Assistance for digital switchover

The end of analog television is less than a month away.

Assistance for digital switchover

The end of analog television is less than a month away and while many Australians have made the switch to digital, there are some who have yet to install a set top box or replace their old television with a digital version.

The final areas to have the analog signal off are:

  • Sydney– 3 December
  • Melbourne– 10 December
  • Remote Queensland, Torres Strait Islands, Lord Howe Island, remote NT and remote areas in VIC, SA and NSW – 10 December

If you live in an area which hasn’t yet switch to digital and receive an Age Pension, you may be eligible for assistance.

Under the Household Assistance Scheme you may be eligible to receive:

  • free high definition set top box
  • free installation of set top box by a government contracted installer
  • free demonstration on how to use your new equipment
  • 12-month warranty on equipment and work carried out in your home, and
  • 12 months free technical support.

To be eligible for the scheme, you will need to:

  • be unable to access all of the standard high definition digital channels available in your area
  • receive the full rate of either the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) Service Pension or DVA Income Support Supplement 

To find out more about assistance available for digital TV switchover, visit

To find out if the region you live in has already made the switch, visit


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    26th Nov 2013
    This is just another example of the "Gimmee" culture our society has reached.
    Why is it the Governments` responsibility to pay for everything we need, roof insulation etc etc .

    When my family moved from Western NSW to Sydney in the 40s we had no electrical appliances what ever. Why? we had never had electricity, that is why.

    No one gave us anything to "help" us yet the reason for the move was Dad had enlisted in the army, he served in France in WW, and was posted to Sydney Defence. Two brothers had enlisted in the army and my sister in the Land Army. This made it impossible for us to remain on the farm with only Mum and two young boys of 10 & 12.
    years of age.

    We survived, I do not know how as I was too young to remember or I guess to really care, Dad and Mum had always provided for us and as far as I was concerned always would and in fact always did.
    Dad was paid 6 shillings a DAY for 7 days. That is 60c a day or $4.20 per WEEK whilst in the army. Mum did what all mums did she cared for us and got a few shillings (cents) allotment to her from my brothers in the army. They did not need a lot of money in the jungle where they served so that the "Gimmee" group can say "GIMMEE"

    We never had anything but love and family closeness and real neighbours.

    My how thing have changed, to day people have everything provided and are still not happy and expect the government to supply their needs. No make that wants.

    I am a aged pensioner so I live within my means and nothing would please me more than to not have to draw the pension. Unfortunately I worked for 55 years in the era when there was no superannuation available.
    26th Nov 2013
    Set top boxes can be found for $10 and only takes a few minutes to install. Only needs the ability to read and understand instructions to do it, certainly no need for techs to come to your home to install and show you how to use it.
    26th Nov 2013
    can anyone advise if there is a indoor aerial that really works with HD digital TV, and where they can be purchased
    27th Nov 2013
    An indoor antenna is always a gamble. Pretty unlikely to succeed on digital. The picture breaks up (becomes pixilated!) or disappears altogether if the reception is not 100%. Not like the old days. Sorry.
    Andy Leucite
    26th Nov 2013
    A more useful service for the change to digital would be a scheme whereby superseded TV's can be collected (or even dropped off) for recycling. The last one I got rid of involved a trip half way across our city (Melbourne) and a significant payment to the electronics recycling centre to take it off my hands. At various times I have seen governments make claims that around switch-off time they would organise some kind of recycling scheme for the old sets, but as far as I know, this, like many other government promises, has not materialised. If any one knows any different I will be happy to be wrong if given the details.
    27th Nov 2013
    My local council came and collected my last 'big' t.v. that I had to get rid of and it was a free service. Might pay for others to check with their own local council first.
    1st Dec 2013
    The analogue free-to-air TV service is being switched off - and the frequencies are being made available (for sale) to businesses and other organisations for "in house" communications.

    These analogue frequencies provide a reliable signal (not affected by buildings, mountains etc) but the quality is not as good as digital and does not provide multi options.

    Digital signals (radio and TV) are capable of providing more options e.g. the program AND EPG (electronic program guide). Digital also provides a better picture or sound quality.

    The downside with the new terrestrial free-to-air services is that the digital signal is "line of sight" and is easily disrupted by buildings, hills, trees, and even heavy rain. The quality does not fade off - it just switches off completely.

    People living in "difficult" locations may need to connect to satellite services (free-to-air - or pay TV/radio) with advice or assistance through the Government run VAST service.

    There are some people - especially those with chronic illnesses requiring expensive medications not covered by PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) - who may simply be unable to afford a STB (Set Top Box) or whose old TV does not have the required "plugs" to be connected. They may need to obtain a new TV with modern "plugs" and inbuilt digital capability.

    Not having a working TV in this day and age is not really acceptable. Seeing that people are being forced into this change for the financial benefit of the Government, I see no reason why they should not receive free advice and assistance if necessary.
    1st Dec 2013
    Pardelope, with regards to your comment that not having a working TV in this day and age is not acceptable when are the millions around the world in third world countries going to get TV if it is so essential?

    TV is actually one of the most anti-social devices that has helped produce a self centred unneighbourly population. It has caused the demise of many entertainment ala the local Picture Theatres where people attended and at interval stood around in groups talking and being friendly.

    The local milk bars are no longer in evidence as we all sit at home in our own lounge rooms. In fact in many cases children have their own TV and watch in their bed rooms away from the parents.

    Sorry Pardelope if you feel this is a necessity then in my opinion you are well off the mark.

    As far as being the Governments responsibility I do not recall someone who owned a horse and sulky for transport being supplied with a motor car when they became available.
    1st Dec 2013
    Bofor - I am glad that you had such good experiences (of milk bars, picture theatres, and horse transport) and I am sorry that you miss these simple pleasures of the past.

    I did not say TV was "essential" i.e. necessary for life, but I do think that it can add to modern life - as well as being a negative influence in some respects if not controlled and used wisely. It is each person's right to choose to have TV - or not.

    If a person had chosen to have basic TV - it should not be arbitrarily taken from them.

    For those who are housebound and without family, their TV is often their only company and contact with the outside world.
    2nd Dec 2013
    Pardelope, your comments are welcomed and I agree to some people the TV is a lifeline to sanity however I stick by my point it is not the tax payers place to pay for the fact that the TV set is past its` use by date.
    You see even as you correctly point out I miss, in your words the "simple pleasures of the past", I do not expect the tax payer to replace these pleasures with something new.

    We are responsible for our own life and we should accept that and control our own destiny. We are all in this great country, that I swore to defend during my time in the army, in exactly the spot we have chosen.Be that poor or homeless or rich in a mansion

    We all came into this world with the same opportunities, it is how we used or misused those opportunities that have shaped our existence to-day.
    Did we choose wisely? In many cases me thinks not.

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