About the program
The program helps inform the transition to modernised delivery of television. It was set up to give the government and industry technical and market information to make choices on the future of free-to-air TV services in Australia.
Our role in this program includes:
- commissioning research on the performance of television receivers
- a television viewer antenna survey.
Household TV antenna survey
The survey aimed to inform a reliable estimation of:
- the number and location of the households in the survey areas that rely on local TV transmission sites compared to the main TV site for reception
- in areas covered by a single frequency network (SFN), the number and location of households that rely on a particular TV transmission site (within the SFN) for reception.
This information provides an indication of the number and location of households using local retransmissions for terrestrial television services, including who might be affected by changes to channel arrangements.
The surveys were undertaken in areas served by both a high-power VHF transmitter and one or more UHF in-fill transmitters. These locations were the greater metropolitan areas of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
We have developed summary reports for the 5 states included in the survey.
The antenna surveys collected a vast amount of data and descriptive information on viewer behaviour relating to TV antenna use. While certain findings depended on the areas, some broad observations were:
- In many areas, households rely on coverage from the main VHF site, even where predictions show the local repeater may provide a stronger signal.
- In areas with known reception issues from the main sites (for example, obstructions due to terrain or tall buildings), there was a greater proportion of households with antennas pointing towards the local retransmission.
- In overlapping licence areas in the Central Coast (NSW), the Gold Coast (Qld) and smaller towns in metro TV licence areas, antennas were mostly pointed to local transmitters.
In some areas where the coverage from a local retransmission was considered good, households in the newer housing developments tended to point their antennas towards this local retransmission – considerably more than established developments. This means fewer households with antennas already pointing to the main site have felt the need to repoint to the new retransmission.
Television receiver technical performance capabilities
This investigates the performance of TV receivers in SFN reception environments. It includes:
- potential ‘wider area’ SFN operations using DVB-T2
- the ability of receivers to cope with shared multiplex configurations.
A contract to do this work was awarded in April 2023. We will give updates as the work progresses.