Dunedin social workers are worried people are using donations
as a way to dispose of analogue televisions, when they do not
really need to get rid of them.
From April 28 next year, the analogue television signal will
be switched off in Otago.
Residents will need Freeview, Sky or Telstra Clear to
continue watching television after the area goes digital.
Dunedin Women's Refuge community outreach worker Amanda
Durham said she was worried there was a misconception only
new digital televisions would function after the switchover.
''I am worried that families might be facing the additional
stress of feeling they have to replace their old televisions,
when they really just need to buy a set-top receiver box for
Women's Refuge spokeswoman Sue Lytollis said she was
concerned some people were donating their old televisions to
charities to avoid paying for disposing of them.
Nationwide, her organisation had received an ''influx'' of
older analogue television sets.
''We're having to pay $25 to dispose of them ourselves.''
Dunedin City Salvation Army Major Claire Anderson said people
were giving large numbers of unwanted televisions to her
organisation. She said people would often leave the sets and
other unwanted items outside the Salvation Army's warehouse
It was possible people were wanting to get rid of televisions
they thought would no longer work after the digital
switchover, she said. However, Dunedin charities usually saw
an upsurge in items being handed in at the end of the year
with students leaving their flats.
''Just last week we had a flat-load of stuff dropped off but
it was all rubbish,'' she said.
The Salvation Army had to bear the cost of disposing of the
items, which had cost the Dunedin group $3600 during the past
Freeview general manager Sam Irvine said all that was
required to watch digital television was a Freeview set-top
box for an existing television.
''You don't need a new TV to watch digital television,'' he
''People with more than one TV will need to make sure each
one can receive a digital signal.''
Users would be able to use their existing satellite dish or
UHF aerial to tune into the digital signal, he said.
However, he advised people with analogue television
recorders, such as VCRs or many older DVD players, to
consider buying a digital recorder as the analogue devices
would not work unless they were plugged into a digital
receiver and the television had to be left on the channel
they were recording.
Mr Irvine said digital receivers and recorders, as well as
new digital televisions, would be widely available at
retailers. Further information about the switch was available
online at www.freeviewnz.tv.
By Jonathan Chilton-Towle