Sunday, September 30, 2012

Digital dawn

Overnight, the analogue TV signals in the Hawke’s Bay region of the North Island and the West Coast of the South Island were switched off. From now on, TV viewers in those regions will need to have the free-to-air Freeview or the pay TV service, Sky TV, both of which are already digital. According to the New Zealand Herald’s APNZ news service, “About 96 per cent of homes [in the affected areas] were prepared for the change.”

While Sky is satellite only, Freeview is both satellite and terrestrial. Freeview uses the same satellite as Sky, so only one rooftop dish is needed. However, at the moment only the terrestrial Freeview signal is HD (Sky is HD).

There have been plenty of ads running nationally, including some from Sky reassuring its viewers that they’re already digital. Freeview has been running ads with the slogan, “To Be Fair, It’s Got To Be Free”, which is, of course, very true (not everyone can afford pay TV, after all).

But the government has also been running ads and an information campaign though Going Digital. Clearly, it has worked.

The rest of the South Island will go digital on April 28 of next year, the Lower North Island (and rest of the East Coast of the North Island) on September 29—exactly one year from now—and the Upper North Island will be the last on December 1, 2013 (see map, above; click to embiggen).

I’ve now told you more useable information than the Herald online article did, and this is one of my main complaints with their website: They almost never link to other websites, even when, as in this case, doing so could provide readers with much-needed information. In my view, that’s indefensible.

One of the Herald’s prominent columnists recently called bloggers “parasites” for daring to comment on the work and stories of journalists. It was met with derision and mockery by bloggers who almost always link to whatever they’re talking about—driving eyes to mainstream media websites. Many journalists cheered that columnist’s childish rant (which I’m NOT linking to on principle; search for “blogger parasites” and you can find it if you really must). For the Herald to refuse to link to outside sites, even when there’s a clear public need for them to do so, is just petty and stupid—and a huge disservice to their readers. In Internet-speak, that’s known as a #FAIL.

So there you have it: A blog post with real information, links to original sources for more information AND commentary all together in one place. That’s what the digital age is supposed to offer; one day, the Herald may catch up and see the dawn, too—if they’re around long enough.

No parasites were harmed in the creation of this post.


Roger Owen Green said...

Go to Arthur at AmeriNZ for all the hard-hitting stories.

Arthur Schenck said...

Ha! But there are times I feel like the outpost on the frontier!