[Offtopic] The spare digital tv channels
stephen at melbpc.org.au
stephen at melbpc.org.au
Mon Jun 26 02:43:33 EST 2006
ReelTime raises spare ideas
Jane Schulze JUNE 22, 2006
Internet access through television aerials has been raised as a potential
use of one of Australia's two spare digital TV channels.
Submissions to the Australian Communications and Media Authority's
inquiry into the future uses of spare digital channels ..
(1) ReelTime managing director John Karantzis said one could be used to
improve internet access ... "We view the internet as transmission
technology agnostic, and datacasting could form one of the many diverse
paths available to deliver IP protocol."
We consider that the two unassigned channels could be utilised - in a
manner consistent with the Government's convergence model - to support
the Government's broadband penetration targets as an ancillary
transmission medium for the internet," he said.
(2) The most widely touted option for the spare TV channels - a mobile TV
service - was strongly supported by Hutchison Telecommunications ..
Mobile TV functionality could be efficiently included in video mobile or
3G handsets, "providing a more cost-effective and multifunctional
handheld device that is convenient to consumers".
"Consumers who would not otherwise be prepared to go out and separately
purchase a free-to-air digital set-top box ... may well be prepared to
upgrade to a mobile TV-enabled mobile handset," it said, noting that on
average consumers upgrade their mobile phones every two years.
(3) The Screen Producers Association of Australia again called for the
Government to use the spare channels to introduce a fourth free-to-air TV
"We believe that the available evidence unequivocally supports the
market's capacity to absorb another competitor," it said. "Commercial
free-to-air network profits are among the highest in the world, averaging
over 16 per cent before tax for the last five years, which is three times
the average 90-day interest rate of all major banks."
(4) The Australian Film Commission suggested one of the spare channels be
used for the new indigenous TV service to which the Government last year
committed to contribute $48.5million over four years.
"The AFC understands that this service will be a niche narrowcast service
that will support the production and broadcasting of more diverse
programming, such as indigenous news, children's and drama programs," the
(5) In its submission, the Institute of Public Affairs said the
Government should maintain flexible regulatory settings to encourage new
services to prosper.
"If government is serious about providing new media and content for
Australian citizens, it should introduce flexible, consumer-responsive
services on these two channels," the IPA said. That meant more flexible
spectrum licences should be issued for the new service.
"Whether this would result in two new free-to-air commercial broadcasters
or as experimental internet delivery mechanisms or as subscription TV
networks is a question that the market ... should be left to answer.
Anything else invites significant inefficiencies, leading to a loss of
(6) But the free-to-air industry's peak body, Free TV Australia, argued
that no new services should be allowed on the spare channels until
spectrum planning for all digital TV services was finished.
"It is vital that deployment of any services in the datacasting channels
do not disrupt a smooth transition to digital TV ... this requires
interference and interoperability issues to be carefully managed," it
(The) ACMA provided a report on its suggestions, based on the
submissions, to the Government last week but it has yet to be released.
Cheers all ..
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