By Matthew Henry

CANBERRA: The Australian Digital Suppliers Industry Forum (ADSIF) has joined the growing chorus of consumer electronics industry representatives imploring the federal government to set a firm date for the switchover to digital television.

Television manufacturers including Sony and Samsung have already individually petitioned the government to confirm a date for digital TV suppliers to work towards, but a statement released today has raised the bar by gaining wider support for the proposal.

ADSIF, which represents a coalition of CE suppliers including Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and LG Electronics, has proposed 31 December 2012 as the upper limit for a workable switchover date.

This date falls within the government’s own vague proposal for switchover some time between 2010 and 2012.

“The Government should determine a firm timetable for switchover considering that digital television uptake is riding the wave of consumer demand for new home entertainment technologies,” said AEEMA chief executive, Angus M Robinson, in a statement today.

ADSIF estimates that Australian consumers will purchase around 9.8 million HDTVs with built-in digital tuners over the next six years, which would see a ‘very high proportion’ of the country’s eight million households converted to digital.

The group also supports the creation of Digital Australia and the Industry Advisory Group, which is believes will have a critical role in coordinating and communicating the initiatives that will see digital TV replace analogue broadcasting.

“Australia can show leadership in our region with the successful transition to digital television, and subsequently free up more than 100Mbs of wireless broadband capacity across Australia for new and exciting digital services,” said Robinson.

ADSIF has also pointed to popular sporting events as key drivers for digital TV allowing broadcasters to showcase the potential of high definition.

“With the combination of the early determination of a firm switchover timetable, compelling broadcast content and the projected demand for new home entertainment equipment, the completion of the switchover by 31 December 2012 is definitely achievable.”