This week, SBS launched a new HD channel to free-to-air television: SBS Viceland HD. In addition, it has overhauled its existing HD channel with new technologies. We explain how to get both on your TV.
SBS Viceland HD joins SBS HD in the broadcaster's high-def television stable. This makes SBS the first Aussie broadcaster with two high-definition channels on free-to-air TV.
As with the standard-def channel, SBS Viceland HD provides a mix of international news programs, TV shows and local content - including the flagship news and current affairs program The Feed starring our own Rae Johnston.
According to SBS, "almost all" content will be shown in high definition, including live sporting events. The exception is older programming that pre-dates the advent of HD. (This is much the same as Channel 7's 7Flix.)
If you're using an older HD television or aren't sure where to find the new channels, these frequently asked questions should help to steer you in the right direction.
What channels are SBN HD on and SBS Viceland HD on?
SBN HD on and SBS Viceland HD are on Channel 30 and Channel 31, respectively.
Its other channels are SBS SD (Channel 3), SBS Viceland (32), SBS Food Network (33) and NITV (34) - all of which are broadcast in standard definition.
What resolution is SBS HD broadcast in?
SBS HD and SBS Viceland HD are broadcast in 1080i HD in an MPEG-4 format. (Previously, SBS HD used MPEG-2 technology.)
How do I access SBN HD and SBS Viceland HD on my TV?
As SBS explains, some viewers may be required to retune their televisions in order to receive the new channel, as well as the upgraded SBS HD channel:
"Some digital TV equipment will automatically detect changes and your set may retune itself, or it may prompt you to retune in order to access the HD channels. Retuning your television to access SBS VICELAND HD will also ensure you have access to SBS HD."
To force a re-tune, access the menu using your remote and search around until you find the 'setup' or 'installation' page. Select the “digital auto tuning” or “digital channel search” option. Once you've re-tuned your TV, the new channel should be available to watch.
What about Foxtel?
If you watch SBS through Foxtel, you're stuck with standard-def for the time being. "That is a decision for Foxtel, not SBS," the broadcaster said in a statement.
SBS says while channel is not available in HD on Foxtel, it was a decision for the Pay TV operator.
I can't get SBS HD on my TV. What gives?
SBS's HD channels use MPEG-4 compression to deliver content to your TV. This means your TV needs to have an inbuilt MPEG4 encoder to receive the new broadcast standard. Unfortunately, TVs bought prior to 2009 may not support MPEG-4.
If you're not sure, your best bet is to consult your TV manual (if you tossed it out, it should be relatively easy to find a digital version online.) Any devices bearing the Freeview logo will be MPEG4 capable.
If your TV doesn't support MPEG-4, the cheapest solution is to purchase a compatible set top box, which can be snapped up for around $30. If you already have a set top box and it's not picking up the channel, you might need a firmware upgrade — check the manufacturer's website for details.