Freeview (New Zealand)
|Type||Digital television provider|
|Headquarters||Auckland City, New Zealand|
Freeview is a non-profit organisation providing free-to-air digital television and digital radio to New Zealand. The organisation is a joint venture between the country's major free to air broadcasters – government owned Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand, government subsidised Māori Television, and the Australian owned Ironbridge Capital company MediaWorks New Zealand (operators of TV3, FOUR and C4). The Freeview service consists of a high definition-capable digital terrestrial television service, called Freeview|HD, to around 86% of the population in the major urban and provincial centres of New Zealand, and a standard definition digital satellite television service, called Freeview Satellite, covering the whole of mainland New Zealand and the major offshore islands. Freeview uses the DVB-S and DVB-T standards on government provided spectrum.
The Freeview service started in May 2007, introducing free-to-air digital television to the country and preparing for analogue switchoff, which began on 30 September 2012 and was completed on 1 December 2013a. In July 2012, it was estimated that 84% of New Zealand households have at least one digitally equipped television set, with Freeview making up approximately 45% of the digital television share.
Freeview-certified set-top boxes and IDTVs, as well as PVRs, are available at most major New Zealand retailers. Uncertified equipment can also be used to receive the service, which may have advantages (cheaper, extra features, international channels) and disadvantages (no/limited EPG, no auto-retuning) over certified equipment.
- 1 History
- 2 Services
- 2.1 Virtual channels
- 2.2 Metadata
- 2.3 Distribution
- 3 Defunct channels
- 4 Other broadcasters
- 5 Quality
- 6 Technology
- 7 Finance
- 8 Competition
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
It was announced on 15 June 2006 that Freeview's free-to-air digital TV service would be available via satellite (DVB-S) from mid-2007 and terrestrial transmissions (DVB-T) from mid-2008. Freeview's marketing campaign began on 23 April 2007 through a website and four TV advertisements shown on Freeview's shareholders' TV channels, using the slogan "Make bad reception a thing of the past", showing people using proverbial substitutes for rabbit ears for receiving TV reception. Since 2012, Māori comedian Pio Terei has been the advertising face of Freeview.
Freeview's satellite service began on 2 May 2007. Initially, there were five television channels: TV One, TV2, TV3, C4, and Māori Television. Freeview's first digital-only channel, TVNZ Sport Extra temporary channel from TVNZ, began on 18 May 2007, providing coverage of the V8 Supercar racing. The channel has since ceased broadcasting.
The Freeview terrestrial service, named Freeview|HD, officially launched on 14 April 2008. The service was initially only served from Kordia sites for areas surrounding Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier-Hastings, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. JDA sites were upgraded later with DVB-T QAM modulating multiplexers for non-metro areas.
Higher priority (bit rate) nationwide
Lower priority (bit rate) nationwide
- Terrestrial coverage is limited to Kordia sites in Auckland, Waikato, Tauranga, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu, Kapiti, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin
Higher priority nationwide radio
Lower priority nationwide radio
Local independent non-Freeview terrestrial only
- Due to the lack of a well defined numbering system (administrated and encoded by TVNZ), the digital terrestrial Christchurch only Kordia service CTV falls into the 40 to 49 range, even though there are unused numbers in the 30 - 39 range and the Cue TV digital terrestrial Invercargill only service (which started after the nationwide satellite service), uses the 20 to 29 range on both platforms.
- Formerly on UHF-50 (706 MHz), these channels were forced off this frequency on 1 December 2013. These channels will return early 2014 with a infill for the far northern Auckland community close to the Whangaparaoa Peninsula on UHF-26 (514 MHz). DTV channels above 698 MHz should never have been allocated due to the planned reallocation of the 700 MHz spectrum for cellular network expanded capacity.
MHEG-5 non-broadcast streaming
Freeview has its own eight-day electronic programme guide (EPG), named Freeview EPG; TVNZ's Teletext service was also available until it was discontinued in April 2013. The EPG via the satellite service provides an eight-day schedule with programme details on both a traditional EIT and MHEG-5 application, whereas the EPG via the terrestrial service has limited programme details via the traditional EIT with full details available only via the MHEG-5 application.
For all certified NZ Freeview (also all Australian "Freeview EPG" branded) receivers to activate the MHEG-5 EPG, the receiver must remap the remote control's guide button to be an extended function key for use by MHEG-5 applications which are normally limited to the four coloured buttons for launching functions. This is more common on terrestrial than on satellite due to the differences in launch dates. Receivers that do this make the traditional EIT function useless, which is why independent local broadcasters (such as the Hawke's Bay's TVHB) have to pay Freeview to include their scheduling details within the Freeview guide. Broadcasters within the UK do not have this problem as they only use the traditional EIT with MHEG-5's use limited to interactive services such as the Red Button Teletext replacement and internet streaming services.
The assigned identifiers managed by TVNZ and Kordia on behalf of Freeview are as follows:
H.222 Program IDs (aka Service IDs)
- 10xx - TVNZ provided satellite channels
- 12xx - TVNZ provided terrestrial channels
- 13xx - MediaWorks provided terrestrial channels
- 14xx - Kordia/JDA provided terrestrial channels
- 15xx - Sky Network Television provided terrestrial channels
- 19xx - All other provided satellite channels
H.222 Transport IDs
- 21 for the MediaWorks leased satellite service
- 22 for the TVNZ leased satellite service
- 23 - 24 are reserved for future operated satellite services
- 25 for the TVNZ operated Auckland terrestrial service
- 26 for the TVNZ operated Waikato/Bay of Plenty terrestrial service
- 27 for the TVNZ operated Wellington terrestrial service
- 28 for the TVNZ operated South Island terrestrial service
- 29 for the MediaWorks operated Auckland terrestrial service
- 30 for the MediaWorks operated Waikato/Bay of Plenty terrestrial service
- 31 for the MediaWorks operated Wellington terrestrial service
- 32 for the MediaWorks operated South Island terrestrial service
- 33 for the Kordia operated terrestrial service
- 34 - 36 are reserved for future Kordia operated terrestrial services
- 37 for the Sky Network Television operated terrestrial service
- 38 for an independently operated terrestrial service
DVB Transmission Network ID for the terrestrial service is 13313 and for the satellite service is 47.
DVB Original (content) Network ID for the terrestrial service is 8746 and for the satellite service is 47.
DVB-T Cell ID used by the Kordia operated terrestrial service for filtering channels by transmitter site:
This is a five digit number with the first digit identifying the multiplexed transport, the next two identify the region with the final two specifying the region's transmitter site.
For the satellite service (up-linked from the Avalon studios in Lower Hutt), up to 18 channels will be available, with six each assigned to TVNZ and MediaWorks frequencies, and the balance to other networks. Given that TVNZ's and MediaWorks's current free-to-air channels will be available on Freeview, there will be eight extra channels in total, between the two.
Services (taken from AsiaSat 3S @ 105 east) that were available before the Freeview launch on satellite were Zing channels ZEE TV, Cinema, News and Punjabi, BHARAT TV, Al Jazeera Arabic and English channels, DWTV, TV5 and VOA.
The Freeview|HD Demo terrestrial channel 100 was removed to free up space for various SD channels.
The TVNZ Sport Extra channel 20 was temporarily provided for the 2008 Olympics, the space on DVB-S was later used by a regional version of TV One.
The Auckland based STRATOS channel 21 was discontinued due to service fee increases that occurred when its ratings increased, it was later replaced by ChoiceTV.
TVNZ 6 and 7 were discontinued due to the government-provided funding coming to an end and were respectively, replaced by U and an hour delay of TV One. TVNZ U was replaced by an hour delay of TV2 in 2013.
Freeview will be open to other free-to-air broadcasters if they want to join.
According to Kordia there is space for approximately only 20 channels on the two satellite transponders that Freeview leases as of 2011[update]. However at 22.5 MBd with a FEC of 3/4 one 23 MHz frequency can only accommodate either six SD 4:3 H.262 QPSK channels or four HD 16:9 H.264 8PSK channels while maintaining an optimal bit rate.
Satellite transmissions are broadcast in 576i, but the satellite transponder is high-definition capable. Terrestrial transmissions can be broadcast in high definition, and the government lets the broadcasters decide whether to broadcast in high definition or to continue in standard definition.
Freeview satellite broadcasts have declined in quality since the service launched as TV one and TV 3 are now being broadcast many times to provide region-specific advertisements; this reduces the bandwidth available to other channels on that frequency.
The TVNZ frequency currently has 8 SD channels while the MediaWorks one has 12 TV channels and 5 radio channels.
UHF terrestrial broadcasting using DVB-T MPEG4 (also known as DVB-T HD), and currently covers 86 percent of the country's population. Only three towns with a population over 15,000 do not have terrestrial service – Queenstown, Whakatane, and Blenheim (the latter two towns can receive the service from Tauranga and Wellington respectively, but the signal is weak). Freeview's terrestrial transmissions are broadcast from Kordia's and JDA's transmitter towers.
Freeview uses the DVB-T standard for terrestrial transmission, as established in 2001 with NZS6610:2001, to avoid the multipath problem caused by New Zealand's rugged topography. ATSC, a rival standard that uses VSB modulation, which cannot handle multipath well, so it was not chosen.
Terrestrial Freeview|HD is broadcast in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. This meant that people who took part in the Auckland digital trial using terrestrial DVB-T MPEG2 receivers needed to change their receivers to DVB-T MPEG4 in order to receive terrestrial Freeview. DVB-T MPEG4 is also known in some countries as DVB-T HD. MHEG-5 is used for the electronic programming guide.
MHEG-5 support is built by the UK's Strategy and Technology who provided the similar applications for the BBC's Red Button and terrestrial internet streaming platform.
Freeview Satellite uses the Optus D1 satellite to broadcast, on two transponders, leased from Kordia. The satellite transmissions are in DVB-S MPEG2. Freeview cannot easily move to MPEG4 broadcasting in the future as the codec is unsupported by a large number of the receivers in the installed base of Freeview Satellite receivers. Unlike the terrestrial service, the satellite service broadcasts a traditional EPG alongside the MHEG-5 EPG.
Freeview certifies set-top boxes but does not sell them; they are marketed by electronics retailers. Freeview certification centres the localisation of multimedia data, primarily for the electronic programming guide (EPG). This data is broadcast over DVB using the MHEG-5 standard. At the moment this is only used to transmit EPG data.
MyFreeview certification of digital video recorders is similar to Freeview certification, but also includes eliminating any practical forward cuing that could be used to skip over commercial advertising when playing back recordings and restricts easy access to the recorded files. These files have restrictions such as not being able to be transferred and impose a time-limit on playback. As of May 2012, there are currently two certified MyFreeview Satellite receivers available, which are from the New Zealand based Dish TV company.
MHEG-5 is used exclusively for a full 8-day terrestrial broadcast schedule as Freeview do not fully populate the DVB EIT EPG, this means there are few uncertified terrestrial receivers on the market able to run the MHEG-5 Freeview EPG application. An uncertified terrestrial DVR would have to know the specific files to extract from the DSM-CC stream to support a full EPG.
Freeview certification requires set-top boxes to disallow high definition video output over connections that do not support HDCP. In practice this means nearly all HD CRT televisions sold in New Zealand and many early flat screen televisions can only receive high definition from an uncertified set-top box, which can output high definition over HDCP-free connections like component cables or on HDMI without HDCP.
Digital TV Labs, is an Officially Approved Test Centre for Freeview New Zealand conformance testing, where manufacturers wishing to deploy devices with the associated Freeview New Zealand logos and access to the Freeview EPG can obtain pass reports.
There are also many non-certified options are available. These and other uncertified receivers have no limit on forward cuing nor restrict access to the recorded files. They can also receive any other available non-freeview channel.
Kordia owned sites are on mostly crown-owned DOC land providing TV and radio digital services to only Freeview and Igloo, whereas JDA equipped sites are only on commercial land. Shared sites such as Auckland's Sky Tower have the advantage of not requiring a separate antenna unlike Nelson's Mainland TV which is located between sites. In the Wairarapa and Southland, JDA's Popoiti and Forest Hill transmitters were used rather than Kordia's Otahoua and Hedgehope transmitters which had previously been used for UHF transmitters, necessitating viewers in these regions to rotate their outdoor antennas.
Polarisation (i.e., antenna orientation) is either horizontal/flat (H) or vertical/tall (V).
High-power main sites operated by Kordia are Waiatarua (H) for the Auckland metropolitan area (including Pukekohe), Te Aroha (H) for the Waikato, Kopukairua (V) for Tauranga, Mount Erin (V) for the Hawke's Bay, Mount Taranaki (H) for Taranaki, Wharite (V) for the Manawatu, Ngarara (V) for Kapiti, Kaukau for the Wellington (H) metropolitan area, Baxters Knob (H) for Porirua and Tawa, and Fitzherbert (V) for Lower Hutt and Wainuiomata.
High-power main sites run by JDA are Pukepoto (V) for Rotorua, Whakaroa (V) for Taupo and Popoiti (H) for the Wairarapa, Mount Campbell (V) for Nelson, Cave Hill (V) for Timaru and Forest Hill (V) for Invercargill.
Low-power sites run by Kordia are Pinehill (H) for Auckland's North Shore, Remuera (V) for the Remuera area, Waiheke Island (V) for the eponymous island, Hamilton Tower (V) for Hamilton city, Napier Airport (V) for northern Napier and Mount Jowett (H) for Whanganui.
Freeview is the second digital TV system attempted by the government. The first, in 2000, cost NZ$6.8 million.
The government will pay up to NZ$25 million and provide free radio spectrum, estimated to be worth up to NZ$10 million during the transition to digital; the companies involved will pay the remaining $50 million. Canterbury TV estimates it will need to pay NZ$1 million a year if it joins Freeview. The government claims a NZ$230 million benefit to the economy.
SKY had a "free-to-air" package where channels similar to the ones available on Freeview were available for a monthly fee of NZ$18.29, plus an installation fee of NZ$99. Around 90,000 people use this service, generally those who cannot get a high quality signal from analogue terrestrial television. SKY has been relatively unaffected. Because both services use Optus D1, a SKY dish can be used to receive Freeview, but a separate set-top box is required.
- Television in New Zealand
- List of television stations in New Zealand
- Digital changeover dates in New Zealand
- ^a The actual final switchoff will occur in the early hours (2:00am) of Sunday 1 December 2013.
- Coleman, Jonathan (10 June 2011). "Digital switchover dates confirmed – beehive.co.nz". New Zealand Government.
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- "IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR TV3, FOUR, TV3+1 AND C4 VIEWERS USING FREEVIEW". Mediaworks New Zealand. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- "Freeview Channel Guide". Freeview. October 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
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- "News". Retrieved 9 November 2011.
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- "Transmission Platforms". Digital Television Discussion Document 2001. Retrieved 2006-07-07.
- Pullar-Strecker, Tom (24 July 2006). "Sky watches broadband move". Stuff.
- "Freeview coverage". Retrieved 25 September 2012.
- "Free-to-air digital TV to begin roll-out" (Press release). New Zealand Government. 15 June 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-15.
- "Alt TV changes its tune (yay)". The New Zealand Herald. 2 August 2007.
- "Can I temporarily disconnect SKY when I'm away on holiday?". Sky TV frequently asked questions. Retrieved 2006-06-20.[dead link]
- Trevett, Claire (15 June 2006). "18 TV channels and it's all free". NZ Herald.
- Poland, Owen (Reporter) (2006). Freeview TV to hit Sky hard (TV-News). TV ONE.
- "TV viewers may need two boxes". Stuff. 3 July 2006.
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