New Zealand to get free-to-air digital television

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

The New Zealand government has announced that New Zealand is to get Free-to-air (FTA) digital television by the start of next year.

The broadcasters: TVNZ, CanWest, Māori Television, the TAB and Radio New Zealand have forged an alliance called FreeView which has leased satellite space for the digital television. Digital television will mean viewers can receive a crisper picture, clearer radio signals, limited reception problems, and more channels.

FreeView will require television viewers to buy a set top box, similar to the SKY Network Television decoder. Some viewers in some areas will need to buy a satellite dish as well. The approximated cost will be $200 or, with a dish, $400 (NZD). However, there is no subscription cost, unlike Sky Television.

Mr Cavanagh, Radio New Zealand chief executive, says "it will be a [sic] hard to claw back the gains made by Sky, which has dominated the digital space."

New Zealand is one of the last developed countries to make the switch to digital. Analogue will be switched off between 2012 and 2016.