Thousands not ready for digital TV

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Shaun Barnes, 23, has volunteered his time to Envirohub to help recycle old televisions. Photo / John Borren
Shaun Barnes, 23, has volunteered his time to Envirohub to help recycle old televisions. Photo / John Borren

Thousands of Bay of Plenty homes will be left without television when the analogue signal is switched off.

Latest figures from Going Digital show there were about 8500 Bay of Plenty homes at the end of September that were yet to install a new aerial or satellite dish and buy a new receiver before analogue broadcasts cease on December 1.

Digital television installers have been busy readying people for the change for the past month and expect to get even busier.

Mount Maunganui resident Dawn Marshall had a Freeview aerial installed ahead of the switch over for her bedroom television.

"I knew as soon as the switch over occurred I wouldn't have TV because I always get relegated to the bedroom while my husband watches westerns on Sky on the main TV," she said. The TV Guy owner/operator Alan Meyrick said he had been working until 9pm some nights picking up extra business and was considering hiring another person to help deal with the workload.

"I've been turning away jobs because there's not enough hours in the day."

Alliance TV Aerials administrator Amy Gibney said the company was flat out.

"There's certainly been a big influx of calls. We're twice as busy."

Anthony Maplesden, owner/operator of Ace Aerials and Satellite Services, said his head office in Wellington was bombarded with phone calls when the region's digital switch over happened, so he was preparing for something similar here.

One side effect of the switch over was people getting rid of their older televisions.

The Ministry for the Environment is running a TV TakeBack programme, where people can drop off their old televisions for a small fee.

Royal Wolf, who specialise in the hire and sales of shipping containers, has supplied shipping containers for the programme.

Envirohub, based at the Historic Village, has a container on its front lawn ready to house up to 300 used televisions for recycling.

Centre team leader Emma van de Molen said electronic waste was a massive problem, especially as people were getting rid of the old box sets to buy televisions with Freeview inbuilt.

"With a lot of TVs being phased out now, it makes sense for them to try to prevent them from being dumped elsewhere."

Mrs van de Molen said the televisions would be taken to Auckland where they would be dismantled and the parts would be shipped to different locations to be recycled.

The organisation had only received one television since the container was delivered on Thursday but had a number of inquiries.

Going Digital national manager Greg Harford said with 8500 homes left to go digital in the Bay of Plenty, it meant 92 per cent of homes would be ready when the switch over happened.

"We're encouraging people to get organised now because if they wait until the last minute they might be left without TV."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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