Sunday, May 28, 2006

Australia TV meets HDTV 2005 Program Quota

Canberra -- In Australia, all television broadcasters, except TND Darwin, reported that they met their quota requirements for the broadcast of high definition (HDTV programs on their digital services in 2005. That is the report from the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA).

The HDTV quota (1040 hours per year, calculated on a pro rata basis where required) was introduced for all national and commercial TV broadcasters as part of the conversion from analog to digital transmission that is currently underway in Australia. Digital services allow broadcasters to provide significantly enhanced picture clarity and quality, through the production of programs in high definition quality video. In order to ensure that viewers receive the benefits of the new technology, a quota for high definition programs has been introduced progressively, to begin two years after a broadcaster commences broadcasting in digital mode in its area.

Prime-time programs in high definition in 2005, included locally HDTV produced, ABC's Law and Order; Ten Network's Criminal Intent, Seven Network's Grey’s Anatomy and Nine Network's The Alice.

The ABC and the SBS are permitted to ‘up-convert’ their analog or standard definition (SD) digital programs to high definition (HD) digital format.

All regional areas are in HDTV broadcasts, apart from the the digital-only services in Tasmania and Mildura. TDT Tasmania will start September 2006 and MDV Mildura in January 2008.

Meanwhile the ACMA reports that all but one of the metropolitan commercial television licensees reported that they met the Australian transmission quota and content requirements of the Australian Content Standard and Children’s Television Standards (CTS) in 2005. The exception was Nine Network's QTQ Brisbane, which fell short of the pre-school program (P) quota, broadcasting only 129.5 hours rather than 130 hours. The full media release can be viewed at http:// www.acma.gov.au/ACMAINTER:STANDARD::pc=PC_100590

[HDTV in Australia Backgrounder]

On 1 January 2001, all commercial and national television broadcasters in the mainland capital cities were required to begin transmitting their services in standard definition digital mode, simultaneously with their analog services. On 1 July 2003, the obligation to broadcast a minimum of 1040 hours per year of high definition programs commenced for these services.

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