Seven to switch Olympics to HD


EXCLUSIVE: It’s the news Sports fans have been waiting for.

Seven will screen Olympics coverage in High Definition in all 5 metro cities, including Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

Currently screening HD content on Channel 70, Seven’s playout differs according to statelines.

In Melbourne & Adelaide Ch.70 mirrors the primary channel, but in Sydney, Brisbane & Perth it is a 7mate signal -due to Seven’s AFL commitments.

For the duration of the games, Ch 70 will mirror the primary channel in all 5 cities, meaning premium events will be in HD.

“It will be the Seven channel nationally,” Head of Sport Saul Shtein confirmed to TV Tonight.

“When we have something like the Olympics, we’ll flick it across.”

The change is expected to take effect from midnight on Friday, August 5, just ahead of  the Opening Ceremony on Saturday morning.

It is planned to continue for the duration of the Games before reverting to the current split market programming at midnight on Monday, August 22.


  1. They need to just make it a 7HD channel of its own – follow 7’s primary channel normally, but sport & big events can be on 7Two/7Mate and 7HD.

  2. Wow channel 7, how gracious of you to gift some of us backward none AFL tragics the privilege of actually watching the Olympics (and a few weeks of the man channel) in HD. As some in the other counties are actually gearing up for 4k channels you still puff your chests at the idea you are doing Australians in the non AFL land a favour. You can blow it out your narrow minded greedy trumpet holes. I still do not understand why this channel has the highest ratings.

  3. Maev....Sydney

    For this tech challenged person….my old TV does not get HD channels…so…does that mean…I am assuming…that I will not be able to watch 7;s main channel when it ‘switches’ to HD….??

    • Secret Squïrrel

      Not quite. The main channel – digital channel 7 – will be in SD so you will still be able to watch the Olympics on that. 70 will be an HD version of the main channel. If you can get 70 now, you should be fine, otherwise you’ll have to stick with SD on 7.

    • I am confident, Maev, that you will still be able to watch Ch7 in SD during the Olympics. In Melbourne, Ch7’s primary channel – 7 – is standard definition (SD). But the programming on 7 SD is also aired on channel 70 in HD (i.e. simulcast or “mirrored”) so that viewers have the choice of watching Ch7 in either SD (7) or HD (70). The only difference is that Ch7’s watermark on 70 adds the letters HD.

      What David’s article is saying is that Sydney and other capital cities will, during the Olympics, also have the choice of watching Ch7’s SD primary channel – 7 – in HD on 70 if they want to do so. In other words, the Olympics will be in SD on 7 and simulcast/mirrored in HD on 70. 7Mate reverts from HD to SD for that period.

      That’s the way I read it anyway.

  4. I’m getting cheesed off with the whole HD/SD argument. While standard definition digital TV is vastly better than the old analogue transmission, I see high definition as only marginally better than SD. Sure, the picture is a bit sharper but the difference is in no way dramatic, as was digital vs analogue.
    I will happily watch the Olympics in SD pleased that its not still analogue.
    Because my 2 year old HD TV is an under $500 model perhaps the people who see HD as vastly superior have much more expensive sets?

    • Secret Squïrrel

      It could partly be because you have a lower-end TV but it’s prob mostly because the networks don’t provide enough bitrate to their HD stream.

      The more bit-starved / compressed the stream is, the less information it contains, and the crappier the picture. This is more noticeable when you get sudden or complex changes in brightness such as seeing the sun through foliage or reflecting off water. When that happens you’ll get macro-blocking / pixellation. Frankly, Aus FTA is the pits in this regard.

      • Used to feel the same when HD launched here in the UK but once it became the norm it’s now quite noitceable when you switch down to an SD channel.

    • I would agree with you based on looking at a small TV – I find not much difference as well. But on a 55 inch TV like the one in our lounge room, the difference is immense – SD is blurry in comparison. You esepecially notice the difference watching sport.

      • Thanks andrewb, I thought TV size might have a lot to do with it. Ours is around the 80/90 cm screen range as our living room is not suitable for a huge screen. As a pensioner I will live with my TV and keep out of the HD/SD debate.

    • I’m with you GRM 🙂 I’m just happy when I can watch tv with a clear picture. Also HD takes up twice as much space on my recorders than SD so I record everything in SD so I save space. Someone said they would not bother watching the Olympics if it wasn’t shown in HD…talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face 😀

    • Agree. During sport is the only, only time we ever notice a difference between SD and HD, which is why AFL must continue to be broadcast in HD on 7mate in Sydney. The other option is just transfer AFL to the main 7 channel in every place. HD is not needed for non-sport shows.

  5. Is there a technical reason why they can’t switch the HD when required – ie 70 Sydney would be channel 7 except when afl is on then it would switch to 7mate simulcast

    • Tas won’t have Olympics in HD on primary channel, however you can watch some action via 7mate. That applies to people with Prime/GWN.

  6. What happens on AFL Grand Final day in Bris, Syd and Perth. Are Seven going to switch the main channel to HD just on that day or will they needlessly air the GF on both the main channel and 7mate so they don’t need to. They obviously care more about keeping the AFL happy than their actual viewers. It would good if you could run a poll question on this David. I’d like to see the percentage of your readers in these three markets who would much prefer the main channel in HD rather than 7mate just for HD AFL.

  7. SydneyCityTV

    Why am I genuinely not surprised that Seven are only temporarily broadcasting their main channel in HD to Sydney, Brisbane and Perth for the duration of the Rio Olympics?

    It’ll certainly be very interesting to see what the network does with Channel 70 in the 7mateHD markets during the AFL off-season of October-March, that’s for sure. Although personally, I would like to hope that Seven won’t deny the majority of metropolitan viewers the opportunity to see main channel coverage of the Spring Racing Carnival and the Summer of Tennis in HD – two premium sporting events on the network which won’t be affected by AFL!

  8. Only $$ Seven $$ can screw up HD!! they the ones that called 576p HD in the early days just leave it alone Seven you don’t get that stupid just buy using one hand!!

  9. – The main channel being in HD for the Olympics was a given. Pretty sure its one of the conditions of having the rights – in 2012 Nine simulcasted on GEM. In the US there will even be 4k coverage (albeit not via FTA)
    – I still don’t understand why in Syd, Bris and Perth Seven can’t simply change the feed for 7HD during AFL games – surely it is as simple as flicking a switch – like they say for the Olympics.The current arrangement is ridiculous especially seeing that ch 70 is called 7HD and is mate 95% of the time.

  10. Good move, would like it if they could extend that to the rest of the week going forward, except Friday and Saturday for the AFL, was thinking Sunday as well however the afternoon game isn’t a big issue. So Sun – Thu is 7 = 70 and Fri/Sat 78 = 70, a bit like how SBS used to switch it around when the A League matches were on SBS2 and SBS HD then switch back to SBS1 after the match.

  11. Really the HD should reflect the primary channel nationally most of the time, with Seven only altering that during the timeslots with AFL broadcasts.

  12. These guys are joking aren’t they.
    I understand that they want to broadcast the AFL in HD to their primary AFL markets but…
    What about all the other shows that northern folk would like in HD every day of the week.
    If Nine and Ten can figure it out why can’t Seven. I’m sure even with HD they can show different content in different cities, show me a cool HD broadcast of a repeated action movie while you show the AFL where they want it.
    Swapping HD in and out in Syd and Bris is just crazy not for tech reasons simply for respect of those of us still watching FTA, if you want to keep us, treat us a little better.
    I personally very much enjoy the local and overseas content on 9 and 10HD but from 7, I have no interest in glorious HD Pawn shows.

  13. I can’t believe they’re actually going to change back to this stupid HD system after the Olympics.
    Airing 7mate in HD in Brisbane and Sydney just to accommodate the tiny number of viewers in those areas that watch the AFL is ridiculous!

  14. Minor error in the article. 7HD in Perth mirrors 7mate and not the 7 primary channel. It’s only Melbourne and Adelaide that receive the primary channel in HD currently.

  15. I take if you couldn’t get Seven to comment on the long term prospects of 7HD in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, David?

    It seems so odd they want to air 7mate (channel with a 3.5% share) in HD in these markets rather than 7 (18% or so share)

    I know it’s due to the AFL – but AFL is not even that popular in Sydney and Brisbane.

    Also – no news on Regional Queensland?

    And no Prime7 HD?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.