Research on users’ views of DTV in Australia

Just came across a conference paper (available as a pdf file here) by Deakin University academic Dr Nina Weerakkody given at the 2007 Computer Science and IT Education Conference in Mauritius in November 2007. The abstract:

Australia adopted digital TV (DTV) on January 1, 2001 but due to slow adoption by end users, the deadline to discontinue the analog signal has so far been postponed twice.
This paper examines the history and current status of DTV adoption in Australia with reference to theories of adoption and diffusion and the Justification Model of Technology and why end users appear reluctant to adopt-in spite of affordable converters.
End user opinions are examined on ‘why they do not adopt’ and ‘what may encourage them to adopt’, using public submissions to the 2005 parliamentary ‘Inquiry into the uptake of digital TV in Australia’.
The paper advocates relevant media literacy programs to address the low public awareness of
DTV and its benefits because its rejection may result in less affluent end users losing the chance to receive a range of convergent services in the future via the ubiquitous and affordable television.
Keywords: Digital TV, Australian media, High Definition TV (HDTV), adoption and diffusion
of new technology, media policy and regulation, diffusion of innovations, discourses and their
framing, media literacy, digital broadcasting, technology and power.

It precedes the federal election and change of government, but is of interest for its focus on users’ views, its proposals for media literacy programs, and its notes about future research that the author intends which will involve surveys of users about DTV adoption, focus groups with non-adoptors with two or more working TVs at home, interviews with current adoptors, about reasons for (non)adoption, incentives to adopt, and improvements to future services.

User views are certainly a neglected area in the DTV debates – as the author observes, the 2006 DCITA discussion paper Meeting the Digital Challenge (which is available here as a pdf file)

was the result of more than a year of closed door consultations with Australia’s most powerful media moguls. But ‘An inquiry into the uptake of digital TV in Australia’ by the House Standing Committee on Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, that had attracted 96 submissions by December 2005 (Parliament of Australia, 2005), only allowed three months for public submissions.


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