Digital TV

Reporter: Helen Wellings

“It's a TV revolution. Consumers will need to keep pace with the massive changes of digital television” says Peter Blasina.By as early as 2010, the government's switching off the analogue signal for good, and digital broadcast will take over.

Only 25% of Australian households have switched to digital television. But whether you like it or not, with that government deadline looming, soon you'll need to upgrade. So what do you buy, how much will it cost and what are the benefits.”

“There are a few choices in how you can switch to digital, depending on how much you are prepared to pay. It can be very cheap and very easy to switch.” Harvey Norman's Rob Nelson says many customers are confused about digital and need to have it explained. So what's the cheapest option?

“The cheapest way is to buy a digital set top box. They will work with your old TV in almost all cases. There are a few that can't take a digital set top box. Really, really old ones but nearly all old tube TV's will work. And they range in price from $100 for an SD box to a high definition boxes and they go up to about $699. Plug in the power, take your antenna connection, put it into the back of your box here, tune in your set top box you've got digital TV.”

The next option, you can buy a new TV with build-in digital reception capabilities. With the older style bulky cathode tube sets disappearing from the shelves, you can choose one of the wide-screen LCDs or plasmas that come with digital already built in.

Harvey Norman explains them. Your third option is to sign-up for pay TV from Foxtel, Optus or Austar. You can have them install satellite on the roof or you can have cable connection... as well as free-to-air, that allows you to receive a range of pay TV channels on digital. You pay a monthly fee of $40 to $100 depending on how many channels you want.

Peter Blasina says “Once you have digital, you'll notice the reception is much clearer.”

Channel 7's gadget guy, Peter Blasina believes the benefits of digital are huge.

So again - the costs of switching to digital: The cheapest way - simply buy a digital set-top box and plug it in to your analogue TV - $100 up to $600. Or buy a new TV with built-in digital tuner - $2,500 to $6000, for an LCD, for plasma, from just under $3000 up to $15,000 for a giant model. Or go Pay TV - cable installation costs are $200 then you pay monthly subscription fees, from $40 up to $100, for dozens of different channels you choose.