Political impacts information

Some political considerations that is presently being given to this subject has had resulted in the following bills and laws being formulated to regulate the HDTV technology and it's implementation. Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2002 "This bill was introduced into the Senate on 25 September 2002 by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer. [Portfolio responsibility: Communications, Information Technology and the Arts]

The bill proposes to amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to delay the introduction of high definition television (HDTV) requirements on commercial television broadcasting licensees and national broadcasters in mainland State capitals for six months until 1 July 2003. The proposed amendments do not change the commencement of the HDTV obligations in areas outside mainland State capitals, because the simulcast periods in these areas have not yet commenced"

Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, 16 Oct 2002: Australia www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/scrutiny/alert02/eleven.doc The above will to delay the introduction of HDTV on commercial broadcasting licenses are quiet possibly due to social impact where the government wants to give non-commercial broadcasters time to adapt to the technology while not competing against the highly successful commercial broadcasters. "HDTV REVIEW 2004

Now there is a proposed review of HDTV in 2004, which allows for the repeal of the requirement for free-to-air broadcasters to provide HDTV beyond 2004. This creates the possibility that the free-to-air broadcasters will be able to out of HDTV, just 3 years after the launch of the service. ASTRA, in its 1997 report to the Government on digital terrestrial broadcasting, warned that HDTV was a cloak being used by the free-to-air broadcasters to capture spectrum and protect themselves from competition, rather than a viable product for consumers.

Both the Government and the free-to-air broadcasters are now indicating that HDTV may not be the primary driver of digital TV take-up as they had originally believed. This puts Australian consumers in the position of having no certainty that HDTV will continue beyond 2004, while being encouraged by the Government's pro-HDTV policy, and the free-to-air networks' impending broadcast and promotion of HDTV, to invest in new HDTV receiving equipment.

This situation will create consumer uncertainty about the future of HDTV and undermine consumer confidence in digital TV as a whole". Foxtel Submission: Australia, http://www.foxtel.com.au/submissions.jsp, Accessed January 2003 and February 2003. On the other hand, as can be deducted by the review from FOXTEL, since they have not been presented with an opportunity to make a profit and introduce HDTV simultaneously, the company has sounded it's intension to slow down the face of HDTV roll out or at least it will try. It's inherent that any change of heart by major networks such as FOXTEL, who have had to comply with increased services their by merging with OPTUS vision, would have an associated cost passed on to the customers or to other areas. This is the dilemma between political sense and economic sense.


Conclusively, the introduction of HDTV is a reality and at the time of writing it is planned to commence its first trial multi channelling for ABC and SBS stations. Considering all the pros and cons of this issue it is evident that like any technology it will take some time and cost to get adjusted to but with the future demanding intense information consumption it will prove to be a necessary part of the future lifestyle.


  • Gary Brown (2002 Dec), How HDTV Works, http://electronics.howstuffworks.com