When the Freeview HD expansion was announced I thought it was going to be a good thing but now that Invercargill (and the other JDA contracted regions) has the service, with only 11 of the 16-17 channels available, I now think it’s a complete waste (with the exception of free-to-air HD and Dolby 5.1 surround).

And what expaination has been given for this? Well according to JDA’s Warren Harding, in an email I received this morning, it seems the Government is to blame for the less than stellar performance from the expansion, and I quote:

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage paid
for the implementation of the expansion network, the hardware and
installation. But that’s it. The on-going cost of maintaining it, the
rent to landowners, the power, the service teams, etc has to be borne by
those that use the system. So those that have subscribed to the
expansion network pay rent to us and appear on your screen and those
that haven’t don’t.

It’s a little like Sky subscribers who have
a basic package and can’t watch movies or sports only in this case the
subscription is paid for by the broadcasters not the public. Hopefully
it’s just a matter of time until we get the rest of them on board. The
rent we charge is based on what it costs us and is built into our
contract with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. There’s no price
gouging going on, I promise you.

Government run programs like
Parliament TV might get pushed along if the public complain about it.
It seems strange that one arm of the government would splash out for the
expansion but another arm won’t subscribe to it.”

Now I posted this on Geekzone with the following comments as I honestly see it.

personally think the Ministry of Culture and Heritage have dropped the
ball on this and that the public should have been told that certain
areas would not receive the full service.

Now this would have
affected sales I would say and therefore I believe this has been covered
up so that people would go out and buy receivers, not knowing however,
that they would not be getting the full service.”

I think this has been a total cock up by this Government because I don’t think they ever had faith in Freeview to begin with and that if they had then Kordia would have been the only company given the expansion contract and only then would we have the full service.

I’m not criticizing JDA in any of this because this isn’t their fault. It, in my opinion, should be laid at the feet of the Government.

Television viewers in all major New Zealand towns are set to benefit from the Government’s announcement today that digital switchover will take place in 2013.

That’s the message from Freeview, the free-to-air digital televison and radio broadcasting platform, which has welcomed the date set by Broadcasting Minister Dr. Jonathan Coleman and the Government’s intention to migrate all viewers from analogue to digital Television.

The extension of the Digital terrestrial network (DTT) , will increase Freeview|HD®,  coverage  from 75% of the population to about  87% meaning even more Kiwis will now be able to access the benefits of High Definition television for free.

“The launch of Freeview three years ago was the most significant broadcasting moment since the introduction of colour TV 30 years ago and since then we’ve grown swiftly, so much so that Freeview is now being enjoyed by viewers in more than a quarter of New Zealand homes (i.e. a total of 419,945 or 26.1 % of Kiwi households as at June 30th, 2010). Importantly, with Freeview and a one off purchase, all New Zealanders can continue to get great Televison for free ,” says Sam Irvine, General Manager, Freeview.

“Today’s announcement also means a further year of funding for Freeview, more efficient use of spectrum and the availability of new technologies, all of which will enable us to continue providing the Kiwi viewing public with a compelling free-to-air offer,” he adds.

(From a press release)