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Static TV looms for 47,000 South Islanders

Tuesday 23 Apr 2013 10:16 a.m.

Sunday marks the end of analogue TV for the South Island (file)

Sunday marks the end of analogue TV for the South Island (file)

While hundreds of thousands tuned in on Sunday night to watch aspiring artists sing their hearts out on X Factor, almost 50,000 South Island homes may be faced with noise of another kind - white noise.

Sunday marks the end of analogue TV for the South Island, but the latest figures show around 10 percent of households have not yet made the move.

That means when around 47,000 households turn on their TV on Sunday morning, all they will see is static.

But Going Digital, the government agency responsible for publicising the switchover, says it expects a last minute rush to buy set top boxes, new televisions and to book installers will reduce that number.

National manager Greg Harford said late purchases experienced during last year's Hawke's Bay and the West Coast switch would likely occur again.

"People did wait until the last minute and then went out and got themselves sorted," he told NZ Newswire.

"Anecdotally, we've certainly heard that retailers and installers are very busy.

"We're expecting that by the end of the weekend ... we'll have something like 96 percent of homes will have gone digital."

But Mr Harford warned households that had put off organising their switch that they could miss out.

"We're optimistic that it will go smoothly although there will probably be people who are left waiting if they didn't get to booking an installer early enough."

Broadcasting minister Craig Foss urged all South Island residents to switch, saying households did not have to buy a new TV to go digital.

"Watching digital TV means better picture and sound quality as well as a greater choice of channels," he said.

To go digital most people would need some new equipment such as the right set-top box or TV with Freeview built in together with a UHF aerial or satellite dish.

Around 450,000 South Islanders have already made the switch to digital.

NZN

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