Digital switch affects 45 South viewer numbers

A television channel broadcasting from Oamaru says confusion over what last year's national switch to digital TV would mean for the town resulted in a ''dramatic'' fall-off in viewers.

45 South Television started broadcasting around Oamaru in 2006, and began to operate from its own digital platform two years ago, but chairman Tony Reynolds said during the digital switchover in April, many people in Oamaru got rid of their UHF aerials, because they thought they were redundant.

He said in ''some circumstances'' people had been told that UHF aerials were not needed and aerials had been taken down.

''It had a dramatic effect and still has. People are only now reconnecting, so we are climbing back up the ladder again.''

He said the station actually broadcast six channels on UHF, which could be received through a UHF aerial and a set-top box.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage media policy manager Greg Harford said although Going Digital information brochures distributed in Oamaru before the digital switch had informed people that the town could not receive Freeview on UHF, the brochures also pointed out that the local TV channel could be received through UHF aerial.

''Oamaru is outside the coverage area for Freeview's UHF signal. This means that Oamaru viewers who want to watch Freeview need to have a satellite dish and a satellite set-top box.

''However, 45 South, the local channel, broadcasts a digital service locally using UHF. Viewers in the 45 South coverage area can pick up the 45 South service with a TV with Freeview built in, or a UHF set top box.''

Mr Harford said 99% of homes with TVs in the South Island had gone digital by the end of May.

Dick Smith Oamaru manager Steven Frisby said customers had been informed that terrestrial decoders could be connected to a UHF aerial, which would allow people to receive 45 South.

Add a Comment