New era of television arrives

By Vomle Springford

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OUTDATED: The switchover from analogue to digital took place on Sunday, and more than 900 old TV sets have been dropped off for recycling in Wairarapa.PHOTO/FILE
OUTDATED: The switchover from analogue to digital took place on Sunday, and more than 900 old TV sets have been dropped off for recycling in Wairarapa.PHOTO/FILE

If you are seeing static on your television, chances are you need to go digital.

The digital TV switchover happened on Sunday for the lower North Island and Wairarapa residents have been steadily preparing for the switch from analogue to digital.

A spokeswoman for The Warehouse Masterton said the news of the switchover had been bringing more people into the store.

"We have had a lot of people buying new receivers and televisions. It does seem to have picked up in the last month or two."

She said people were asking a lot of questions about the change and wondering if they needed to upgrade.

"It does seem to be the older generation [asking]," she said.

Kerry Nichols of First Electronic Services, which installs Freeview across Wairarapa, said he had noticed a marked increase in calls.

"There's definitely been a lot of inquiries, a lot inquiring about what they need to go digital," said Mr Nichols.

Some just wanted advice and others realised they needed to install something, he said. "It's created a bit of interest."

He said people were generally prepared for the switchover.

"I don't think they've left it too late. People have been aware of the change. I think it's been well publicised."

The Ministry for the Environment says more than 900 TV sets have been dropped off for recycling in Wairarapa after the first month of the TV TakeBack programme.

In Masterton 512 TVs had been collected at drop-off points, 315 had been collected in South Wairarapa and 104 had been collected in Carterton to be recycled.

"The Government-subsidised TV Takeback scheme had a great start," said Jen Olson, South Wairarapa District council's resource management officer.

Staff had found a relic from the past - a "very large, heavy and awkward to manoeuvre" old Pye set believed to be from the 1960s or earlier.

While Greytown recycling station had reached its limit for free drop-offs, Featherston and Martinborough were still able to take old TVs at no charge.

Masterton has used up 48 per cent of its allocated quota, South Wairarapa has used 74 per cent and Carterton District 30 per cent in the first 30 days of the TV takeback scheme.

A total of 16,232 TVs have been collected in the lower North Island so far. Television sets contain many materials that can be recycled such as copper, precious metals and glass.

They also contain materials like lead that are hazardous to the environment and people's health if dumped in landfills or the environment. The old analogue signal has been switched off so the spectrum it was using can be freed up for other purposes such as wireless broadband, data and telecommunications services.

The digital signal carries more information than the old analogue network delivering better picture and sound quality.

You can tell you're already watching digital TV if you have an electronic programme guide, or if you can receive radio stations through your television.

Financial assistance is available if you have a working analogue TV but don't yet have Freeview, Sky, Vodafone cable TV or Igloo.

You must be either aged 75 and over with a Community Services Card; or receive a veteran's pension or invalid's benefit; or are a former veteran's pension and invalid's benefit recipient who transferred to NZ Superannuation at age 65 or over.

Visit www.goingdigital.co.nz for more information.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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