Analogue switch-off set to begin

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 20/09/2012

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The country's digital revolution launches on September 30, with the analogue networks being switched off in Hawke's Bay and the West Coast.

While most New Zealanders are watching digital television, some will be caught out next Sunday.

Going Digital national manager Greg Harford said about 6200 Hawke's Bay residents and 1300 West Coasters would miss the deadline.

People with Freeview, SKY, TelstraClear or using a Freeview-compatible device like TiVo or PlayStation 3's Play TV were already on the digital signal.

However, viewers with older television sets would need either a UHF aerial and set-top box, or a satellite dish and a satellite set-top box, which cost $79.

Those living on parts of Napier Hill would need a satellite dish and a satellite set-top box because the geography meant some houses could not receive a UHF signal.

Mr Harford said while 86 per cent of New Zealand households could use a UHF aerial, some living in hilly or rural areas would need a satellite dish.

A satellite dish costs between $145 and $200.

People could also choose to subscribe to a pay-TV service like Sky or TelstraClear.

A Sky spokeswoman said there had not been a noticeable rise in subscription sales.

Financial support was available for those over 75 with a community services card, and people on an invalid's benefit or a veteran's pension. People did not need to buy a new TV to go digital but many were using it as an excuse to upgrade their sets.

Electronics stores in Hawke's Bay said staff had been "flat out" selling televisions.

Noel Leeming Group merchandise general manager Jason Bell said television and Freeview sales in Hawke's Bay and the West Coast had taken off in the past month.

Freeview sales in Hawke's Bay had more than doubled while television sales were up 25 per cent on last year. Old sets were ending up at refuse transfer stations.

Hastings District Council waste minimisation officer Dominic Salmon said staff encouraged about 15 people a day to recycle their televisions at the Hawke's Bay Environment Centre but eight to 10 of those were being dumped.

People were asked to pay $15 towards the cost of recycling. Since April, the centre had sent away 40 pallets of electronics to be recycled.

GOING DIGITAL

September 30: Hawke's Bay and the West Coast

April 28, 2013: The rest of the South Island

September 29, 2013: Lower North Island and East Coast

December 1, 2013: Upper North Island

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- The Dominion Post

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