Retailers speak out on digital TV in rural areas

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: The recent debate between a rural Betta store proprietor and the Minister in charge of the digital switchover prompted a strong response from Current.com.au readers. Most agreed with Brett Nosse of Balonne Electrical: country areas are being neglected.

Robin McGilvery, who is the director of his own specialty electrical appliance and TV company, told Current.com.au that he is also suffering from a paucity of information.

“We find information very hard to come by relating to digital transmissions,” said McGilvery. “No-one can inform us just what is to happen when we come across areas that will not receive digital signals, no matter what antenna systems and amplifiers we use, which is what is starting to happen now.”

Doug Basham, a Retravision proprietor from Western Australia, has similar views.

“I understand everything Mr Nosse says about the lack of information available to country people in regard to the digital TV system,” he said.

“I run two Retravision stores in country WA and am constantly bewildered by the current TV advertising on regional TV channels advising consumers to be digital ready. One government source told me that our region will not be serviced with digital TV until 2013.

“Digital TV has been one of the worst managed introductions of technology in Australia, with regional and country viewers being the most disadvantaged and ignored in the roll out.

“As the consumer has no source of reliable information they come to us as their perceived local expert. We do our best to keep them up to speed with little or no support from those who supposedly know.”

One dissenting view is that of Chris Gulland. He believes it’s the industry’s responsibility, not the Government’s.

“I think the government is doing too much, and it should be the industry doing the moving and the shaking,” he said.

“We purchased a new digital TV in November, great pictures, but the content is currently disappointing, particularly on new channels.

He blames Freeview for this, saying they have overpromised and under-delivered.

“Freeview in my opinion totally misrepresented the situation; first phase should have been educational.”

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