Static for non-digital Aucklanders

It's goodnight Kiwi for anyone who hasn't made the digital switch over.
It's goodnight Kiwi for anyone who hasn't made the digital switch over.

Auckland television viewers who haven't gone digital will see nothing but static today after New Zealand's last remaining analogue TV signal was switched off early this morning.

Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss switched off the Waiatarua TV Tower analogue transmitter at 2am today, bringing to an end a three-year nationwide digital switch-over campaign.

The switch-over was carried out over 15 months in four stages, with the upper North Island the last to make the transition.

From this morning, viewers there will only be able to watch TV if they have Freeview, Sky or Igloo.

Mr Foss said the switch-over was a significant milestone in the history of New Zealand television.

"Scheduled analogue services have been operating since the 1960s, when New Zealanders had access to just one channel for a few hours each night," he said.

"No other Government programme has required action from almost every New Zealand household since the introduction of decimal currency fifty years ago."

Mr Foss said the traditional broadcast model was changing.

"Many New Zealanders no longer rely on their television as their primary source for receiving content. Some people have decided they don't need to go digital at all, and instead choose to receive content on their computer and smartphones via the internet."

Going Digital national manager Greg Harford said not all viewers would have made the transition, but experience from other parts of the country suggested those people would go digital over the coming days.

He said Going Digital had provided support to more than 30,000 households that were likely to face the greatest financial and technical challenges in moving to digital TV.

A targeted assistance package was available to people without digital TV who were aged over 75 at the time of switch-over and held a Community Services Card.

It was also available to people on a veteran's pension or a supported living payment for health reasons, formerly known as the invalid's benefit.

People who were formerly on either of those benefits were also eligible if they had switched to superannuation at age 65 of after.

The targeted assistance package had closed in Hawkes Bay and the South Island, but remained open in the lower North Island until January 3 next year and in the upper North Island until March 1.

- APNZ

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