TVNZ to Discontinue Test Channels Ready for Freeview

TVNZ is discontinuing 3 test channels on its free-to-air satellite platform
to make way for the launch of the new Freeview service in early May.

TVNZ has advised the 3 international broadcasters, Deutsche Welle, CCTV9 and
Bloomberg that technical testing of equipment and processes is now complete
and that transmission of the channels will end next week.

The 3 channels were transmitted by TVNZ without charge to the broadcasters
but now the space on the satellite that these channels have occupied must be
handed over to Freeview, vacant, ready for the launch of its new free-to-air
service.

TVNZ encouraged the 3 international broadcasters to make commercial
arrangements to continue as part of Freeview service. As part of this, TVNZ
set up discussions between all relevant parties, exploring options that
would make it possible for the 3 channels to remain.

But the broadcasters weren’t able to reach agreement and the test channels
will no longer be available on the platform after Friday March 16th.

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  • Anonymous

    Early May for Freeview? Cool!

  • Rachel

    What’s the costs for Freeview? Just a set-top box right? How much will they be?

  • Tui

    set-top box & a satellite… the costs were around $300 or so I don’t really remember that well..

  • reece_555

    freeview isnt that appealing to buy the set top box

  • nzgabriel

    Sky does more than enough at the moment, so no real plans to get Freeview.

  • campgrrls

    Some of Deutsche Welle and CCTV already show on Triangle. What else will be showing on Freeview? BTW It’s not that free if you need to fork out for a set top box and a satelitte dish.

  • campgrrls

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=339&objectid=10427635

    Free-to-air offers just the basics
    5:00AM Thursday March 08, 2007
    By Peter Griffin
    Outages on the ageing Optus B1 satellite disrupted Sky’s TV services last year. Freeview will use a new satellite.

    Outages on the ageing Optus B1 satellite disrupted Sky’s TV services last year. Freeview will use a new satellite.

    A digital free-to-air satellite TV service set to go live next month will be aimed at “middle New Zealand” but will add digital video recorders and high-definition set-top boxes within a year.

    Government-backed Freeview is a consortium of TVNZ, CanWest, Maori Television Services and Radio New Zealand.

    It will broadcast existing channels TV One, TV2, TV3, C4, Maori TV and Radio New Zealand’s National and Concert stations from the Optus D1 satellite to viewers with its set-top box and satellite dish.

    A digital terrestrial service operating much the same way as existing broadcast TV will begin early next year.

    TVNZ will launch a new family-oriented channel dubbed TVNZ3 in the next few months while a 24-hour news channel is expected to appear by year’s end.

    Digital TV broadcasters around the world are already delivering programmes in high-definition for better quality, as well as interactive services.

    But Freeview programming will be delivered in standard definition and the two set-top boxes it has so far accredited will not allow for interactive features or hard-drive recording.

    Freeview general manager Steve Browning said it would appeal to the 25 per cent of New Zealand homes with poor TV reception and those who wanted more choice in viewing.

    “Middle New Zealand just wants good-quality telly. That’s where Freeview comes in,” he said.

    The set-top boxes, sold and supported by electronics retailers, cannot be used for sending text messages and email or e-commerce services.

    “We studied it long and hard. It was a trade-off between usage and cost. You add cost if you add a modem,” Browning said.

    Freeview would support some interactivity – mainly in the form of the channels’ electronic programming guide. The MHEG-5 standard the boxes support is used by Freeview in Britain and is popular for its low hardware requirements.

    A high-definition set-top box will be available by next March when digital terrestrial broadcasts begin.

    “I’d like to think we’ll have a personal video recorder for the satellite platform within 12 months,” Browning added.

    Sky has limited sales of its MySky personal video recorder as it readies MySky 2, a newer model that will support high-definition TV feeds delivered from the same satellite the Freeview consortium is using.

    Browning said the satellite was brand new and was unlikely to experience the outages on the ageing Optus B1 satellite that disrupted Sky’s TV services last year.

    “Satellite has a bad reputation in New Zealand because of what happened with B1,” he said. “But it was in its 15th year, literally falling out of the sky.”

    Browning has moved from TVNZ to head Freeview, but he hasn’t had to change offices. Freeview is based at TVNZ’s Auckland headquarters and is funded by the collaborating broadcasters.

    “We’re structured as a cost centre, no revenue line. We’re concerned with how many houses have [Freeview] boxes in them,” said Browning.

    An advertising campaign would greet the launch of Freeview in late April and Browning said uptake of the set-top boxes, which will cost about $200, would be closely linked to consumer confidence.

    After a shaky start, digital TV has experienced rapid uptake across the Tasman in the past year, with two million of Australia’s 7.8 million homes now able to access digital TV, according to Digital Broadcasting Australia. Three-quarters of the digital tuners are high-definition, though not all owners have high-definition TV screens.

  • campgrrls

    I’m interested in getting digital TV. But the cost sounds a bit out of my price range. Also I have some question about the NZ Herald article I just copied here.

    If I did find the money to get Freeview, would I need to fork out more money to get the terestrial digital TV that’s going onstream next year. What will be the difference between the terrestrial version and the satellite version? ie will they have the same or different channels?

    For the satellite version they mention making a digital video recorder available. If I was able to afford freeview, does that mean I couldn’t use my existing VCR and DVD recorders to record the freview channels? ie an extra cost to be able to record them?

  • Patient digital subscriber…

    Trust me you wouldnt have wanted to see the test channels!!
    CCTV-9 Was boring and mostly about Chinas politics,
    DWTV was 85% German,
    and Bloomberg just showed the stock market all day!

    They shouldnt have even considered keeping them!, what were they thinking!??

    I cant wait to be able to see channel 3, C4 and Prime + more, we have only had One, 2 and Maori tv for ages!!

    BTW, Whats happening with the current TVNZ Wide test Channel??

  • Tui

    I have liked the fact that channel 25 (currently under the name TVNZ6) broadcasts a live feed from cameras around Auckland.