The big thing in 2007 on Australian Commercial TV seemed to be HD TV. All the stations claimed they had it, or would soon have it, and with HD TV would come wonders beyond our imagination. Better than going to the movies. Better than watching a DVD. This isn’t just TV – this is HD TV!
In fact, TEN HD claim “TEN HD will deliver the highest possible picture and sound quality to viewers”. Exciting stuff!
So, now we have 7 HD, 9 HD and TEN HD. Oh, and there is the non-commercial ABC HD, which isn’t full HD, and SBS HD that claims to be non-commercial, and we apparently pay for in tax dollars, yet now has commercials and overlays before and after commercials. Someone needs to do something about that – SBS now sucks where once it ruled.
Anyway, so I’m watching HD TV at home, and I look at my receiver. It tells me the sound is “Dolby Pro Logic II“. I’m thinking, “Hold on, if I was watching DVD, I’d be getting Dolby Digital 5.1 for this movie, surely?!”.
Apparently not on HD TV. So I look at all the stations. Nothing is in 5.1. It all seems to be a mixture of 2 or 3 channel sound.
I hunt day and night, random shows, looking for something… anything… in 5.1. I’m about to give up, and then I discover it.
Today. In glorious Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
That’s right. A poorly rating morning talk show on Nine.
And that’s it. As far as I can tell. The only show I could find broadcasting Dolby Digital 5.1 is a talk show. Because a talk show is so much better in Dolby Digital 5.1. Obviously.
I assume there are other shows, but they are damn hard to find. Pretty poor really, but not unexpected when it comes to Australian Commercial Television. Chanced are, if you really care about video quality of your TV, you’ll also care about audio quality. You might as well get a Blu-ray player and buy or hire some Blu-ray movies. The image and sound will be better, and you won’t have to worry about the commercials.
Update – 27th December 2007
I found another one. A Current Affair, also on Nine, is in Dolby Digital 5.1. Yep – another news show that doesn’t need to be 5.1 is in 5.1. Beggars can’t be choosers.
Also checked out all of TEN HD’s Sci Fi line up for the evening. Nothing is shown in 5.1. I actually don’t think TEN broadcast anything in 5.1. Nothing found on 7 HD either. Looks like Nine are the only ones even attempting 5.1 at this stage.
Read Part II of this article.