With the switchover to digital television looming ever closer, consumers are being urged to ensure they shop around for the best deal.
From May 2013 all television viewers in New Zealand will need Freeview, Sky or TelstraClear to keep receiving their favourite programmes. Wellington households will see their analogue signals switched-off in September 2013.
Going Digital urges consumers to be cautious of door-to-door salespeople offering digital products and “anything that sounds too good to be true”.
“Over 80% of New Zealand homes are already enjoying the digital television experience. For the remaining 20%, they need to start looking at their options now so they are ready when their region goes digital,” says Going Digital national manager Greg Harford.
“The cost of going digital depends on your location and what equipment is required. We suggest that consumers shop around and talk with retailers and installers about their options.”
Freeview sales have hit record highs as the race to go digital begins. A total of more than 80,000 Freeview-enabled devices were sold in December alone.
Freeview general manager Sam Irvine says New Zealanders have a strong attachment to free television. “The largest benefit of Freeview is that it’s just a one-off cost to set up, and then the service is free.”
However, some viewers are facing costs of around $500 for a full installation of Freeview. Costs can mount further when taking into account the varying price of digital receivers.
Mr Harford says households with more than one television will need to consider buying a set-top box for each one. “Every television you want to use needs to go digital, and it’s easiest to have a separate set-top box for each set.”
He says multiple televisions can be connected to a single set-top box but that this will result in each television showing the same channel at the same time.
The New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services CEO Raewyn Fox says households should make an educated decision when making the switch to digital. “By consulting a budget adviser, families can incorporate the cost of going digital into their budget.”