Freeview (New Zealand): Wikis

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Freeview Limited
Type Digital television provider
Founded 2007
Headquarters New Zealand Auckland City, New Zealand
Website www.freeviewnz.tv

Freeview is a non-profit organisation providing free-to-air digital television and digital radio to New Zealand. The Freeview service is available via satellite throughout New Zealand. Freeview's terrestrial service, Freeview|HD, is a high definition digital terrestrial television service available to 75 percent of the country's population. Freeview uses the DVB-S and DVB-T standards on government provided spectrum.

Analogue switchoff in New Zealand is planned for when 75 percent of households have access to digital television, or 2012, whichever is sooner.[1] A tentative date will be set when digital uptake reaches 60% (55% reached as of November 2008).[2] A major benefit of digital television is the ability to overcome the poor reception caused by New Zealand's rugged topography.

It was estimated that on 13 October 2009, 291,853 Freeview certified set-top boxes and IDTVs had been sold since the platform's launch (177,917 Freeview, 113,936 Freeview|HD).[3] This makes it New Zealand's third largest television platform, and New Zealand's second largest digital platform.

Freeview-certified set-top boxes and PVRs are available at most major New Zealand retailers. Cheaper, uncertified equipment can also be used.

Contents

History

It was announced on 15 June 2006 that Freeview's free-to-air digital TV service would be available via satellite (DVB-S) from mid-2007 and terrestrial transmissions (DVB-T) from mid-2008. Freeview's marketing campaign began on 23 April 2007 through a website and four TV advertisements shown on Freeview's shareholders' TV channels, using the slogan "Make bad reception a thing of the past", showing people using proverbial substitutes for rabbit ears for receiving TV reception.

Freeview's satellite service began on 2 May 2007. Initially, there were five television channels: TV One, TV2, TV3, C4, and Maori Television. Freeview's first digital-only channel, TVNZ Sport Extra temporary channel from TVNZ, began on 18 May 2007, providing coverage of the V8 Supercar racing. The channel has now ceased broadcasting.

The Freeview terrestrial service, named Freeview|HD, officially launched on 14 April 2008. The service currently serves areas surrounding Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier-Hastings, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin.

Freeview's terrestrial personal video recorder service, MyFreeview|HD, launched in December 2008. The service runs alongside the existing Freeview|HD, and uses the enhanced Freeview|HD electronic programme guide for programming the PVR. The EPG is capable of automated recording.

The MyFreeview satellite service is due to be launched in late 2009.[4]

Content

The Freeview platform currently has 13 television channels and three radio stations. TVNZ, MediaWorks (formerly CanWest), the Maori Television Service, Stratos Television Ltd, Parliament TV, CUE (Southland TV) and Radio New Zealand currently provide content.

Up to 18 channels will be available, with six each assigned to TVNZ and MediaWorks, and the balance to other networks.[5] Given that TVNZ's and MediaWorks's current free-to-air channels will be available on Freeview, there will be eight extra channels in total, between the two.

Prime became part of Freeview from Monday 17 August, 2009[6].

Freeview also has its own eight-day electronic programme guide, named Freeview EPG; TVNZ's Teletext service is also available.[7]

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Terrestrial Television Channels

Channel Name Picture format Sound format Notes Operated by
001 TV One HD 720p 16:9 Stereo TVNZ
002 TV2 HD 720p 16:9 Stereo TVNZ
003 TV3 HD 1080i 16:9 Dolby 5.1 [8] Mediaworks NZ - TVWorks
004 C4 576i 16:9 Stereo Mediaworks NZ - TVWorks
005 Maori Television 576i 16:9 Stereo Maori Television Service
006 TVNZ 6 576i 16:9 Stereo TVNZ
007 TVNZ 7 576i 16:9 Stereo TVNZ
008 TV3 plus 1 576i 16:9 Stereo Timeshift channel for TV3, one hour behind Mediaworks NZ - TVWorks
010 Prime 576i 16:9 Stereo SKY NZ
022 Parliament TV 576i 16:9 Stereo NZ Government
028 CTV8 (Chinese TV 8) 576i 4:3 Stereo Only available in Chinese: Mandarin and (very little) Cantonese audio World TV Ltd.
030 tvCentral 576i 16:9 Stereo Waikato and Bay of Plenty only Television Media Group
100 Freeview HD HD 720p 16:9 Stereo HD test channel Kordia

Channel 9 is reserved for MediaWorks New Zealand.[9]

Satellite Television Channels

Channel Name Picture format Sound format Notes
001 TV One 576i 16:9 Stereo
002 TV2 576i 16:9 Stereo
003 TV3 576i 16:9 Stereo
004 C4 576i 16:9 Stereo
005 Maori Television 576i 16:9 Stereo
006 TVNZ 6 576i 16:9 Stereo
007 TVNZ 7 576i 16:9 Stereo
008 TV3 plus 1 576i 16:9 Stereo Timeshift channel for TV3, one hour behind
010 Prime 576i 16:9 Stereo
021 Triangle Stratos 576i 4:3 Stereo
022 Parliament TV 576i 16:9 Stereo
023 Cue TV 576i 16:9 Stereo [10]
024 Te Reo 576i 16:9 Stereo

Channel 9 is reserved for MediaWorks.[9]

Radio Stations

Channel Name Satellite Terrestrial Notes
050 Radio New Zealand National Yes Yes
051 Radio New Zealand Concert Yes Yes
070 George FM Yes No
071 Base FM Yes Yes

Future Content

Several new digital-only television channels will be launched within the next few years.

MediaWorks had confirmed it would launch one extra channel each in 2007 and 2008 targeting a niche market[11]. However they actually launched their first one with "TV3 Plus 1" in March 2009.

Since MediaWorks will not use all six channels allocated to it, it may sub-lease the spare capacity to other broadcasters.[12] On April 11, 2007, TV3 made the transition from the 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9, C4 followed suit on May 2.

There is space for only 20 channels on the satellite transponder[13] so fewer channels may be available on satellite than terrestrial in the future.[14]

Other Networks

There are ongoing negotiations with regional TV operators[15], and overseas companies wanting to start up in New Zealand - [11] Freeview will be open to other free-to-air broadcasters if they want to join.[16]

The New Zealand Racing Board originally showed interest, but currently has withdrawn as a shareholder, although it may join at a later date.[17]

Quality

Satellite transmissions will be broadcast in 576i, as the satellite transponder is not high definition capable. However, terrestrial transmissions can be broadcast in high definition, and the government lets the broadcasters decide whether to broadcast in high definition or continue in standard definition.

Three channels currently broadcast in high definition: TV ONE and TV2 in 720p, and TV3 in 1080i.

Technology

Freeview uses the Optus D1 satellite[14] to broadcast, on a transponder, leased from Kordia. The satellite transmissions are in DVB-S MPEG2.

UHF terrestrial broadcasting using DVB-T MPEG4 (also known as DVB-T HD)[18] (originally March 2008), and currently covers 75 percent of the country's population. Freeview's terrestrial transmissions will be broadcast from Kordia's existing transmitter towers.[13] Eventually, terrestrial transmission may reach 92 percent of the population.[5]

Freeview will use the DVB-T standard for terrestrial transmission, as established in 2001 with NZS6610:2001, to avoid the multipath problem caused by New Zealand's rugged topography. ATSC, a rival standard, cannot handle multipath well, so it was not chosen.[19]

Terrestrial Freeview|HD is broadcast in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and satellite broadcast is in MPEG2. This meant that people who took part in the Auckland digital trial using terrestrial DVB-T MPEG2 receivers needed to change their receivers to DVB-T MPEG4 in order to receive terrestrial Freeview. DVB-T MPEG4 is also known in some countries as DVB-T HD.

Freeview certifies set-top boxes but does not sell them; they are marketed by electronics retailers.[5] Freeview certification centres on the localisation of multimedia data, primarily for the EPG. This data is broadcast over DVB using the MHEG-5 standard. At the moment this is only used to transmit EPG data.

Freeview is discussing with Telecom about the provision of IPTV over ADSL.[20]

Terrestrial Transmitters

Freeview|HD, as of January 2008, transmits from the following transmitters:

All transmitters are horizontal polarisation unless otherwise stated. Frequencies of channels can be found at Television channel frequencies

Area Site Channel A (TVNZ) Channel B (TV Works) Channel C (Kordia)
Auckland Waiatarua 29 33 45
Pinehill 28 32 40
Remuera 28V 32V 40V
Sky Tower 28V 32V 40V
Auckland Infill 28V 32V 40V
Waikato Te Aroha 46 48 50
Hamilton Infill 49V 51V 47V
Tauranga Kopukairua 49V 51V 42V
Hawke's Bay Mt Erin 27V 31V 43V
Napier Infill 48V 50V 59V
Manawatu Wharite 48V 50V 59V
Kapiti Ngarara 45V 53V 57V
Wellington Kaukau 48 50 59
Baxters Knob 51 53 57
Fitzherbert 51V 53V 57V
Wellington Infill (Haywards) 51V 53V 57V
Christchurch Sugarloaf 47 49 50
Dunedin Mt Cargill 43 45 53

[21]

There are several transmitter sites that are proposed for the expansion of the Freeview|HD service to 87 percent coverage, but there are no definite plans for them broadcasting Freeview|HD.[22]

Area Site
Whangarei Horokaka
Parahaki
Rotorua Pukeputo
Bay of Plenty Putauaki
Paeroa Range
Taupo Tuhingamata
Gisborne Whakapunake (TBC)
Taranaki Mt Taranaki
Wanganui[2] Mt Jowlett
Wairarapa Otahoua
Nelson Grampians (TBC)
Southland Hedgehope

^  Some households in the higher areas of the Wanganui urban area can receive Freeview|HD from Palmerston North.

Finance

Freeview is the second digital TV system attempted by the government. The first, in 2000, cost NZ$6.8 million.

The government will pay up to NZ$25 million and provide free radio spectrum, estimated to be worth up to NZ$10 million during the transition to digital,[16] the companies involved will pay the remaining $50 million. It will cost Alt TV NZ$600,000 a year to broadcast on Freeview, Canterbury TV estimates it will need to pay NZ$1 million a year if it joins Freeview.[23] The government claims a NZ$230 million benefit to the economy.[16]

Freeview may turn into for-profit ("Payview") after the analogue switch off.[16]

Competition

SKY currently has a "free-to-air" package where channels similar to the ones available on Freeview are available for a monthly fee of NZ$18.29, plus an installation fee of NZ$99.[24] Around 90,000 people use this service, generally those who cannot get a high quality signal from analogue terrestrial television.[15]. SKY has been relatively unaffected.[25] Because both services use Optus D1, a SKY dish can be used to receive Freeview, but a separate set-top box is required.[15][26]

Political reaction

Prior to launch, the Green Party said that it wanted more funding for New Zealand made programmes, a local content quota (such as that used in Canada), a public service channel, and cheaper set-top boxes.[27] The government responded that no extra funding would be available, a quota would not be necessary and the technology would get cheaper over time.[28]

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/freeview-moves-ahead-sky-tv-hd-race-39886
  2. ^ http://www.geekzone.co.nz/content.asp?contentid=7986
  3. ^ "Freeview marches toward Digital Uptake Target" (PDF). 2009-10-13. http://www.freeviewnz.tv/site/news_article/freeview_marches_toward_digital_uptake_target. Retrieved 2009-10-16.  
  4. ^ "MyFreeview satellite products". Freeview New Zealand. http://www.freeviewnz.tv/products/listing/myfreeview. Retrieved 2009-01-14.  
  5. ^ a b c Maharey, Steve et al.. (2006). Free-To-Air Digital Announcement video. [Press conference].  
  6. ^ "Prime is due to be realesed onto freeview on Monday 17th August, 2009". 2009. http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/prime-goes-freeview-did-kordia-sweeten-deal-107538. Retrieved 2009-08-16.  
  7. ^ "FreeView Digital Broadcasting Information Summarised FAQ". Free-To-Air Digital Television - TVNZ. 2006. http://digital.tvnz.co.nz/faq.html. Retrieved 2006-06-15.  
  8. ^ "TV3 > Contact Us > HDTV". 2008. http://www.tv3.co.nz/ContactUs/FAQs/HDTV/tabid/719/Default.aspx.  
  9. ^ a b "FREEVIEW CODE OF PRACTICE" (PDF). 2008. http://freeviewnz.tv/images/freeview_service_provider_code_of_practice.pdf.  
  10. ^ "CUE TV is Freeview's tenth TV channel". 2007. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU0711/S00572.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-28.  
  11. ^ a b McKenzie-Minifie, Martha (2006-07-29). "Please adjust your set for a digital revolution". New Zealand Herald (APN Holdings NZ Ltd). http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=3&ObjectID=10393516. Retrieved 2006-07-29.  
  12. ^ Drinnan, John (2006-08-04). "Media bytes: Sub-leasing on Freeview". The National Business Review.  
  13. ^ a b New Zealand Government (2006-06-15). "Free-to-Air Digital TV: Questions and Answers". Press release. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0606/S00287.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-15.  
  14. ^ a b THL Group (2006-06-15). "Government says 'yes' to a digital future for NZ". Press release. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU0606/S00222.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-15.  
  15. ^ a b c Trevett, Claire (2006-06-15). "18 TV channels and it's all free". NZ Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10386824.  
  16. ^ a b c d New Zealand Government (2006-06-15). "Free-to-air digital TV to begin roll-out". Press release. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0606/S00270.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-15.  
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ "about freeview". freeview solutions. 2008. http://www.freeviewsolutions.co.nz/about%20freeview.html. Retrieved 2008-02-26.  
  19. ^ "Transmission Platforms". Digital Television Discussion Document 2001. http://www.med.govt.nz/templates/MultipageDocumentPage____9390.aspx#P126_25725. Retrieved 2006-07-07.  
  20. ^ Pullar-Strecker, Tom (2006-07-24). "Sky watches broadband move". Stuff. http://stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3740872a28,00.html.  
  21. ^ "Reception FAQ - Freeview New Zealand". http://www.freeviewnz.tv/setup_support/questions_answers/category/reception. Retrieved 2009-01-16.  
  22. ^ "Radio Spectrum Management - Digital television 2007 frequency plan". http://www.rsm.govt.nz/cms/policy-and-planning/current-projects/broadcasting/digital-television-2007-frequency-plan. Retrieved 2009-03-03.  
  23. ^ "Alt TV changes its tune (yay)". The New Zealand Herald. 2007-08-02.  
  24. ^ "Can I temporarily disconnect SKY when I'm away on holiday?". Sky TV frequently asked questions. http://www.skytv.co.nz/index.cfm?pageid=445&script=faqmodule&faq=grp&gid=9&nrcontent=0&pid=445. Retrieved 2006-06-20.  
  25. ^ Poland, Owen (Reporter). (2006). Freeview TV to hit Sky hard. [TV-News]. TV ONE.  
  26. ^ "TV viewers may need two boxes". Stuff. 2006-07-03. http://stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3718577a28,00.html.  
  27. ^ Green Party (2006-06-15). "Digital TV good news but local content essential". Press release. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0606/S00266.htm. Retrieved 2006-06-17.  
  28. ^ "Digital Television—Local Content Funding". Hansard, Questions for oral answer. 2006-06-20. http://www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz/Content/Hansard/Final/FINAL_2006_06_20.htm#_Toc139450172. Retrieved 2006-07-26.  

External links

Media coverage
Equipment suppliers

Simple English

Freeview is free television service in the New Zealand, It is sent to people's home using a digital signal by either over the air or by satellite. It is planning to have more channels than the normal television (analogue) provides. The service was put on air on 2 May 2007. The service was created a local copy of the British digital television service, also known as Freeview.

Some TVs can receive Freeview automatically, but most people have to buy a special box to connect to their old TV or replace their satellite box, if they want to get by satellite.


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