Some parts of Kangaroo Island will be in a digital TV reception black spot in the switchover from analogue to digital TV by the end of 2013.
People who now receive TV via the Kingscote transmitter services or remote broadcasting satellite services (Aurora services) will be affected because the Kingscote transmitter will not be converted to digital and the Aurora service will cease at the end of 2013.
They will need to either invest in the VAST service for which they may be eligible for assistance through the Federal Government’s Satellite Subsidy Scheme or buy a VAST set top box for each TV, and a satellite dish.
There are 70,000 people across Australia who have the VAST service. VAST is a satellite TV service that provides all 16 free-to-air channels from ABC, SBS and the commercial broadcasters, plus a dedicated local news channel.
Some households in Kingscote will be eligible for assistance to access VAST. They will receive a high definition VAST set top box, satellite dish and cabling installed by a government-contracted installer for a one-off cost of $220.
“This assistance is only available to people who rely on the Kingscote transmitter,” a Digital Switchover Taskforce spokeswoman said.
Applications for the SSS close on May 31. It is available to households which currently receive analogue TV services from a local self-help transmitter that is not being upgraded to digital; or are unable to receive adequate terrestrial digital TV reception from any other transmitter.
People living on the north-east of the island from Penneshaw through to Emu Bay are expected to have access to digital TV services from Adelaide, providing they have the right equipment, including the correct antenna set-up.
Some parts of Kingscote receive good terrestrial digital TV coverage from the Adelaide transmitter. To upgrade an analogue TV to receive digital services a set box or recorder can be connected.
A Household Assistance Scheme is available for people who need help to switch to digital TV. The eligibility criteria is that these people have not yet converted to digital TV and receive the maximum rate of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement.
The scheme provides an entire package of assistance and is free to eligible households. It includes the supply and installation of a set top box or satellite TV equipment, a demonstration of how to use the equipment, 12 months after-care support and equipment warranty and where necessary, antenna and cable upgrades if the resident owns the home.
Kangaroo Island will be covered by two switchover regions: Adelaide; and Remote Central and Eastern Australia.
People on Kangaroo Island eligible for the scheme in the Remote Central and Eastern Australia switchover region will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services and must apply by May 31.
For people in the Adelaide switchover region, the scheme will be available in early 2013. Analogue TV from the Adelaide switchover region is scheduled to be switched off in mid-2013.
Islanders can check which switchover region they are in by entering their full address into mySwitch on www.digitalready.gov.au or by calling the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 201 013.