Tag Archives: ch 7

Scheduling Frustrations

It’s great to see that channel 9 is now offering late night news at 11.30pm. For many of us, that is a better time to catch up on the news than 10.30 is on channel 10. Last night, I flicked over to 9 to watch the news at 11.30, only to find I had missed the start of it and therefore the first of the main stories which are usually the most important.

This is an ongoing problem for both channel 7 and 9 where programs after 11pm start early, while programs after 7pm start late. If you want to see all of the news on 9 scheduled for 11.30pm, I suggest you tune over at around 11.20 to make sure you don’t miss any. If you plan to record it to watch later in the night, then be sure to set your recorder to take into account those extra minutes before.

Channel 7 has been doing this with 30 Rock for months, which has started as early as 11.20 while still showing on both printed guides and EPGs as 11.30. On the flip side of the equation, channel 9 on Monday night, the last episode of Underbelly did not start until 8.39 and Eleventh Hour that followed Underbelly did not start until 9.45 – it was shown on the schedule as 9.30. That’s 15 minutes late. On that particular night, it was mae worse by having 3 minute HomeMade “Sneak Peaks” both before and after Underbelly, not to mention countless pop-up ads as well as extra ads during the ad breaks.

Last night, whilst working late, I left on 7HD in the background. At 12.53am, I heard the start of Deal or No Deal. After checking the 7HD TV guide on yahoo, I saw that Deal is scheduled to start at 1am. And, the show after it on 7HD – A Country Practice (and being on HD, you can see the rather low quality of the 80′s video compared to now) started at 1.17am – 13 minutes ealier than the program guide and EPG suggests.

The networks have to realise that an EPG is as good as useless if their programs do not match the time on the EPG. Most viewers rely on EPG times to either remind them of when a show starts or to record it to watch later. At least channel 10 keep their EPG times up to date most of the time. What is the problem with ch 7 and 9 – why can’t they keep their EPGs up to date? Surely the one that does stands to benefit the most from viewer satisfaction.

Both ch 7 and 9 need to be called to account for this archaic practise of running programs late or early. It is nothing more than blatant disrespect for their viewers, and such a strategy would only work if viewers watched the same channel all night. They don’t. They all have remotes. They all change channels many times during the night, and they all get frustrated at shows starting late or starting early.

Having said all that, here is my guide of what time you can expect a show to really start based on its advertised time.

Scheduled Time channel 7 channel 9 channel 10
5.00pm 4.57pm 4.57pm 5.00pm
5.30pm 5.27pm 5.27pm n/a
6.00pm 6.00pm 6.00pm 6.01pm
6.30pm 6.30pm 6.30pm 6.30pm
7.00pm 7.05pm 7.05pm 7.00pm
7.30pm 7.35pm 7.35pm 7.32pm
8.00pm 8.05pm 8.06pm 8.02pm
8.30pm 8.35pm 8.37pm 8.33pm
9.30pm 9.34pm 9.38pm 9.32pm
10.30pm 10.31pm 10.33pm 10.31pm
11.30pm 11.25pm 11.25pm n/a
12.00am 11.55pm 11.57pm 12.02am
12.30am 12.25am 12.25am  
1.00am 12.53am 12.55am  
1.30am 1.18am    

A bit of fine print:

These times are based on my own TV watching experience based mostly on
Monday to Thursday nights, although I have noticed late schedules
running on weekends as well, but not as bad as the weekdays. Times are
a rough average, off the top of my head. I have not sat down and
recorded all scheduled times for example, but have commented about many
of them on TV forums like
www.tvtonight.com.au or www.throng.com.au. Obviously these times
may vary from night to night, but for the uninitiated, can act as a
simple guide. Examples considered here include: ch 9 Mondays with
Underbelly and the show after it as much as 15 minutes late, The
Mentalist on Wednesday nights usually 7 or 8 mins late, Ellen at
11.30pm and now 12am starting early, 11.30 news starting at 11.25, 30
Rock on 7 starting as early as 11.20pm, Deal on 7HD starting at 12.53am
instead of 1am, Heroes from 10.30 – 11.25, always missing the start of
Beauty and the Geek which was on 11.30 Thursdays, and seeing it finish
around 12.20, missing the first stories on 11.30 news on 9, missing the
start of Hot Seat on 1st night and subsequent nights, seeing Antiques
and Mash start 4.57 after 4.30 news finishes, Life on Mars on 10
starting at 9.33 Thurs (now 10.30 Fri) on the dot according to the EPG,
Masterchef starting exactly on time in accordnace to the EPG, same with
Talkin’ Bout my Generation, Rove despite being after reality shows
normally starting as per EPG at say 9.06pm (although printed as a 9pm
start), not above here due to odd time, but Letterman on 10 at 11.15pm
is always on time as well, as is the show following. Yet 7 and 9 are
running early by 5 or more minutes. Obviously it has to do with the
lower volume of ads after 10.30, but the networks would know that
already and their guides should reflect it. Running late from 7 to
10.30pm though is a deliberate action as both A Current Affair and
Today Tonight finish 5 minutes late. Additional lateness, especially by
channel 9, can be attributed to extra self promotion ads thoughout the
night, especially when they through in sneak peaks like they currently
are for HomeMade.

Note that in the case of ch 10, their EPG times actually reflect the times above whereas ch 7 and ch9′s do not and only show 8.30, 9.30, etc.

I have not included ABC, SBS or Foxtel here as they usually run on time with up to date EPGs and therefore saw no point to include them on the table.

Go 99 Preview Update

In yet another example of just how hopeless the Channel 9 programming department when it comes to keeping viewers informed, as of this morning (Thursday April 30), there is no information in the yahoo TV guide online as to any of the planned 9HD day time break away next week. According to the advanced guide for 9HD posted on TV Tonight, extra 9HD beak away day time programming starts from this Sunday May 3.

It is not uncommon for the 9HD channel program guide not to be up to date in yahoo (perhaps this is because yahoo is tied up with channel 7), but you’d think channel 9 might go to a little extra effort to ensure there was adequate advertising and programming information out there in relation to this new programming. Otherwise, noone will know about it and day time viewers will most likely stumble upon the alternative shows when they try to watch Ellen and the View in HD only to see a movie on instead.

A quick check of the TV Guide that 9 MSN links to reveals the same – no alternative 9HD programming during the day. The only place I can find (admitedly I have not looked everywhere, but yahoo and ninemsn are two very high trffic locations so I would have assumed they keep there information up to date) this information in relation to 9HD is in TV Tonights’ advanced guides section – where you can see free to air TV guides as far as two weeks ahead. Usually, there is little point to look that far ahead into what channel 9 plan to show due to frequent programming changes, but this new 9HD programming is a big deal and a big step in the lead up to the new Go 99 channel later this year.

I might add, that I have not seen advertising for the programming either – not on the ninemsn web site or channel 9 itself. Maybe they are keeping it low key for now while they make sure there are no bugs, but surely, for the sake of their advertisers, they would want to attract viewers? Unless the ads will be free or endless 9 self promos (which would make the channel close to unbearable to watch).

At least there will be a day time alternative to talk, soapies, cooking and kids shows for now. If only they started the break away at 9am to provide an alternative to the morning shows. We don’t really need Kerry Ann and the mindless infomercials and content in HD – do we? 9am – 11 am are the worst 2 hours on commercial free to air TV, other than 2-4am of course. Before we had Foxtel, we would not even turn the TV on at our house until 11am for the news.

Lie to Me, Channel 7

A commenter on this blog has led me to another TV forum website http://www.throng.com.au/, where, I found an article written at the time of the launch of 7HD back in October 2007 quoting David Leckie (owner of ch 7) stating that there would be 3 channel 7′s within 15 months. 15 months after October 2007 was Jan 2009 – which is when the networks were allowed by license to offer a 2nd SD channel.

Here’s an exerpt of that article:

“We are the first to move into new channels,” Mr Leckie said. “Our introduction of a nightly two hour channel and different programmes across weekend daytime complementing our primary Seven channel is the first step towards a second Channel Seven before Christmas and a third Channel Seven in the coming fifteen months.”

And it goes further promising first run movies on three nights per week and states that 7 have alot of content to fill these channels. You can read the full article here.

Well, that was then, this is now. Almost May 2009, ch 7 is the only channel not to have announced plans (officially) for its 2nd SD channel. There are rumours floating around that it will be on by October this year. As of next week, with 9 offering more 9HD break away programming from next week (which looks like a lead up or a test for Go 99) during the day from 11am – 4.30pm, 7 will actually now be the channel that offers the least amount of break away or alternative programming, a place previously held by ch 9. Ch 7 used to offer over 7 hours a day of 7HD break away, now it is about 5 hours.

FreeView in my View 4

So here comes the next round of Free View ads which will supposedly remind us of what we love about free to air TV. The same day we hear about channel 9′s new Tuesday night line up containing nothing but 2.5 Men, 20-1 and Underbelly, most of which are repeats. These Free view ads are a waste of time and no doubt take air space away from real advertisers selling real products.

Freeview are so delusional, that they call 7HD and 9HD separate channels. 9HD hardly has any break away programming and for the most part is the same as the main channel – so should not count, and 7HD is almost as bad but at least has more break away times.

And now the comment relating to more channels launching says within a year. We know channel 9 have announced their new channel, Ten is already doing ONE, SBS News has become SBS2, ABC has been given the go ahead for ABC3 (I knew thewy would) but channel 7 is still yet to announce anything.

Currently, I put the channel count at 8 – ABC, ABC2, Ten, One, 7, 9, SBS, SBS2. In regional area of northern NSW, it is 7 channels as there is no ONE yet. It will hopefully be on SC10 by July, about the same time it is rumoured Foxtel will get it for those who do not have cable. Go 99 and ABC3 will take it to 10 channels, and 7′s new channel when they announce it will be the 11th. And that will most likely be it, as I don’t see any of them then using the HD channel as a break away from the other 2 channels.

Channel 9 and Go99 or Go!99

Channel 9 is set to launch its 2nd free to air digital channel sometime later this year – most likely in August. The rumour mills suggest it will be called GO!99. Apparently, GO!99 has been registered by ch 9 as a trade mark, but that does not necessarily mean that will be its final name. Whether it is or not, is not really relevant. Of greater concern, is what exactly will be its content?
 
Channel 9 now lead the free to air networks as being the channel that has the most programming changes, as well as being the network least likely to show a series that they introduce in entirety at any time favouring quick program fixes and repeats in favour of running a series they started. At least channel 7 give their series a go, even if that means, they end up late at night or being held for a few months or so until they put them on.
 
Channel 7 is yet to announce plans for their second digital channel. Channel 10 has already done it with ONE HD although the regionals will not see it until July.
 
All that aside, one must be concerned as to what channel 9 will do with their extra channel. It was only announced yesterday that 9′s Tuesday night line up was to be changed most likely due to low ratings. This change is too late for their printed TV guides – the very guides that most of their loyal viewers will rely upon. As has been the case for numerous weeks this year, channel 9′s programming changes are last minute and never are in time for printed guides to reflect. While TV guides are now available on the internet and EPGs, no doubt the masses are picking them up from printed guides and will tune in (or out) accordingly. This, to me, is one of the reasons why their ratings are falling.
 
In my opinion, if this is the way they handle their main channel, then their second channel is going to be an even bigger nightmare to deal with. I wonder if it will be loaded with endless Underbellys’, 20-1′s, 10-1′s, even 50-1 they did once, not to mention two and a half men played to the point of overkill. It is supposedly slated as an entertainment channel but, if the lack of programming ability they are demonstrating on their main channel is anything to go by, why would anyone care about the second channel?
 
I always thought that a second SD channel would give a network the chance to experiment and show programs they normally would not on their main channel. The marketing opportunities are enormous. I mean, here is the chance to have themed nights like 10HD did with Sci Fi nights. Here is the chance to have movie nights, comedy nights, crime nights, drama nights, niche programming, majorly time shifted prime time segments and more (what I mean by time shifted prime time is that they repeat prime time after say 12.30am instead of infomercials or even during the day to give those people who do not fit into the working prime time norm (such as shift workers) a chance to see prime time TV without having to record it). 
 
The way channel 9 are heading at the moment, is that this 2nd channel will show little more than endless 20-1′s, Underbelly’s, 2.5 Men and other repeats little or no people care about. I mean, the only reason most of these shows rate is due to a lack of options rather than the fact people really care for them.
 
Channel 9 have the rights to so many shows, that it amazes me why they don’t put them on. Channel 7 and 10 give their shows a chance and follow through – even if late. But not 9. They axe shows never to be seen again except possibly on Foxtel a year or so later. Who remembers their Pushing Daisies ads? That one ended up W channel Foxtel, but 9 had rights to originally. OK – that show is a bit weird, but still, if they had the rights to it over Foxtel, it would do alot better than something like Bridezillas which 9 was showing even though it had already been on Foxtel.
 
I can’t wait to see the programming for the 2nd channel 9 – I’ll call it Go99 even though that is not really confirmed yet. Even if it is a channel of 9 repeats, it will at least give an option for those who do not have Foxtel. I just hope they have the sense to program it properly as a new channel that will not yet attract major ratings. I just hope it is better than 9HD – which was really only there for a few hours each night – in the sense that they do not cut and chop programs left, right and centre. I hope that they will see this channel as an opportunity to show programs that – for whatever reason – they do not show on their main channel – we all know they have the rights to so many shows. Yes, I am a fan of ER, and have already seen the finale through a friend in the US, but they could put ER on this channel. Not to mention, Survivor, Weeds, and others they have the rights to.
 
Lets hope that they do not deal with the 2nd channel the way they do with the main channel and that they use it to promote digital uptake in the sense that they make people see what they are missing out on. Sooner or later, the networks have to embrace digital and multichanelling rather than catering for those who don’t care and making sure that their TV shows are all available on analogue.

FreeView in My View 3

So there will be no FreeView EPG until the end of the year. Channel 9′s new channel will launch some time in August. ONE HD is already here for anyone who lives in the 5 capital cities. FreeView branded equipment will be on sale from May 1. And FreeView will launch more ads from April 26.

Exactly what do they hope to achieve with these ads? More confusion? More empty promises? Brand awareness? Confusing the already confused?

In my opinion, what really needs to happen is to have everything sorted out before they wast anymore time advertising and further confuse TV viewers Australia wide. Given that the EPG will not launch until the end of the year, how will the product work in any case? And there is still the cloud over the ad skipping capability on the FreeView branded PVR. I can understand why they would not want viewers to skip ads completely, so why not base the system on Foxtels’ IQ2 where you fast forward ads? If you see an ad that is interesting, you stop and take a look. Making people sit through ads when they are not watching live TV just won’t work. And being called FreeView will mean nothing.

Since the FreeView name was introduced late last year, saying “coming soon in 2009″, there has been little or no development to the system leading many to write it off as a pointless waste of time. This is now the stigma they are stuck with and will be very hard for them to work their way out of it. FreeView is seen as misleading and a series of empty promises. As I have written in other posts here, we will not see 15 unique Free to air channels any time soon.

Here’s what should happen now, in my opinion, if FreeView is going to revive itself:

1. Do not advertise at all until everything is in place for the product.

2. Set deadlines with manufacturers for FreeView branded equipment, and get them into the market place by a certain date.

3. Educate retailers about the system.

4. Deadline when the extra channels come. Ten has ONE HD already. 9′s 2nd channel is due in August, 7 is yet to announce, but should ideally do it about the same time as 9.

5. Get the EPG up in line with extra channels.

6. Include community TV (where available), and maybe even some of the channels in the 44 group in Sydney extending to other cities and areas – that gets more channels (Available frequencies may be an issue though).

7. Make sure that the regionals are on at the same time – unlike what happened with ONE HD, still yet to appear on SC10.

8. Publicise these dates in the media and on their web site. Keep the public informed. back up promises with actual content and detail. So far, one of the biggest problems with FreeView has been the lack of any actual content to back up their promises.

9. Any additonal services that will come with FreeView – such as on demand services – should be confirmed with launch dates as well during this time.

Once everything is in place, then will be the time to release FreeView as a complete system with 10 (say) channels including all other features it will have working rather than “coming soon”. That way, the consumer will know they are getting a complete product and not some expensive box with little or nothing over what they have now or can obtain much more cheaply.

7 Behind 8 Ball of 9 and 10

Added: April 14th: There’s a romour going round, as reported on Tv Tonight, that 9′s 2nd SD channel will be called Go!99. That’s not yet official. Time will tell. I liked the idea os something like E9, 9 Plus or 9 Extra as it keeps some branding with channel 9. And the regionals would just substitute the “9″ with WIN or NBN. Whereas, with “99″, they have to do something else – such as “88″. Or how about “86″ – then we could have 86 and 99 working together like in “Get Smart”. We await more information.

While updating now, there is still no word from ch 7 about their 2nd SD channel – which is basically what the article below is about.

I found this quote in an article on whatsonthetube.net and thought I’d share it:

“The Seven Network has had success with its new channel with chief executive David Leckie saying, “The HD channel is getting some advertisers and viewers and will break even this year, but it is not the main game. The main game is the new standard definition channel. That will be exciting.”

The remark is made in reference to 7HD, which was up and running since Mid October 2007. The article, published on whatsonthetube.net March 10, 2008,  was about 9HD’s launch mid March 2008, and makes comment about the fact that the 2nd SD channels were allowed to be on air from Jan 1, 2009, and that 2009 would be exciting for TV.

As I write this article, there is still no word yet of ch 7′s plans for its 2nd SD channel. As we all know, ONE HD and its SD counterpart start full time at 7.30 Thur March 26 (now adjusted to 7pm in Melbourne due to the change to the AFL coverage). So that is channel 10 sorted for now.

And earlier this week, ch 9 announced its plans for an entertainment channel even though details were somewhat vague to say the least – with no definite confirmation – or even indication – of a launch date other than some time in the 2nd half of the year.

That just leaves channel 7. Given Leckie’s comment one year ago, you would have thought channel 7 would have been the first to launch its 2nd SD channel. No doubt they are more cashed up than the other networks, being the number one rating network of 2008. Or, maybe ch 7 has decided there was no need to address having a 2nd SD channel for that reason – no need to do anything extra to stay number one. With poor programming generally on ch 9 and ch 10 aiming for the younger demographics and therefore not winning overall ratings, that leaves ch 7 1st every week. Perhaps it is ch 7 waiting to see what 9 does and what success ONE HD has before making any commitments.

But why wait for what the others do? Why not go out on your own like ch 10 has. Even 9′s idea sounds like a free to air version of a cross between FOX8 and TV1 (in their own words), but, even though vague, at least there is some indication.

Still, with all the time these networks have had to get their proverbials together as far as digital multi channeling goes and the time and money they have spent on the FreeView campaign, there is no reason why in March 2009 ONE HD should be the only new commercial extra digital channel. It just continues to be the viewers who lose out time after time and none of them seem to be making any effort in clearing up the digital confusion.

Someone should step in and simplify and unify the process for all of Australia. Set a date for all channels to be up and running – metro and regional – and, as for FreeView, clean up the mess they have created and give the viewers what they want.

Millionaire Vs Deal

So ch 9 have decided to put the latest incarnation of Who Wants to be a Millionaire against ch 7′s Deal or no Deal at 5.30pm Mon-Fri from April 20.

While I am happy to see the end of at least half an hour of Antiques Roadshow – a show that does not even appeal to my 70+ year old parents – I don’t think Millionaire will work at 5.30pm. Deal has been around for so long, and grown such a huge audience, that 9 really don’t ever have a hope going against it with a game show. Something like Extra, currently only seen in Brisbane, would do better at 5.30. Keep it different. There are not that many viewers around at 5.30 compared to 7, and my guess would be, that they would get much better advertising revenue at 7 than they do at 5.30.

I cannot understand why ch 9 would bother “copying” 7 by putting game show against game show. Why not go for something different? Why not put on Millionaire at 7pm where ch 9 are now coming 4th in the ratings on a daily basis? Maybe, its because some of the regionals have ACA on at 7. Usually, though, the regionals would put on the 7pm show at 5.30. The regionalsdon’t bother with 2.5 Men as they no doubt see no point. Even the regionals, like NBN, have an hour of Antiques Roadshow from 5-6.

History has proven that putting a game show against another game show does not work. The well established show will win. In this case, that is Deal. I would be very surprised, if after the first episode or 2, if Millionaire makes much of a dent on Deal. Then ch 9 will swing their well worn axe. And another game show dies from not being put at a suitable time or given a decent chance.

The other reason why it will fail at 5.30 is that the format is quite heavy for 5.30. What I mean here, is that, a question and answer show is better later when people are more relaxed, not at 5.30 when they are just getting home, just putting on dinner or generally only have TV on in the background. At 7, its more likely to be watched. With Deal, its very light. Pick a case, guess what is in it, bank makes an offer, contestant accepts or rejects. Repeat the process a few times until there’s a smaller number of cases left when it gets more exciting. For me, that’s about the time I tune in – the last ten to fifteen minutes. I switch over when 10 news goes to sport.

If Millionaire does fail at 5.30, I hope they will have the sense to try it at 7pm. With the new Home Made show now slated to be 2 one hour episodes a week, and the promised magazine style show possibly being incorporated as part of a new one hour 4.30 news format, that still leaves 7pm on ch 9 unanswered.

Sure – 2.5 Men used to rate well, and if you consider 1 million good ratings at 7pm, then it is doing OK for 9. But surely it must be recognised that the only reason it is actually doing well is due to a lack of options. Look at the choices at 7 – 2.5 Men, Home and Away, Biggest Loser and ABC news. 9 is now regulary coming 4th at 7pm. In regional markets, where ACA is on at 7pm, this is not the case. I believe, that if every one had access to ONE HD, that Sports Tonight would rate better than that. Considering that 7 news at 6 scores 1.5 million, there is no reason why a decent show at 7pm cannot do the same.

Channel 9 really need to start thinking outside the square here. Sure – ch 7 got to where they are by copying ch 9 intially – and doing a good job of it at the time - but 9 cannot expect to claw their way back by copying 7. Eddy is not going to do it for them at 5.30.

We need more game shows on TV, but don’t put them against each other.

Heroes Coming Back

According to TV Tonight, Heroes is set to return April 23 at 10.30pm on ch 7. Its been showing in the US since Feb (Click on TV Tonight to read the article there).

As a Heroes fan, I look forward to seeing the show again. Until recently, though, the 10.30 time slot meant you did not get to see it in HD while ch 7 had its breakaway HD programming. There were some Thursdays where it was “replayed” on 7HD an hour or two later, but for the most part, having the HD breakaway meant that you could not see a show after 10.30 on the main channel in HD. I think it is more important to show what is made in HD in HD rather than having a regular HD breakaway for the sake of it. Both 9 and 7 have been guilty of this.

I do hope 7 will leave Heroes on, untouched at the 10.30pm Thursday night timeslot until it catches up with the episodes shown in the US. We are now 2 months behind, but gaps in the US programming means over time we’ll catch up. I still, to this day, cannot understand why 7 did not finish the whole season when Heroes was last on. There were only a few more episodes to go. The show has not been treated fairly by ch 7, being left to summer last year rather than brought on earlier in ratings season, only to have the last episodes left in limbo when ratings started. For me, the Heroes and Prison Break combination, together with ER in 9, meant there was actually some free to air TV to watch over summer.

I look forward to Heroes. I hope they also play Prison Break within a reasonable time after its US airing. Yes, I know I could download if I wanted to, but Heroes to me needs to be seen in HD. Even if I knew where to download it in HD, one episode would send my monthly internet cap over the top. Besides – if the networks did not mess around with these sorts of shows, showed them at a reasonsable time frame, did not bump them ,etc, noone would even think of downloading, would they?

And now is the time to point out this: ER on 9 used to get about 800k in ratings (off the top of my head). Heroes on 7, gets about 400k. Life on Mars on 10 gets about 500k. 7 puts Heroes on. 10 keeps Life on Mars on. 9 – who’s ER rates better than those two shows, still does not put the show on at any time. Just goes to show which network cares more for viewers.

Who Will Be the First with Three Channels?

FreeView promises 15 channels based on each free to air broadcaster being allowed to air 2 standard definition (SD)  channels and 1 high definition (HD) channel. As it stands now, ABC has two unique SD channels – ABC1 and ABC2, with ABC HD yet to offer anything but a simulcast of ABC1. Same story with SBS, with SBS1 and SBS2 (this is what SBS news will become). Over at ch10, they now have Ten and ONE HD, with the 2nd SD channel airing the SD simulcast of ONE HD. That make ch10 the first commercial to offer a 2nd SD channel as well as the HD channel being different 24 hours a day. But, in all of these cases, its still only 2 channels.

So who will be the first to have a 3rd? Ch 9 has indicated that August is a likely date for the launch of their 2nd SD channel (which will not be called 9 GOLD!). When this channel starts, if 9 offered alternative HD programming at any time, and the 2 SD channels were also airing different programs, then that would put 9 as the first to offer 3 different programs at any given time. I personally do not see this happening. It is more likely that the HD breakaway programs would end up on 9SD2 (in the absence of a real name, I’ll keep on calling it 9SD2), and that 9HD would simulcast 9′s main channel especially as more and more of their prime time programs become available in HD.

Ten has made mention of a 3rd channel as well, but I suggest the outcome there would be subject to the success of ONE HD. If the sports genre is very successful for 10, you may see the channel currently known as OND SD broadcast a combination of sports and other shows. Some people think that 10 may opt for a music channel or something more youth oriented to capture a different part of the market. Whether ONE stays as a full time HD channel will depend on its ratings and HD TV penetration into the market.

Despite David Leckie of ch 7 over a year ago indicating that maulti channeling would be exciting, has yet to announce what ch 7 are doing as far as multi channeling is concerned. Ch 7 has offered more break away HD programming than any other channel (prior to ONE HD) but have (surprisingly) used it to show repeats of their own shows, whether in HD or not, and to show old black and white movies during the day not even in wide screen, let alone HD!

Only the ABC has real plans for a 3rd channel – ABC3 which is subject to funding at the next federal budget. There is also rumoured to be an ABC4 news channel on the cards, but unless they cut back the qulaity of the HD channel, it is difficult to see how 4 channels will fit in without being very low quality. I am of the understandting that they can, but quality is the concern.

I believe the focus should be on quality and not the number of channels. While the idea of having extra channels is great for variety and choice, it should not be what its all about. Now that everyone is buying large screen TVs, the HD channel should be the focus as the main channel. This is what they do in the US, and they promote all the shows as being in HD. Any show on the main channel that is available in HD, should be shown in HD on the HD channel. And when there are shows on the main channel not available in HD (like old repeats), only then should the HD channel do anything different to the main channel as well as the 2nd SD channel.

Alternative HD viewing should only occur if the programs on the main channel are not available in HD. Alternative HD viewing should be HD content. Not 1940′s movies or old repeats. Recent movies and documentaries are one idea. I have an HD TV and would much prefer having everything in HD than to have 3 different channels just for the sake of being able to say there are 3 channels. Already when I watch ch 10, I miss having the option of viewing in HD. And, yes, I can tell the difference on my TV! I used to hate some late night shows on 7 not being in HD due to 7HD being the breakaway channel. One example is 30 Rock – which doesn’t really have to be HD, but in HD it looks much better.

Which gets me back to FreeView. As I mentioned time and time again, the promotion of 15 channels is misleading. You can read more about that in other posts or by clicking FreeView in the tag cloud.