Aussies try to boost Digital TV use

Free electronic guide to all except Foxtel

SYDNEY — Aussie free-to-air webs will launch a free electronic program guide covering all free webs in the coming months.

Move is aimed at encouraging the take-up of digital TV, which is slow Down Under, and will allow viewers to more easily use PDRs to record shows.

“Free-to-view digital television is an open platform — available to every household in Australia,” said Julie Flynn, topper of industry body Free TV Australia. “In the same spirit, we believe all consumers should be able to access our electronic program information.”

But in an interesting twist, that spirit does not extend to paybox Foxtel, which will not be allowed access to the guide. Foxtel, which is part-owned by Nine Network parent company PBL Media, does not carry an EPG for Seven and Ten, although it does broadcast the channels.

A spokesman from Ten told Daily Variety, “Foxtel is a separate matter and Ten’s discussions with Foxtel continue.”

For now the one in four households that use feevee to access free-to-air channels will have to buy an additional digital set-top box or continue getting the program guides the old way — via the newspaper.

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