Why is HD disappearing from our TV?

opinion While Freeview tells us to upgrade to high-definition TV, networks are dumping the shows.

HD television a thing of the past?(Credit: TV.com)

When the newest channel 7mate arrives in late September it will signal the end of 7HD. That means no more high-definition broadcast of shows such as Packed to the Rafters, City Homicide, Home and Away and Sunrise. Unless shows happen to be simulcast on 7mate they will be available only in standard definition on Seven. This follows the recent loss of ABC HD when ABC News 24 launched in July.

Anyone who remembers Ten HD will recall how it too vanished once channel One arrived. Now there are rumours that Nine is eyeing a new channel, with the likelihood of Nine HD being the casualty.

Commercial free-to-air networks are only allowed three channels under government regulation, so while most HD channels have mirrored the content on primary channels networks have become creative about ways to increase revenue.

But while that's all well and good for the network bottom line it's bad news for viewers.

Freeview campaigns have waxed lyrical about upgrading to new joys of HD television sets without acknowledging that channels are diluting the HD content.

Similarly, the government has been singing the praises of digital uptake (now 75 per cent) and the successes of the first switch-off from analog to digital in the Mildura region.

Networks are required to broadcast at least 1040 hours of high-definition television (HDTV) programs each year. Admittedly, Ten has no problem in reaching that target with One, but if you're not a sports fan that's little consolation.

On 7mate, an HD-only channel, there will be high-definition broadcasts of some of its new titles, which is expected to include titles such as Caprica and Warehouse 13. But there will be plenty more shows than there are in standard definition.

Similarly, only a small amount of news on ABC News 24 is in high definition.

Nine, which is tipped to launch a new channel soon, could see the end of HD broadcasts of shows such as Top Gear and Underbelly if it follows the same path. Meanwhile, Ten is rumoured to be dropping One SD to make way for its third channel.

The rule of thumb among networks appears to be that until the entire country has switched off from analog in 2013 they aren't interested in offering their premium titles in HD.

In contrast, Foxtel has been adding more HD channels but slugging viewers in the process. If you pay for one channel, expect to pay more just to see it in HD, even when you're already paying another fee for the iQ2.

Foxtel, which announced a new PC desktop widget today, is expected to announce new HD channels soon.

Are you frustrated that HD television seems to be rapidly disappearing from your TV screen? Let us know below!

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the don posted a comment   

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the don


the don posted a comment   

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the don


the don posted a comment   

Again, and without warning,the beaureacrats have sent Australians back another 20 years and as usual we just sit back and cop it.Unbelievable!!!
Buy,Buy,Buy a new HD TV or HD set top box. Watch our shows on stunning HD. OK, now that most of the Australian population has bought and spent, time to SCAM them and remove the HD content in order to increase our bottom line. Digital broadcast in no way has the same quality as an HD broadcast! Just watch an afl game, for example, on channel 7 or whatever it chooses to call itself.Clear on close ups but once the camera pans at a distance,looks like tiny snow flakes.
If only I had foresight,I would have stuck with my trusty analogue and purchased a sd set top box and have saved $9000.
Wake up Australia and lets get some class protest organised.There are always people telling or enforcing onto us as what we can watch and in what quality or manner we can watch it in. ENOUGH.
P.S: Might go out and buy a 3d tv. I'm sure they won't scam the programming on that mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


pcnot posted a comment   

I don't mind them broadcasting everything in digital SD, as I can't tell the difference. What I am upset about is that One is no longer available in SD, so my SD recorder is no good for sports stuff in the middle of the night. I thought the government rule was that everything in HD also had to be available in SD.


bc posted a comment   

This is what happens when Government interferes in areas which is best left to private enterprise. Australia is an overregulated country.


John posted a comment   

What are the advertisers thinking? Bring on internet tv, i say.


Mike posted a comment   

Yes, I agree with everything said.
The way I understood it to be was that "If it is shown on HD then it would be in SD as well".
Well it was like that but not now.
GEM, the third tier offer from 9 is in HD, why? It should be that the prime channel 9 is in HD.

Like wise as noted 7Mate follows the same path.
Now I have to go and buy a HD PVR because TEN has decided to shift ONE to the HD spectrum. That is bloody annoying and expensive.
All for a channel that James & Lauchlin may can!

Did I mention that we have 5 SD DTT's and 2 SD PVR's in the home already.!!


Big Al. posted a comment   

From the way I understand it, networks have a limited bandwidth and to run three channels means sacrificing their HD transmission so the they can run another commercially profitable channel within that bandwidth. Don't for a moment think that these decisions were made with public discussion and from the people I've spoken to - nobody has noticed anyway.


docian posted a comment   

Such a shame that most of the HD channels now cater for the Bogan audience. We spent a lot of money on HD equipment only to have the primary channels reverting to SD.
Government regulation should have required the primary free to air channel to be broadcast in HD instead of allowing the channels to go their own way with contempt for their audiences.
Even ABC should have delayed their news channel until they could have provided it as an SD channel.
They have so many great programs on ABC one which lose their much of their appeal in SD (Even if their HD was not full HD


miffed posted a comment   

I cannot understand why more of a fuss has not been kicked up about the vertual removal of hdtv for normal programs.Millions of dollars have been spent purchasing high defination tv's by us believing we could actually watch hd tv. There has been a glut of freeview advertising but dont expect to view it in hd.
It was absoultly pathetic that Bathurst could not be veiwed in the crystal clear (bordering on criminal).
There must be something someone or we,can do to be bring back Australian television viewing to the current century. Before they take us back to BLACK and WHITE.

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