Some TV viewers in East Gippsland, have been experiencing unreliable reception of free-to-air digital television.
This can be very frustrating—and even with the community, government and industry working together to find solutions, some of these reception issues are difficult to resolve.
However, there are some options available to you to improve your reception. Read on as we explain the issues impacting TV reception in East Gippsland and the actions you can take to improve your reception.
What’s happened so far
The East Gippsland area is a complex television reception environment, with a range of issues at play that affect different communities at different times.
The ACMA conducted an investigation into television reception in East Gippsland in February 2016, following a request in late 2015 from Darren Chester MP, the Federal Member for Gippsland. The ACMA has been working alongside with broadcasters to identify possible causes of reception difficulties in the East Gippsland area and ways to improve reception.
Both the broadcasters and the ACMA have conducted field surveys in the East Gippsland area, and during these surveys, a range of reception issues were observed.
What we found
In East Gippsland, the ACMA and broadcasters observed large numbers of inappropriate antennas that were not up to scratch and likely to be contributing to viewer’s reception problems. This is common in many locations across Australia.
Common issues were households with unnecessary second antennas pointed at distant TV towers—which can increase the risk of interference and reduce overall signal levels, or TVs not tuned to the best available channels.
Other issues identified include:
> Interference caused by signals ducting from Tasmania on Orbost channels—ACMA monitoring in Lakes Entrance detected Tasmanian signals from near Launceston.
> 4G mobile signal overload—4G network rollout mainly took place in the region throughout 2015, with a few locations in early 2016.
> TV towers receiving unreliable input signal feeds—Issues with the Prime and WIN input feed to the Bairnsdale (Mt Taylor) transmitters have been resolved, some ongoing issues for all services into Orbost (Mt Raymond).
> Localised interference—The ACMA investigated a few occurrences in the region over the last few years.
Troubleshooting—identifying the problem and the actions you can take
All of these issues identified above present in a similar manner—the television image is pixelated (where it looks like the images breaks up into small squares), and in some cases, it shows ‘no signal’.
Our handy troubleshooting guide is included in the factsheet and outlines some of the main issues, how you can identify them and suggested actions you can take.
When multiple issues are impacting television reception, it can be difficult to identify which one is causing the reception problem, especially if the different issues occur at different times. Often, one of the issues is blamed for all the problems, yet when that one is resolved the other problems continue. We suggest you try to resolve as many individual issues as you can, which should lead to less problems, less often.
Sometimes there are maintenance issues that occur at the broadcast site and are not related to a household’s antenna installation. When these instances occur and impact everybody in town at the same time, it is best to report the issue to the broadcasters, so that they are aware of the issue. Some of these issues affecting the broadcast site are complex, expensive to resolve and can take time. Broadcasters try to make incremental improvements where they quickly can, but sometimes a longer-term solution is required and this can take time to resolve.
There may be some television reception issues that are simply outside of your control. If you have tried every fix available and you’re still unable to receive reliable reception, you can join 200,000 households across Australia and apply for the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) service.
VAST provides an alternative reception option for individual households that are unable to receive terrestrial digital TV services. To receive the VAST service, you need equipment similar to that needed to receive satellite pay TV, just without the monthly subscription. That is, you’ll need a satellite dish installed along with a VAST set-top box.
More information about TV reception
> Download this page TV reception problems in East Gippsland as a fact sheet.
General TV reception information
> Visit www.acma.gov.au/TV-reception.
> Download the factsheet Getting the most out of your digital reception from www.acma.gov.au/TV-reception.
> Call the ACMA’s Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location-specific TV coverage and channel information
> Go to https://myswitch.digitalready.gov.au/ and enter your address.
Accessing VAST services
> Call the VAST administration centre on 1300 993 376
or go to www.mysattv.com.au.
Broadcaster contact numbers
> ABC: 1300 13 9994
> SBS: 1800 500 727
> Prime: (03) 5337 1777
> WIN: (03) 5320 1366
> Southern Cross: (03) 5430 2888
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