The Government May Make Digital TV Switch Free For Poor And Elderly

Come December 31st, 2013, people like you and me can expect quite a few tech support calls from family and friends. Because that’s when the last analog TV transmission will be switched off, moving us into a glorious age of digital-only TV entertainment.

But what about all the people out there who don’t know a tech-savvy young person to make their TV work? How will they cope with plugging in a digital set-top box to their old analog CRT TV? Apparently, only 42 per cent of households have a digital-ready TV in the house.

Fortunately, the Government understands that there are people who won’t be able to upgrade to digital because they are either a) Unable to understand the potentially confusing cabling between a STB and a TV; or b) Too poor to be able to afford the purchase of a digital set-top box.Considering how the US has planned their digital TV switchover (they’re flicking a switch in February for the whole country), the government’s plan to hold the hands of the elderly and poor is a good approach to the changeover, as is the process of switching region by region. And really, free STB units should be available to anyone who wants them if you’re forcing people to switch from a service that there’s technically nothing wrong with.

But despite the positives in looking after Joe Public with this switchover, there was one quote from Senator Conroy in the SMH article that concerns me:

“The concern I have is that I’ve tested this myself to find out how easy it is to install a set-top box if you are not very technically literate. I’ve got to tell you it’s not that easy.”

Maybe I’m just so pissed off with Conroy over his whole internet filter scheme that I’m looking for excuses to rip into him, but surely as our government representative for the technology sector the guy should be able to plug in a set-top box to a TV…