Free to air television is pretty limited in Australia compared to other countries. Essentially there are only 5 networks and each has one or two channels. The content is often repeated between channels and therefore more channels does not mean more content.
Free to air television is classified according to its content and age suitability. A ‘G’ rated program is suitable for all ages and a ‘PG’ rated program is suitable for viewing with parental guidance. The classification for each program is broadcast before the program starts. It’s also listed in television guides.
Cable is also available in Australia. Cable offers numerous channels for a wide range of interests. To watch cable, you need to subscribe and pay a subscription fee. There is no satellite television in Australia.
Free To Air
SBS: Publicly run channel for multicultural Australia. Many of the programs are from all over the world including from non-English speaking countries. Languages other than English are subtitled. Excellent world news bulletin.
- SBS HD: SBS in High Definition.
- ABC 1: Public national broadcaster with local news and current affairs. Broadcasts many BBC and UK programs. Commercial free. News and current affairs are of a high standard.
- ABC HD: ABC’s in High Definition.
- ABC 2: An ABC channel with many music, youth programs and documentaries.
- Seven: Entertainment, news and current affairs. Many popular American programs. Commercials.
- Seven HD: Channel Seven in High Definition.
- Nine: Entertainment, news and current affairs. Many popular American programs. Commercials.
- Nine HD: Channel Nine in High Definition.
- Ten: Entertainment, news and current affairs. Many popular American programs. Big event entertainment. Commercials.
- One HD (owned by Ten): 24 hour sports channel.
- One Digital (owned by Ten): 24 hour sports channel. Both Australian and international sports.
- TVS: Community television.
- NITV: National Indigenous television.
Cable TV is available in Sydney at very reasonable prices which most families can afford. The price depends on the length of the contract, installation and what package you have selected. You can spend anywhere from $10 to $130. On average, households spend around $80 a month. Packages vary depending on the provider, so visit their websites to see which programming best suits you and your family’s requirements.
To connect cable you can normally do it over the phone or online. A technician will come out and connect the service which will usually take a week or two. There is no need to go into an office to sign up.