receivers
  • registering conditional access schemes that allow viewers who do not receive digital commercial free-to-air (terrestrial) services to gain access to the new VAST satellite service.

The ACMA is responsible for planning and providing access to the broadcast spectrum in Australia. The ACMA continues to consult closely with industry throughout the transition from analog to digital television. The ACMA will also continue its current role of regulating the industry, administering digital conversion schemes, managing the spectrum and advising the Minister and Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy on technical matters.

In addition to planning and managing spectrum, the ACMA is undertaking technical field surveys and working with broadcasters and local communities to assess the coverage of digital television to ensure that viewers are provided with the best possible access to new digital services. Further to its field work, provisions within the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 allow the ACMA to oversee the development of technical standards and industry codes and standards intended to ensure that industry and retailers are able to provide high quality digital services and products to consumers including Electronic Program Guides and parental lock.

Last updated: 17 December 2012