Lax viewers risk drawing digital blank

By Anne-Marie Emerson

Wanganui-Manawatu residents appear to be embracing digital technology ahead of the switch to digital television.

The region will go digital on September 29 this year, and research by the Government's public information campaign, Going Digital, shows that 95 per cent of the region's residents are ready for digital, compared to the national average of 91 per cent. Figures were not available for Wanganui alone.

However, Going Digital national manager Greg Hartford said about 8000 televisions in the region would not work come September 29.

After that date, everyone in Wanganui and Manawatu who wants to watch television will need Freeview, Sky or Igloo, because analogue services will be switched off, Mr Hartford said.

"I'm recommending people take action now to go digital.

When Hawke's Bay went digital last year there were people who waited until the last minute and then had to go without TV for a time because installers were fully booked," he said.

Every television must go digital to continue receiving pictures, as did DVD and video players.

"You don't need a new TV to go digital, but everyone will need a TV with Freeview built-in or the right set-top box, together with a UHF aerial or satellite dish."

Hawke's Bay and the West Coast were the first in New Zealand to go digital, last September. Mr Hartford said it was "a bit of a concern" that more than 8000 Wanganui-Manawatu homes were still unprepared..

Going Digital has appointed a community adviser to assist with the transition period. Robin Winter is working with community and service groups in Wanganui.

For more information on going digital, phone 0800 838 800 or visit

- Wanganui Chronicle

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