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Tech Talk Radio Show 33 of 2009
Transmission date: August 17, 2009

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Ep 33: The NBN asks more than it answers. Microsoft banned from selling Word in the US, iiNet posts healthy profit, Telstra salaries and customer charges, Black Saturday SMS, and more!

August 17 , 2009

Last week I spent some time taking talk back calls on ABC Radio on the subject of Digital television and digital radio and I came away from that with an understanding that there is still a great amount of confusion in the broader community about digital TV which has only been compounded with the launch of digital radio. So here’s the digital low down as it stands today.

Digital TV and Digital Radio are two entirely different beasts and are completely incompatible with each other. A digital TV receiver or a set top box will not receive digital radio and a DAB+ receiver will not receive TV. The confusion possibly stems from the ability to receive narrow cast radio broadcast via your set top box for services such as ABC’s DIG and SBS’s news services. These services are in fact radio services, but the broadcasters have chosen to transmit them as part of their digital TV service.

DAB+The methods of transmission are completely different when comparing digital TV to digital or DAB+ radio.

Another myth is that digital radio is going to replace traditional AM and FM Radio. There’s nothing further from the truth. Digital radio is a complimentary service to existing radio services. At this time there are no plans to turn off any traditional radio broadcasts.

Moving on to TV, there have been a lot of mixed messages surrounding the urgency to purchase digital TV reception equipment. There’s only one timetable that needs to be adhered to, and that’s the government’s switch of time table which can be found on the Tech Talk Radio website. If you want to buy something before those dates, then that’s your choice. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

When it comes to upgrading to digital TV, you can do one of two things. Buy a new TV with a built in digital receiver which means you don’t need a set top box, or buy a set top box to convert the new digital signals to work on your existing analogue TV. This means you can use your existing TV beyond the analogue shutdown dates. If this appeals to you then you only need a standard definition set top box as you can’t watch high definition programs on a standard definition TV unless the box you choose has a down converter.

There’s another type of digital TV receiver which is called a PVR or personal video recorder. This is the equivalent of the old VHS machine. It’s the same as a set top box with one exception – it has a recording device built in, in the form of a hard drive. Think of it as the digital VHS machine for modern times – no tape required! The PVR will function exactly the same way as a set top box, so you don’t need a set top box with a PVR.

There’s a little more to it than what I’ve just discussed, but armed with what you now know, don’t let any sales bully tell you otherwise. If you want to watch the new digital TV channels, then a new digital TV, Set top Box or PVR is for you, but if you live in one of Australia’s capital cities, what you have will work perfectly well until the middle of 2013.

Also on the show this week:

  • Adam Turner looks at portable devices such as net books and tablet pcs.
  • iiNet gets the gong as a stand out ISP
  • Twitter takes a leaf out of apples book when it comes to 3rd party apps and
  • Microsoft banned from selling Word in the US