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New Zealand's analogue television era ends

New Zealand's last remaining analogue TV signals were closed down in the early hours of this morning, ushering Kiwi viewers into a new era of digital-only television.  To mark the event, Broadcasting Minister the Hon Craig Foss and Going Digital mascot Seymour the Digital Dog completed the shut-down process at the Waiatarua transmission site in West Auckland.

"The shut-down of analogue TV services across the Upper North Island, ends a three-year campaign to migrate viewers to digital TV services," Going Digital National Manager Greg Harford said today.  "Going digital offers viewers more channels, better pictures and new services, but also frees up radio spectrum for next-generation mobile phone and mobile broadband services, which are expected to be faster and cheaper in the long-run.

"Going Digital has run a comprehensive community outreach and marketing campaign over three years to alert viewers to changes in the way TV is broadcast," said Mr Harford.

"The nation has gone digital in four stages over the past 15 months, and from today Upper North Island viewers will only be able to watch TV if they have Freeview, Sky or Igloo.  While not all viewers have made the transition, experience from other parts of the country suggests that those who have not gone digital ahead of the deadline will do so over the coming days."

Mr Harford invited viewers to check in with family members and friends that they were still able to watch TV this morning.  "Viewers can go digital at any time by getting Freeview, Sky or Igloo and our team is available today on 0800 838 800 to assist people who need information about going digital.

"Going Digital has provided support to more than 30,000 of those households likely to face the greatest financial and technical challenges in moving to digital TV.  The Package is available to those who do not already have digital TV, and who are:

- 75 and over (at the time of switchover) with a Community Services Card; or

- receiving a Veteran's Pension;

- receiving a Supported Living Payment for Health Reasons (formerly the Invalid's Benefit); or

- former recipients of the Veteran's Pension or Invalid's Benefit who transferred to New Zealand Superannuation at age 65 or after." 

The Going Digital Targeted Assistance Package has closed in Hawke's Bay and the South Island, but remains open to eligible people in the Lower North Island until 3 January 2014 and the Upper North Island until 1 March 2014.

Mr Harford offered his thanks to everyone who had helped get the word out about digital television during the three-year campaign.  "Going Digital has worked closely with community and neighbourhood groups, as well as members of the broadcasting industry to engage with TV viewers, and I thank everyone involved for the support."

Viewers who have questions about the move to digital TV can call 0800 838 800 (7am to 9pm today, and 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday) or visit www.goingdigital.co.nz.