Another First for Nine Network Australia
At 10:00am on Friday July 9, 1999, TCN Sydney became the first television station in Australia to transmit a Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcast (DTTB) signal compliant with the High Definition Television (HDTV) standard for Australia. The signal was broadcast on Channel 8 in accordance with a digital transmission licence issued by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA).
Equipment which complied with the DVB-T, HDTV 50Hz standard for both video and audio, consisted of a Sony HD-Cam digital VTR (HDW-F500), a Sadi non-linear digital editor, a Sony digital multi-track PCM 800 recorder, a NDS digital HDTV 50Hz encoder, a Dolby 5.1 AC-3 surround sound encoder, a NDS COFDM modulator and a Harris transmitter.
The service which involved HDTV pictures and six channel surround sound was encoded at a transport rate of 19.35Mb/s and was then radiated from TCN's 300 metre tower adjacent to its Studio complex at Willoughby.
TCN had previously established itself in November 1996 as the first licensee in Australia to broadcast a DTTB service during the evaluation and subsequent selection process leading to the adoption of the DVB-T standard for Australia.
Bruce Robertson, Executive Vice President of Engineering of the Nine Network said that he wished to thank the many equipment manufacturers and their representatives who provided invaluable assistance in the successful outcome of the project. It is intended that the service will be broadcast as a test transmission service for the foreseeable future.
Mr Robertson further said that over the next few years the Australian public will see a revolution in the quality of over the air television services. Not since the advent of colour television in the early 1970's will viewers see and hear such a dramatic change in the quality of signals that they will receive. In fact, the move from analogue technology to digital promises to be a quantum leap in broadcasters ability to provide a television picture with more clarity, superior sound and less interference.