Australia to launch Freeview service

Australia's free-to-air commercial television networks together with the nation's public broadcasters have announced the establishment of an Australian version of Freeview.

A consortium has been formed to help drive take-up of the free-to-air digital television platform.

Freeview shareholders include the ABC, SBS, the Seven Network, the Nine Network, Network Ten, Prime, WIN and Southern Cross. The ABC's Director of Television, Kim Dalton, will Chair the not-for-profit organisation.

Mr Dalton said: "This is an extraordinary step forward for the free-to-air broadcasters. Together we have pioneered digital television in Australia, investing millions in infrastructure and converting our equipment and studios accordingly. Now it's time for Australians to reap the rewards; Freeview will offer viewers more channels, great content and the very best quality picture and sound."

From next year, free-to-air networks will broadcast an additional standard definition (SD) channel each, in addition to their primary SD channels, and their recently added high definition (HD) channels.

Freeview will host a total of 15 channels under its name and will be launching an awareness campaign to ensure consumers are ready for when the full suite of channels are available next year.

Ahead of the launch, Freeview is working with manufacturers to ensure appropriate technical standards are met on all television or digital set-top-box equipment that will carry the Freeview badge.

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