By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY, NSW: The Federal Government revealed 56 per cent of Australians have converted their TV to accept digital broadcasts. But Sony says converting to digital without upgrading to high definition means you’re not getting the full picture.

The Federal Government’s Digital Tracker Report for the July to September 2009 quarter shows that 56 per cent of Australians have converted their TV to accept the digital television broadcasts.

Sony Australia deputy general manager, Consumer Products Marketing, Toby Barbour, said that the benefits of digital TV, including more channels and high definition (HD) content are motivating factors for consumers to switch.

“We are pleased to see there has been some increase in the Digital Tracker with 56 per cent of Australian households now having converted their main set to digital TV as of Q3 2009,” said Sony Australia deputy general manager, Consumer Products Marketing, Toby Barbour. “Digital television is much more than just a numbers game though.

“While the adoption in Australia to date is certainly heading in the right direction, it is not just the impending switchover that should be the incentive for consumers to make the change. The benefits of digital TV stretch well beyond just the improved picture; it also represents a gateway for accessing many new TV channels, as well as high definition content.

“While the move to digital is certainly an exciting step in Australia, at Sony, we’ve always been a bigger believer in high definition as the future for digital. With superior picture quality, and audio to go with it, we believe that consumers’ switch to digital, should be a switch straight to high definition.”

Barbour said that Sony’s consumer research indicates that more and more Australians are understanding HD, but that there is still a lot of work to do to raise HD awareness.

“The findings from our recent Sony High Definition Benchmark report reflect Australia’s understanding of the importance of HD, with figures revealing that an estimated 47 per cent of homes in Australia now have access to an HD LCD TV.

“Whilst 82 per cent of households intend to convert to digital TV, 52 per cent of these have indicated that they will wait until just before the switchover date, or until they are forced to. There is clearly still a job for our industry to do in communicating the benefits of digital and high definition TV that are available today.

“While the government’s activity is certainly showing a positive impact, it should be innovation from TV manufacturers and broadcasters that close this gap, encouraging earlier conversion. It’s not about being left behind at the time of the switchover, but about being left behind today. Factors such as full high definition, 200Hz, Blu-ray and accessible pricing have pulled consumers through to digital conversion by providing clear advantages that reach beyond picture resolution and meeting the switchover deadline.

“Sony’s focus will be on continuing to promote features, technologies and benefits that will allow Australians to experience the digital and HD content delivered by broadcasters, and encourage a faster rate of digital TV conversion ahead of the switchover.”