Australian and New Zealand television frequencies

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Australia and New Zealand started domestic television broadcasting at different times with different sets of financial and logistical constraints for all the parties involved.

There was no real coordination between the national spectrum management authorities to harmonize the channel locations and spectrum use.

In the Analogue television era, Australia used A2 for Television Stereo transmission while NZ used NICAM Digital Stereo.

To this day, there is a frequency offset for many DTV channels between Australia and NZ. On top of this, the Australian and NZ DTV standards use different Audio Codecs -- a bane an annoyance to the TV DXer.

However, the Audio transmission issues are only a modest aspect of the differences that have evolved over the past 50 years of television transmission in Australasia.

Differences in Terrestrial TV frequencies[edit]

The important differences[edit]

Australia and New Zealand evolved different TV frequency allocations for historically different reasons

  • Both Australia and New Zealand use 7 MHz channel spacing (PAL B) on VHF, but the frequencies and channel numbers differ even more substantially now because of Australia revising its VHF TV band usage.
  • Australia adopted Zweiton stereo, and NZ adopted NICAM stereo.
  • For analog PAL service the only difference is the placement of the NICAM carrier vs the Zweiton carrier, for broadcasters using NICAM. NZ however uses its own special NICAM offset that is not used in Europe, while Australia's Zweiton(?) service is unchanged.

Important similarities[edit]

  • Except for a channel offset factor for Australia: Australia, NZ, Fiji and PNG have the same UHF band allocation for TV broadcasting.

What led to the differences[edit]

What are the important underlining circumstances that led to the different allocations?

  • Universally the VHF low band channels of 0, 1, 2 and 3 were allocated on an ad hoc basis in Australia and NZ without any trans-Tasman coordination.
  • Australia decided against adopting the 405 line system, and indirectly forbade its experimental transmission in the VHF band until the 625 line system could be launched.
  • Only after AU-VHF-6 was allocated did NZ adopt the same VHF high band allocations as Australia.
  • There never have been any ongoing attempts at coordination of TV allocations in Australasia until the 1990s.
  • Australia adopted 7 MHz channel spacing (PAL B) on UHF as the 8 MHz allocation associated with later versions of PAL and SECAM had not emerged.
  • New Zealand considered using 405 lines for television, but adopted 7 MHz 625 lines on both the VHF low band and high band. New Zealand's initial choice of frequencies in the VHF range (CH: 1, 2, 3) was done on an ad hoc basis. The ad hoc allocations in the VHF low band immediately led to substantial discrepancies with Australia's VHF TV service allocation for channels allocated before AU-VHF-6.
  • The NZ 405 line allocation principal only affects NZ VHF CH1, CH2 and CH3.
  • Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand all adopted 8 MHz channel spacing (PAL G) on UHF more or less in unison due to their later adoption of PAL.

Obsolete channels[edit]

Australia[edit]

Channel obsolescence related to DVB-T transition

With the introduction of Digital Television in Australia VHF channels 6-12 and UHF 28-69 will become primary.

Modified channels (2001–2004)

  • With the introduction of digital television into Australia in 2001, VHF (Band III) channels 10 and 11 were moved up by 1 MHz.
    • This allocation change allowed a full 7 MHz for a new channel (9A).
    • VHF channel 12 was added following the new channel 11 to compensate for the change.

Obsolete channels (2011–2013)

  • VHF (Band I & II) channels 0-2 and 5A will cease to be used for television when analogue television broadcasting ceases.
  • Channels 0, 1 and 2 will be specifically be phased out as they are not suitable for digital television due to Radio Frequency Interference issues.
  • Television broadcasts on channels 3, 4, and 5 were discontinued in most regional areas in 1991 and 1992. Since the frequencies for these channels overlapped the range used for FM radio, any television broadcasts on these channels prevented the allocation of new FM radio licences, predominantly in regional areas.

Other impacts

  • VHF Low Band DX using ITU TV Band (I) and part of Band (III) from NZ may disappear with the transition to DVB-T.

NZ[edit]

Channel obsolescence issued related to DVB-T transition

  • Channels 1, 2, and 3 may be made obsolete with the adoption of DVB-T, but this may not occur until 2015.
  • VHF Low Band DX to and from Australia may disappear with the transition to DVB-T.

Australasian region VHF low band obsolescence issues[edit]

In some parts of the world, like Europe, the VHF TV band is used by other services because UHF has propagation qualities that are better suited for densely populated urban centres and regions.

Why VHF will remain in use in Australasia for TV broadcasting

  • NZ will keep using the VHF band, as VHF has propagation characteristics that allow it to serve large regions with modest power requirements.
  • However, some of the NZ and Australian VHF low band channels [(0 Australia only)), 1, 2, 3] and [4, 5A Australia only] may be reallocated to bring the region into line with a more common VHF high band allocation scheme.
  • Due to similar economics of broadcasting in rural Australia, it is expected that the VHF high band (above 5A) will remain in use with no appreciable changes.
  • With the introduction of Digital Television in Australia (using channels VHF 6-12 and UHF 28-69), VHF channels 0-5A will cease to be used for television when analogue television broadcasting ceases.

Channel numbering issues[edit]

Currently neither Australia, New Zealand, Fiji nor Papua New Guinea intend to normalize the numbers in the channel frequency table.

Frequency allocation table[edit]

DVB-T channel allocation note

  • The allocation for terrestrial television must be seen in terms of uniform system G 8 MHz blocks (for bands IV and V in NZ) and system B 7 MHz blocks (for bands I to V in Australia) after the cessation of analogue television.
  • DVB-T, analogue systems B and G utilize the same 250 kHz guard-band.
  • After analogue television transmissions have ceased, only the preferred main carrier wave centre frequency should be listed as QAM modulates all AV channels and other data into a single H.222 data stream.
  • Some current digital services are going to change channel after the analog services are switched off. The ACMA has published the pre-stack and post-stack channel in a spreadsheet on its website.
  • Australian channel 12 was discontinued decades ago but is being reintroduced with digital television, generally for the ABC.
  • A common problem of having difficulty receiving digital 10 (on channel 11) and digital ABC (on channel 12) is because the antenna was not designed to receive channels 11 and 12. Many VHF Band III antennas were only designed to receive channels 6 to 10 for analog television transmissions.[1]
  • Australia and New Zealand analog sub-carriers use the standard B/G offsets from the vision carrier.
    • PAL color difference at +4.43361875 MHz
    • FM monaural full mixed down channel audio at +5.5 MHz
    • New Zealand (non-standard offset) NICAM stereo or dual monaural at +5.7421875 MHz
    • Australian A2 Stereo right or second monaural channel at +5.742 MHz (AM signalling at +5.46875 MHz)
RF
Range
RF
Band
RF
Channel
Australia New Zealand
QAM
Centre
MHz
Vision
Carrier MHz
FM Mono Audio
Sub-Carrier MHz
QAM
Centre
MHz
Vision
Carrier MHz
FM Mono Audio
Sub-Carrier MHz
VHF Band I 0 48.5 46.25 51.75 45.25 50.75
1 59.5 57.25 62.75 55.25 60.75
2 66.5 64.25 69.75 62.25 67.75
Band II 3 88.5 86.25 91.75
4 97.5 95.25 100.75
5 104.5 102.25 107.75
5A 140.5 138.25 143.75
Band III 6 177.5 175.25 180.75 175.25 180.75
7 184.5 182.25 187.75 182.25 187.75
8 191.5 189.25 194.75 189.25 194.75
9 198.5 196.25 201.75 196.25 201.75
9A 205.5 203.25 208.75 203.25 208.75
10 212.5 210.25 215.75 210.25 215.75
11[1] 219.5 217.25 222.75 217.25 222.75
12[1] 226.5 224.25 229.75 224.25 229.75
UHF Band IV 25 506.00 503.25 508.75
26 514.00 511.25 516.75
27 522.00 519.25 524.75
28 529.5 527.25 532.75 530.00 527.25 532.75
29 536.5 534.25 539.75 538.00 535.25 540.75
30 543.5 541.25 546.75 546.00 543.25 548.75
31 550.5 548.25 553.75 554.00 551.25 556.75
32 557.5 555.25 560.75 562.00 559.25 564.75
33 564.5 562.25 567.75 570.00 567.25 572.75
34 571.5 569.25 574.75 578.00 575.25 580.75
35 578.5 576.25 581.75 586.00 583.25 588.75
Band V 36 585.5 583.25 588.75 594.00 591.25 596.75
37 592.5 590.25 595.75 602.00 599.25 602.75
38 599.5 597.25 602.75 610.00 607.25 612.75
39 606.5 604.25 609.75 618.00 615.25 620.75
40 613.5 611.25 616.75 626.00 623.25 628.75
41 620.5 618.25 623.75 634.00 631.25 636.75
42 627.5 625.25 630.75 642.00 639.25 644.75
43 634.5 632.25 637.75 650.00 647.25 652.75
44 641.5 639.25 644.75 658.00 655.25 660.75
45 648.5 646.25 651.75 666.00 663.25 668.75
46 655.5 653.25 658.75 674.00 671.25 676.75
47 662.5 660.25 665.75 682.00 679.25 684.75
48 669.5 667.25 672.75 690.00 687.25 692.75
49 676.5 674.25 679.75 698.00 695.25 700.75
50 683.5 681.25 686.75 703.25 708.75
51 690.5 688.25 693.75 711.25 716.75
52 697.5 695.25 700.75 719.25 724.75
53 704.5 702.25 707.75 727.25 732.75
54 711.5 709.25 714.75 735.25 740.75
55 718.5 716.25 721.75 743.25 748.75
56 725.5 723.25 728.75 751.25 756.75
57 732.5 730.25 735.75 759.25 764.75
58 739.5 737.25 742.75 767.25 772.75
59 746.5 744.25 749.75 775.25 780.75
60 753.5 751.25 756.75 783.25 788.75
61 760.5 758.25 763.75 791.25 796.75
62 767.5 765.25 770.75 799.25 804.75
63 774.5 772.25 777.75
64 781.5 779.25 784.75
65 788.5 786.25 791.75
66 795.5 793.25 798.75
67 802.5 800.25 805.75
68 809.5 807.25 812.75
69 816.5 814.25 819.75

Current Australian Channel Allocation by State/Territory as at 1 December 2013[edit]

The following tables demonstrate the number of frequency allocations in each state and territory of mainland Australia and now the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island. Australia has completed the shut down of analogue services across the country, and digital frequencies occurring above UHF channel 51 will again be reallocated to lower adjacent channels over the coming months to free up the higher spectrum for other uses.


  • The external territories include the Cocos Islands and Christmas Island.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Digital television services on Channel 12". Australian Government. August 2012. 
  2. ^ "List of licensed broadcasting transmitters". ACMA. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 

External links[edit]

New Zealand

Australia