Lifestyle

High-def crap is still crap

Getting ready for the switch has added benefits
Getting ready for the switch has added benefits

ON TV there is a toothless swamp-man attempting to subjugate an innocent turtle.

But this is preferable to the other channels with sitcoms featuring charmingly dysfunctional families whose mental disorders never seem to preclude top cosmetic dental care.

TV's dearth of relevant shows (and its comedic extremes in dental hygiene) have me pondering my options in the lead-up to the big digital TV switchover.

On November 27, the Northern Rivers will switch from analog to digital TV broadcasts, requiring a set-top box or a digital video recorder (DVR) with old-style TVs. Or you can convert with a gaming console with DVR and digital tuner capabilities, such as a PS3.

My current $40 set-top box will see me through the switch, but will it save me from spending a night with a toothless turtle hunter?

While the digital revolution hasn't really revolutionised what we watch, it has revolutionised how we watch, with on-demand 'time-shifting' functionality. Time shifting is almost like having your own TV station, based entirely around your preferences, that you can watch any time you like.

Cable TV and telco subscriptions offer DVR gizmos that allow you to record and time manage your shows. Or you can buy your own DVR for from $250 to $500.

A good inexpensive option for the discriminating viewer, advises Alex Clarke of Lismore's PowerMax Computers, is a USB TV tuner which turns your computer into a TV and DVR.

"USB tuners allow you to watch free-to-air TV on your computer, record shows more easily and access the program guide. Best of all, you don't need an internet connection, and no matter how much you watch, it won't contribute to your download limit. One popular model is the Elgato eyeTV which PowerMax sells for $129," he said.

Whether you upgrade with a set-top box or DVR or ditch it for a TV-receiving computer, the good news is that going digital doesn't require a new TV.

And for $129 I can time-shift the turtle hunter out of my evening

Get ready for digital TV for cheap

  • Converting your existing analog TV to digital (not HD) may not give you all the possible benefits of digital TV, such as widescreen pictures or high definition picture and sound quality. Check first.
  • The Digital Switchover Household Assistance Scheme (HAS) can help those having trouble making the switch. The HAS provides assistance to older Australians, veterans and people with disabilities or their carers. If you are eligible, the scheme provides an HD set-top box, a demonstration and warranty for free. Visit digitalready.gov.au.
  • If you decide to watch free-to-air channels through a subscription television digital box, check with the provider in your area about the cost of a monthly subscription. Most come with a DVR, so compare this to the cost of buying your own DVR which can be up to $500.
  • According to Lismore City Council's waste operations co-ordinator, Kevin Trustum, the dumping of old lead-filled TVs has increased in the lead up to the switch. To ensure TVs are recycled safely they need to be sent to your council's waste and recycling centre. Dumping a TV attracts a $1500 on-the-spot fine.



Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Poll results show break-ins are more common than not

The damage to Sasha Parkinson's car caused during a crime spree in Ballina.

Ballina residents are fighting back against growing crime problem

Is it the end of the five cent coin cluttering our wallets?

Brad Fitzgibbon with 5 cent pieces. Photo: Bev Lacey/The Chronicle

Tonight's budget may see the end of the five cent piece

Go ga-ga over orchids at Ballina show on Mother’s Day

Orchids come in many beautiful varieties and last well in a vase.

Ballina and District Orchid Society’s Autumn Show on this weekend.

Latest deals and offers

ACF take Minister to Court

ACF chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy

The Australian Conservation Foundation go to court to stop Carmichael mine.

Dash Cam: Roo takes on car

Kangaroo leaps car.

Kangaroo could have kept going, jumps car instead.

CCTV FOOTAGE: This man may have important information about a fatal crash

CCTV images thumbnail

POLICE need help finding the man in this video as he may be able to assist with...

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog

10 ‘must-see’ open homes on the Northern Rivers this weekend

McGrath Ballina have listed this home at 19 Stonehenge Place, Lennox Head.

Looking for a new home? Then check out this list.

VIDEO: Art Deco fan pays $835,000 for Imperial Hotel

No Caption

Iconic "Impy" sold at a bargan price to bidder who loves Art Deco.