Australians Not All Racing Towards HD Digital

As the switchover to digital TV gathers pace, new research suggests that many people have gone with the ultra-cheap option of a standard-definition (SD) box rather than a high-definition (HD) alternative. That's a potential way of saving a few bucks, but it does cut down substantially on your channel choices.

The Australian reports that figures assembled for Senate budget estimates hearings suggest that 30% of set-top boxes sold in Australia are SD-only. Overall, the government estimates that 13% of Australians won't be able to pick up HD digital channels.

When digital TV was first being promoted, HD was presented largely as a matter of better image quality for the same content, so it's not surprising that some budget-conscious buyers went down the SD path. The issue now is that each network has one channel which is HD-only (ABC News 24, 7Mate, GEM, ONE and SBS HD), and thus not available to anyone who purchased a cheaper SD box. I know many Lifehacker readers are still annoyed that each channel no longer has a dedicated HD broadcast option; now it looks like this particular approach to HD will annoy some casual viewers as well.

No digital on set-top boxes [The Australian]


    I don't watch TV much, but as far as I can tell the (very few) "HD" channels mostly broadcast 576i/p images anyway, and the programming is just duplicated from SD channels.

    TV is rubbish anyway. Podcasts, RSS feeds, YouTube and various channels' streaming websites (like ABC's iView) FTW.

      +1 for every letter you typed.

    Umm,.. How much HD is actually broadcast on the so called HD stations? From what I can see there's very little!! :[

    This is another CONroy screw up as HD was never portrayed as alternative content until fairly recently. With that said, ABC News 24 should be an SD channel so it is available to all Australians who have made the switch.

    Yet another reason to head to torrent sites where you can download the HD version of your favourite shows (without the delays, and without the ads).

      Erm,.. yeah,.. you will need big pipes and a fairly hefty download allowance though!! :}

    PS. Perhaps if you need for a set-top box, you've more likely got an older, non-HD TV? That would be my guess at why the results appear as they do...

    SD boxes should be banned, every channel should be required to broadcast their primary in MPEG4 HD, drop the other HD requirement and let them have as many channels as they want. Government should have mandated MPEG4 a long time ago like our sister country New Zealand. They should have also made a red dot feature like in Freeview in the UK and on Foxtel but that's not important

    Isn't SBS HD identical programming to SBS One (SD)?

    huh? expensive? the box pictured above costs $60 is full hd and "downsizes" to sd for my crap tv. maybe its just a matter of education.

    Unless you live in a major city you dont even get most of the channels, where i am located our number of channels has gone down (Afew hours from adelaide).

    It's a bit of a joke when these so called HD channels are showing repeats of TV shows from the 60's. Far from HD programming.

    I like the HD channels showing reruns of The Brady Bunch.
    But look, it is HD! Its been cropped to semi widescreen!

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