Set-Top Boxes

Multichannelling

Another benefit of Digital TV is multichannelling: the broadcasting of more than one channel of programs (in SD format) at one time. Because digital signals can be more highly compressed than analogue signals, Digital TV can carry several TV stations in the space used by one analogue station.

The Federal Government allows ABC and SBS to use multichannelling, but not commercial broadcasters. This gives the ABC and SBS the nod to broadcast extra programs such as educational, science, art, children's, foreign language, news and even drama. Commercial broadcasters will often use the extra channels to show programme guides, however.

ABC for instance, broadcasts ABC2, its digital-only, free-to-air TV channel offering new and timeshifted ABC programs. SBS broadcasts SBS World News.

In addition, SBS broadcasts two multilingual radio services and the ABC broadcasts audio streams of its Internet radio services, DiG, and DiGJazz.

Future services

The initial vision for Digital TV encompassed ideas like so-called Interactive TV, Internet access, T-commerce (TV shopping) and new information services under the broad heading of datacasting, but these are still some time off.

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