Freeview Passes First Test But With A Few Hiccups

New digital TV service, Freeview, has both its critics and its champions, and last weekend it had its first big test with the running of the Formula 1 Grand Prix out of Melbourne. According to Channel 10 it was a rousing success, with their new HD Sports channel coming through with flying colours. Yet, not all viewers were happy, especially those who live outside of the main centres not being able to get adequate coverage. There were also some hints that the signal dropped out on occasion.

So what is Freeview and what does it mean to you? The new service will encompass the five free-to-air channels having three digital channels each. This means the end of the old analogue service, but not your analogue television. In order to access the service you will have to do one of the following: purchase an HD set-top box to work with analogue televisions; buy an integrated HD digital television; or get hold of an HD PVR/DVR. Be aware that some of the old PVRs, like the Foxtel IQ, are not HD so will not pick up the signal.

The service comes as both Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) and will be rolled out over the states within the next couple of years. Overnight your free-to-air viewing options will triple. However, there are concerns that the quality of the content might be diluted – are there enough programmes of sufficient quality to fill 15 channels? And with the current economic climate, will the channels be able to afford the content?

Tell us your thoughts? Were you happy with the coverage? Are you ready for Freeview?