Australian FTA channels may soon be able to telecast in HD

NEW DELHI: Australian television stations may soon be able to broadcast in high definition formats on their main channels, with the Government moving a legislation to remove the insistence on using only standard definition.


Australia’s Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has introduced the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Primary Television Broadcasting Service) Bill, an amendment to 1992’s Broadcasting Services Act, in this regard.


The Bill provides the national and commercial free-to-air broadcasters with the flexibility to deliver programming on their primary television services in either standard definition or high-definition formats.


Broadcasters’ primary television services include ABC1, SBS ONE, 7, Prime7, Nine, WIN, Ten and Southern Cross.


Currently, free-to-air (FTA) broadcasters are required to provide their primary television service in standard definition. But Turnbull said, “This is a relic of the analogue era, introduced at the start of the digital television switchover process to ensure that viewers would have access to at least one digital channel per broadcaster. At the time not all televisions and set-top boxes were capable of receiving high-definition content.”


The bill makes minor technical amendments to ensure the transmission of primary services by free-to-air satellite broadcasters such as VAST receive the same flexibility to transmit in either standard or high definition.


Turnbull noted that following consultation on de-regulation of TV services the proposal to allow broadcasters to provide their primary service in either standard or high definition received very strong support from the public and free-to-air broadcasters.


“With the completion of digital switch-over and the availability of a range of new television services, many Australians now expect premium free-to-air programming to be provided in high definition—especially events such as live sports.”

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