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Television research

We are doing technical research as part of the Australian Government’s Television Research and Policy Development Program.

About the program

The Television Research and Policy Development Program 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
  • conducting a television viewer antenna survey.

Household TV antenna survey

The survey aimed to estimate the number and location of households in the survey areas that rely on:

  • local TV transmission sites for reception, compared with the main TV site
  • a particular TV transmission site (within the SFN) for reception in areas covered by a single frequency network (SFN).

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 information on viewer behaviour relating to TV antenna use. While certain findings depended on the areas, overall:

  • 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

Free TV Australia was contracted to undertake laboratory testing on a sample of Australian TV receivers in a range of alternative reception scenarios. This work aimed to investigate:

  • TV receiver performance in single frequency network (SFN) reception environments, including possible ‘wider area’ SFN operations using DVB-T2
  • the ability of TV receivers to operate with possible shared multiplex configurations. 

Testing was performed using a sample of the TV receivers currently available for purchase on the Australian market and, where possible, older devices in use by viewers, which are no longer available to buy. 

Key observations from testing TV receiver performance in SFN reception environments 

  • The performance of receivers using the existing DVB-T mode were within the existing planning parameters and, in some cases, well within the existing planning parameters.
  • The performance of receivers demodulating DVB-T2 Mode B were within the reference levels. 
  • If DVB-T2 Mode D is considered for potential future implementation in Australia, further detailed testing is recommended to better quantify the co-channel performance of receivers operating in this mode for the reference levels used in this testing. 

Key observations from testing TV receiver performance in shared multiplex configurations 

  • Overall, performance of all TV receivers in the sample was the same whether operating with shared or with single broadcaster multiplexes. 
  • All shared multiplexes worked with all receivers tested with no adverse findings in relation to service discoverability, service identification, or Electronic Program Guide (EPG) or Logical Channel Number (LCN) navigation between services within and between multiplexes.

The findings show there are multiple SFN and shared multiplex scenarios that could be considered for any future replanning of TV channels.

Please note: it was not possible to test every permutation and combination of potential planning choices. The sample of SFN and multiplex sharing scenarios examined are theoretical for the purposes of this paper and do not predetermine or constrain any future decisions by government. 

The final report and attachments are available below. Commercial information such as brand names and models have been redacted from the report. Additional commentary in the report does not necessarily reflect the views of the ACMA or the government.



Enquiries regarding TV research should be directed to

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