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TVNZ General

Digital Television

What is Digital Television?
Digital Television is a technical change from the present Analogue service, initiated by the New Zealand Government, which provides clearer pictures, sharper sound, ultimately a better choice of programmes and interactive options. All round, a better viewing experience.

By the end of 2013 the analogue transmission service will be closed and all New Zealand television will be digitally transmitted. has the information you need to check that you will still be able to receive television.

Freeview brings free to air digital radio and TV to New Zealand viewers. It is beamed down from a satellite (DTH, Direct to Home) and also, transmitted from hilltops and high-points (DTT Digital Terrestrial TV, now known as Freeview HD).

Who provides Digital Television?
Freeview comprises a group of free to air broadcasters (MediaWorks, Maori Television Service, TVNZ and Radio New Zealand) who have worked as a not-for-profit co-operative to create a digital platform on which their channels can be broadcast. Each broadcaster decides which of its channels it will make available to Freeview. Notably Freeview is NOT TVNZ, but a group of broadcasters, one of whom is TVNZ.

How do I get Freeview?
Householders need a Freeview-certified set top box (sometimes called a decoder) which is available from accredited retailers, and a dish to receive the DTH satellite service or, a Freeview-certified set top box and a suitable aerial if they want to receive Freeview HD, via the terrestrial service. Many modern TVs now incorporate a Freeview receiver. For all other information on Freeview please go to 


Why am I having TV reception problems?
TV ONE and TV2 reception is available to 99.6% of New Zealanders. There are very few viewers who receive poor or no reception. There are a number of reasons why television reception can be affected  -  some of the most common are listed below.

Atmospheric interference is caused by a phenomenon called ducting, which occurs as a result of two separate layers being created in the upper atmosphere (ionosphere). When this happens, television signals become trapped in the duct and are reflected back and forth to travel much further than intended.

This type of interference is more common in summer during periods of warm and settled weather. The effect is most noticeable at lower frequencies and as TV ONE is the main user of those channels, it is the service which is most affected.

Television signals arrive in distant coverage areas, causing anything from mild interference to complete obliteration of the wanted signal from the local station on the same frequency or channel. Interference occurs between channels within New Zealand and also between Australia and New Zealand, with occasional reports from countries further afield.

Although the ducting phenomenon is well understood, unfortunately there isn't a simple solution. For most viewers the problem is short term, occurring only in the evenings, especially during summer, but viewers in some areas will suffer long-term interference. Check with your neighbours to see if they are experiencing a similar problem, if so this is likely to be the case.

Other reception problems arise frequently from aerials that are rusted or corroded, are damaged or blown out of alignment. In addition, the feeder cable that should preferably be of the coaxial type, can be affected by loose or damaged connections or ingress of moisture. In such instances, it is almost always TV ONE that is affected.

Try checking your aerial and feeder cable thoroughly together with inside connections. The receiver tuning should also be checked.

If you decide to carry out an inspection yourself, we recommend you take all necessary precautions in regard to working at heights and near power lines. Alternatively, you might prefer to consult a reputable television service company for advice.

How do I tune my TV?
In most cases, if you have a television aerial or television satellite receiving dish you can tune in to TV ONE or TV2 fairly easily. It is best to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

If you have difficulty tuning your television, we recommend you contact the outlet you purchased the television from or a reputable television service/repair company. Please note, Television New Zealand is not liable for any costs incurred tuning in your television.

For further information on tuning channels on your video, refer to the manufacturer's instructions. If you are a Sky Television subscriber and wish to tune in to TV ONE or TV2 on the Sky digital platform, please contact Sky Television.


What are ratings and how are they measured?
Programme ratings are extrapolated figures for the average number of people who tuned into a programme at any given time. They are expressed in thousands or as a percentage (known as a rating) of the total potential audience of the demographic selected. They are also known as  TARPs (Target Audience Rating Points). Ratings are measured by a device called a PeopleMeter.  A PeopleMeter is a box attached to every television set within a household selected to take part in a viewing panel. It electronically records what programme is being watched at any given time. As each member of the household comes into the room to watch television, they press a button on the PeopleMeter handset, which tells the PeopleMeter exactly who is watching and what they are watching. The viewing information is automatically fed through the phone lines each day to a central computer at AGB Nielsen Media Research, the company that runs the PeopleMeter system. Approximately 600 households are on the Peoplemeter panel and are spread across the country to cover all age groups, as a representative sample of New Zealanders. This is an internationally used system to evaluate who is watching television and when, and whether programmes are popular or not.

Who uses the ratings?
Naturally, television networks use these figures to determine whether viewers like what they see on television - if a programme rates highly, then it is considered to be popular. Ratings also tell television networks how many people are watching - prime time in the evenings will always rate higher than during the day or overnight. Advertising agencies use the information supplied by AGB Nielsen Media Research to book television advertising time for clients as ratings are a good indication of when and how many people are watching. A general rule of thumb is that the higher a television programme rates, the higher the cost of advertising in that programme will be.

Advertising on TV

Why are there ads on TV?
TVNZ is a commercial broadcaster and its channels need to screen commercials to generate the revenue with which to buy and produce programmes.
TVNZ relies on commercial advertising to fund almost all of its activities.  Less than 5% of TVNZ’s income is supplied by the Government.

Are there controls in place to check the standards of commercials?
TVNZ has no editorial control over the content of advertisements. These are produced by independent advertising agencies on behalf of the company or product advertised. However all TV ads are submitted to TV CAB  - the Commercial Approvals Bureau.

The advertising of alcohol on television and radio is strictly controlled by codes of practice set down by the Advertising Standards Authority. There are also guidelines regarding television advertising in children's programmes. More information about these regulations can be accessed by clicking here


Are there captions available for deaf viewers? How can I watch them?

To access captions on an analogue TV or via Freeview Satellite, press the TEXT button, then page 801. If a captioned programme is screening on that channel at that time, you will see the captions appear.

To access captions on the Freeview HD platform, press the subtitle button on your Freeview remote.

To find out which programmes are captioned, look out for the ear logo at the beginning of programmes or visit 

In April 2013 TVNZ advised that the Captioning service, which is currently operated for all free to air broadcasters by TVNZ, will move to an independent provider before the end of 2013.  Viewers will not notice any change to the service as a result of this move.

Maori Programming

Does TVNZ control the Maori Television Channel?

Both TVNZ and the Maori Television Service are Government-owned, but they operate completely separately.

How do I make a formal complaint?

Click here for further information.


If your question wasn’t addressed here, you might find it in our other FAQ sections:

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