Reception difficulties are often the result of a weak signal from a transmitter that is too distant to deliver an adequate or reliable service. In some cases, a qualified installer can advise on ways of improving reception even in areas of marginal coverage.
Signal availability in the area
Viewers can check whether digital television signals are available in their areas and whether coverage from the transmitter site is adequate. The most up-to-date information about local digital television services, including the expected coverage of transmitters serving local areas and the relevant frequencies, is available from mySwitch on the Digital Ready website. mySwitch is a web-based tool which the Digital Switchover Taskforce has developed to provide information that helps viewers to prepare for switchover in their areas.
Find mySwitch in the top left corner of the home page on the Digital Ready website and enter your address to find information about switchover in your area.
Obstructions to signals
There are a number of factors that might lead to poor reception of digital television services. These may include the following:
- weather conditions, which can cause digital reception to break up—or ‘pixelate’
- signal obstructions, such as the immediate local terrain, foliage, buildings and trees
- an inadequate or excessive signal, or
- ‘impulse noise’ interference which may be generated by the use of household items such as electric motors in appliances.
If you experience difficulties with your television reception, it is important to use a technician who:
- is qualified in analog and digital television reception, and
- is able to measure television signal levels at residences.
A qualified antenna technician should be able to measure analog and digital television signal levels at residences and recommend ways to optimise and improve television reception. The technician should also be able to offer advice about:
- antenna selection
- orientation, and
- choice of correct cables, connectors and distribution equipment.
Once measurements have been taken, the installer should be able to advise you about:
- the best signal source (usually the closest transmitter location)
- the best antenna location, and
- the correct antenna type to receive the digital signals available in your area.
A list of antenna installers endorsed by the government is available on the Digital Ready website.
The Digital Switchover Taskforce has published two handbooks on digital TV antenna systems.
Retuning a digital television receiver
A first step for trying to improve digital television reception is to retune your digital TV set or set-top box. It may be necessary to retune more than once to tune in to all available services in the area. A guide to retuning and other factsheets for improving reception are available from the Digital Ready site.
New satellite service for people with inadequate terrestrial reception
Viewers who do not have adequate reception of terrestrial digital television signals from the existing transmitters serving the area, or who are currently watching the Aurora satellite service, may be eligible to access the new government-funded Viewer Access Satellite Television service.
The Australian Government is investing $375.4 million over 12 years to provide transmission of digital free-to-air television services from the new satellite platform.
The VAST service aims to ensure that anyone in Australia who cannot receive digital terrestrial services has immediate access to a reliable and professionally-operated free-to-air service, now and into the future. The VAST service is a first class direct-to-home digital television satellite service that employs cutting-edge transmission technology—it provides a range of high-quality services equivalent to those delivered in metropolitan and larger regional areas. Its signal covers the entire Australian continent.
The VAST service provides the same number of television channels as available to viewers in capital cities. It features channels carrying programs sourced from the Seven network, Nine network and Network Ten and the main national broadcaster services ABC1 and SBS ONE. The additional services are the standard definition digital channels ABC2, ABC3, SBS TWO, 7TWO, GO!, and Eleven, and the high definition channels ABC News 24 HD, SBS HD, 7mate (Seven HD), GEM (Nine HD), and ONE (Ten HD).
The news services of the national broadcasters, the ABC and the SBS, are also included. The ABC provides news through ABC1, tailored for each state, and through its dedicated news channel ABC News 24.
Details about the VAST service, including eligibility and how to access it, are available on the Digital Ready website.
Further information on television reception
For information about your television reception and about the digital switchover in general:
For information about ABC TV reception:
For information about SBS TV reception issues:
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has published information about digital television:
Also see the Community television page on this website.