New Zealand Plans DTV Rollout

Radio New Zealand reported that the New Zealand government plans to start free-to-air digital television service in 2007. In addition to Radio New Zealand, the plan will also affect other broadcasters in the country. Broadcasters have formed the Freeview alliance and leased satellite space to make the conversion. They expect to invest $75 million to establish Freeview, with the government contributing $25 million and providing free access to digital frequencies, which is estimated to be worth $10 million.

Radio New Zealand said that TV owners will have to purchase a set-top box and in some areas, a satellite dish. Initial cost for the STB is estimated at up to $200, plus a similar extra amount for a satellite dish if required. As the name implies, Freeview programming will be available free of charge. Eighteen channels have been set aside for free-to-air TV. Radio New Zealand said in a recent article that New Zealand expects to switch off analog TV transmissions sometime between 2012 and 2016.

Opposition parties said the plan was still short on details.