You thought you had the latest LCD, Plasma and set top box!!
Clock ticks for plasmas, LCDs
Article from: Herald Sun
March 16, 2009 12:00am
THAT expensive plasma or LCD will be obsolete from May 1 when Australia's TV population - about 16.5 million of them - and its digital TV system, becomes officially outdated.
In a move sure to anger viewers, the first of the appliances built to receive programs of a planned upgrade to digital systems will be unveiled.
New high-definition set-top boxes conforming to the networks' new specifications will be on sale by May 1.
They signal the start of changes to the way networks want to send programs to TVs.
Freeview, the organisation representing all the networks including the ABC, says the move to an upgraded digital TV system, which uses a technology called MPEG4, could take years.
"The broadcasters will not begin this transmission until the majority of the population has a device that can receive MPEG4 transmissions," Freeview's chief executive Robin Parkes said.
"Each broadcaster will decide this individually."
But in a headache for consumers, programs sent by the future digital TV system will not work with existing LCD, plasma or tube TVs - or high-definition set-top boxes.
And none of these expensive appliances can be upgraded.
To watch the new digital TV system, consumers will have to buy a Freeview-approved high-definition set-top box or a LCD or plasma TV that conforms to Freeview specifications.
Hooks to entice viewers to Freeview and away from analogue include 15 new digital channels, but not necessarily much new content, and an electronic program guide.
The first channel is ONE, the Ten network's 24-hour sport channel, from March 26.
By 2010, we could have interactive TV, where viewers use a remote control to participate in quiz shows or other competitions.
Freeview-endorsed LCD and plasma TVs are not yet on sale.
"They're asking us to build dearer TVs during an economic downturn for a market that doesn't exist yet," a high-profile TV set manufacturer said, who did not want to be named
"The ugly truth is, in nine years Australia's digital TV system has become obsolete through no one's fault."
While Australia uses an outdated MPEG2 digital TV technology, the rest of the world, including New Zealand, is moving to the far less data-hungry MPEG4 standard.