Surprisingly it’s a frustration shared by TV networks as well, but their hands are tied pending government legislation.
In December 2013 FreeTV Australia wrote to Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull recommending Legislative change to the Broadcast Services Act to drop the requirement that primary channels must be an SDTV service.
Julie Flynn, CEO of FreeTV Australia said the government has asked networks to respond by the end of March on the question of changes to the Broadcast Act.
“It is something we are absolutely working on and it is something we hope the government will do, but they have not yet done,” she told TV Tonight.
“They have proposed that we get rid of that restriction that we can’t do HD on the main channel.”
“This is something they could do tomorrow. Just do it. It’s bleedingly obvious.”
There are a number of issues various broadcasters and lobby groups want addressed by government surrounding deregulation, retransmission, changes to the Reach Rule, dropping licence fees, anti-siphoning, online piracy, and work visas.
Treasurer Joe Hockey recently told Cabinet that technological change was deregulating the industry far faster than any government could.
“He couldn’t have made our case more clearer for us to say ‘Get on with it.’ And licence fees are a big part of that,” says Flynn, “and (changes to) the Code is a critical part of it.”
While the government has been reluctant to initiate change unless there is industry agreement, it seems allowing primary networks to switch to HD is one that has plenty of unison.
“But we’ve been calling for it for some time, but we would like to see it sooner rather than later.”