In most countries where TV has switched to digital, the government has subsidised the cost of buying new set-top boxes for the elderly and other less affluent sections of the community. (One of the main problems with the US switchover has been a shortage of vouchers to help poorer households upgrade.) Australia has now taken a similar approach, with the government announcing yesterday that it will trial an “assistance package” in the Mildura/Sunraysia area, which in 2010 will be the first region to have its analog TV transmissions switched off. As well as the expected information campaigns and labelling schemes, there’s an “in-home assistance” scheme for recipients of several classes of pensions (see the link for the details). There’s no word yet on the exact details, and no suggestion of whether the installation assistance will also include subsidised set-top boxes, but if you’re expecting to spend the year helping family members go digital, it’s something to bear in mind.