Pensioners to Get Free TV Set-Top Boxes

Since it is a freebies, I think it qualified a post in here!

  1. Wonder why the Government not buying the $99 LED TV for the pensioner, it probably easier for them to use it, much cheaper for support.

  2. Pensioners are going to complain some channels are not receiving because of poor signal, then the Government is going to replacing the Antenna for free too.

  3. What if the pension already have a 50' LED Sony Bravo or on Cable TV, the settop box will still be claimed (you just can't discriminate!), but given to the grandkid bedroom!

(Labor government's program! Sign!)




    Mr Swan told Channel Nine the scheme is for people on the maximum pension rate.
    "We will provide them a set-top box and also someone will come and install it and also instruct them in how to use it," he said.

    In my mother-in-law's case the person who installs it should stay there for when she stuffs the setup up - a very regular occurence. Most recent bit of amusement was when she had the set top box but was still viewing the analogue transmission due to fiddling with the setup. Picture was a bit sub-standard but the real giveaway was no batteries in the remote for the STB.


      Well, your mother-in-law is probably not the type of person that would benefit from this program then. Pensioners do have a choice of whether or not they claim/use the set top box.

      Go buy her a digital ready TV already!


    I'm a pensioner and already have one, not to mention that I generally know more than the person coming around :P I'll just take the box and tell them to leave.

    Anyway, reminds me of when people used to ask me how do they get 'free money' from the government and they wanted to become a pensioner as well…I'd just offer to break their kneecaps. Easy…

  • +1 vote

    Agree with the OP. The cost of buying a full LCD TV and just giving it to a pensioner rather than a settop box and a few hours of tuition has got to make more sense.

    Sheesh a new LCD 32 in TV cost $299, surely they can bulk buy some 24in for around $100 and then there is no real need to train the pensioner. I gave an old set top box to a family friend -a pensioner and "trained" them in its use and gave them a point by point guide to turning it on. They still can't get their head around having to turn the TV on, then the settop box, and which remote they should be using to change the channel and the other for the volume.

    And then in 2 years time they will start to throw them away when the old tube TV dies

    But then I guess they can use pink batt installers to do the job, they have experience in conning pensioners


      Hmm … Give them a $20 set top box or a $100 (the cost would most likely be far higher than that) TV? If you want more rorting to occur as you alluded to with the pink batts, go the TV! Every single pensioner in Australia will claim the TV whether they need it or not; if not they will sell it or give it to family or keep it as a spare TV. Now with a set top box this will occur as well, but far less frequently than if it was a relatively expensive piece of equipment like a TV. If it's only a $20 item they rort then who really cares, the cost to the tax payer is far less.

      The other thing to remember is that, yes, pensioners do have a choice and they don't need to claim/use the set top box if it is not suitable for them. I commend the government for at least trying to do something for the most vulnerable/needy in society. I know for a fact my grandmother would absolutely detest getting rid of her 25 year old colour TV. She's 88 and thinks it's the duck's nuts and she would be lost without it. She doesn't even have a remote so the only difference for her would be manually changing the channels on the set top box rather than the TV itself.

      This scheme also creates employment and hopefully encourages people to be less wasteful by utilising what they already have to help the environment and reduce landfill—and that can't be a bad thing.

  • +1 vote

    The lack of questioning by the media while reporting yet another poorly thought up Government scheme is really sad.


    I know where my grandparent's one is going, straight onto my old CRT in my bedroom. They already have a 50" HD plasma….
    I can see what they're trying to do, "trying" to help the public (and making themselves look good) but really they need to think things over before they do anything. I'm sure hosting a public forum or asking ideas from sites such as OCAU or Whirlpool or DTV Forum wouldn't cost them that much (if anything at all).

    3000th comment Woooohhh!!!

  • -3 votes

    I'd also like to mention, that unfortunately an ill-founded comment is one of the worst things I come across in life. Especially if that person believes it as gospel. This is no 'new' plan, it's been around and has been common knowledge for ages. It's just another smoke-and-mirrors tactic.

    I have some ABSOLUTELY SUPREME skill set's yet still haven't been able to find a decent job under any government (labor or liberal). Even then, the jobs I've been able to get were mind numbing for someone with my intelligence or were fraudulent.

    People bitching and moaning about free set-top boxes are the same ones ignoring the plight of young talented people on pensions like myself…

      • +1 vote

        It was a comment in regards to the amount of whingers bitching and moaning that pensioners are getting a free set-top box that costs maybe $10-15 wholesale…they are just happy to keep s**ting on the most vulnerable in society to make themselves feel better about being stuck in a dead-end job a slave to a mortgage.

        But yes, this plan is not new, it has been around for ages…just the first time it's been really publicised.

  • +2 votes

    As a fairly substantial contributor to the PAYG tax system myself; I actually have no problem with this scheme, as long as it's administered better than the insulation fiasco.

    Let's remember, the aged pensioners have worked all their life & paid their taxes to help build the infrastructure we enjoy today.

    The folks with disabilities, well I'm fairly sure they'd gladly trade their particular disorder or pain for a better, healthier life and the ability to work full time & earn; whaddya reckon, about 4x their meagre fortnightly stipend at a bare minimum?

    The govt wastes more money than this on funding some pretty sketchy ventures, I can assure you! Some of the successful tenders & grant applications I've seen approved would…well, no it probably wouldn't surprise anyone nowadays!

    Take home message from me, give the poor buggers a cheap STB, it won't kill us to fund it! :)

  • +3 votes

    My point isnt that the pensioners shouldn't get help. Its the appropriateness of the help, based on experience. Giving an 70-100 year old two remotes, and having them understand you use one to to turn on the TV, the other to turn on the set top box, then later one to change the channel and the other to change the volume, and each remote has buttons in different places, and then how much time the installer is going to need to train them which is going to be rife for rorting.

    And if they are on the base pension, they are most likely not to have as much experience with technology as someone who has had at least extra money to be dabbling in computers etc

    Experience - yes with pension couple I mention, my mom who died, and also my in laws who we bought a TV for, all had the same problem.

    Do the right thing and give them a Tele. Or at LEAST give them the option of say a set top box or a 24in TV for an extra $50 or 32 in for $100 or what ever.

    A cheap STB (STD) doesnt cover all the channels it really needs a HD device, so again the price difference isn't all that much, especially if bought in bulk. And again give them a choice.

    As for them claiming to box whether they need it or not, isn't the point, how the hell would the govt know they need the TV vs a set top box with the hours of help setting it up, or follow up visits, or did they get it at all. All scheme's can and will be rorted, yes by a minority or even majority unless they put some controls in, so all we can do is hope based on their past idiocy they have learnt something.

    Back to the point - why waste money. DO it right Set top boxes are an interim thing and bloody annoying to use and even more so for someone not technically minded. They will go in and not be used in many cases and they will be landfill.

    As for the CRTs into Landfill - Camelgrass you forget one thing. They are already made, they EXIST they will end up being in landfill (or hopefully recycling) ANYWAY, so that point is mute. AND on the environment, a CRT plus STB uses a lot more power than a LCD TV, and with power costs increasing that's got to affect pensioners as well.

    Finally - why is it that when someone raises a point against a government "initiative" then the defenders come out with - "stop whinging". Learning something from the parliament pit are we?. Discussion and careful consideration of all points makes for better policy and outcomes. Attack the argument not the person.

    BTW according to The Australian, this morning the budget is $308 Million for 2 million units = av of $150 per person, yes there will be some costs for administration etc….


      You raise some good points Pete, I also didn't realise they were only getting SD STB's, that's pretty weak…even the cheap HD ones downscale don't they?

      A buddy has a Soniq one that he reckons does it, so he says he gets all the channels on his old set; not in HD of course, but at least viewable apparently in glorious 4:3 letterbox mode! ;)

      Do the right thing and give them a Tele. Or at LEAST give them the option of say a set top box or a 24in TV for an extra $50 or 32 in for $100 or what ever.

      I'd be ok with that plan too! :)


        SD vs HD, I am not sure of, so we have to wait on that part. I guess I have assumed this, like others above who quote the $29 STB cost. If it is HD then the box will cost more and maybe that's reflected in the $150 av cost. If so it adds more weight to swapping fora TV etc

        You also bring up a very good point, I forgot about, the widescreen reduces the visible viewing on an old CRT so the more standard 26in is probably more like a 22in LCD again meaning a cheaper price for a comparable screen viewing area, for a replacement TV so they get the same experience.


          Set top boxes are an interim thing […]

          Exactly, that's the whole point of this government scheme! When the analogue channels suddenly disappear, those pensioners that don't already have digital will have something to fall back on until they can scrape enough money together for a TV of their choosing (or keep the set top box/analogue TV setup if it is adequate for their needs).

          You have to remember that money doesn't grow on trees. Yes, the set top box is not the ideal solution but government budgeting is nearly always a compromise between the needy and the taxpayer. Ozpete, I think you are FAR underestimating what the cost of decent new TVs would be to the government; far more than $50 over a set top box as you have suggested. Give them a choice? Sure! But processing those choices and payments only adds up to extra admin, therefore more cost. It also opens up the scheme to potentially more rorting than a simple set top box offering.

          I am all for offering brand new TVs to every pensioner in Australia, but I wonder how the average taxpayer would react when the budget for the scheme suddenly doubles or triples. I think Labor have learnt their lesson from the insulation fiasco.

          I am amused regarding your logic about landfill. Ordering a couple million brand new TVs that otherwise would not exist is not contributing to landfill and pollution? Jeez, my grandma's CRT TV has been and is still going strong after more than 25 years.

          Regarding setup, I suggest users get a powerboard that has an in-built on/off switch. So as to not waste power from standby mode and to easily turn on/off both the TV and set top box at the same time, simply flick the switch. Doing it this way not only reduces power consumption, it has the added benefit of that you need only one remote, as the TV and set top box come on together. Most set top boxes come with volume control as well as channel control so there should be no need for the second TV remote.

        • +1 vote

          Well its in the budget and now its based on an estimate of $350-$400 per pensioner - all for a $30 box … Guess that $299 32in TV looks like a better deal (GVA from Goodguys a couple of weeks back)


          That sounds pretty reasonable for the total sum of costs including scheme administration, labour and equipment that will be required. In many cases that will include:

          • Removal of existing antenna
          • Confirm digital reception quality for the best location of new antenna
          • Supply of new digital antenna
          • Installation of new digital antenna
          • Roof Mount
          • Amplifier
          • Outlet cabling
          • Removal of existing wall outlet and replace with new digital wall plate
          • Supply of digital set top box
          • Installation and set up of digital set top box
          • Instructing the user on how to use it
          • Disposal of old antenna and equipment
          • Scheme administration

          Nothing comes for free! Obviously, the set top box is a small part of the total cost. If it was a new TV that they were supplying instead, well, I can see the budget at least doubling (on the conservative side).

          GVA? Nooooo…!


          Yes in circumstances like that the cost maybe justified.

          But lets look at making things more efficient. We have no real idea how many will need to have their antenna upgraded. How may live in flats where its common property etc. In my case I just installed a TV and it works and the antenna is at least 20 years old

          Would it not be better to make an offer like this - Settop box plus antenna installation and training - or a 32in TV - the pensioner decides. I'm not debating the need for this, its trying to get the best bang for the buck and the best outcome. Ironically the $250 milion the govt gave to the TV station owners last year free gratis could have been used to make this even better.

          Yes like everything some will make the wrong choice. NO program can be 100%


          Yes, I completely agree, that would be the better and ideal solution to give them a choice.

          Better bang for buck? Maybe, maybe not. At the end of the day it's always a compromise, cost being the significant factor. Offering the choice of a TV would invariably increase the cost of the scheme significantly. I would rather see that money put towards things like mental health—as the government have done so in this year's budget.


          Although looks like the devil in the detail etc.

          According to the Australian the new antenna isn't part of the deal

          According to the article

          "Residents who require a new antenna and installation will be subsidised by the government with a rebate."


          Interesting, thanks, it would be nice to have more details on the antenna installation.

          Other relevant details:

          It may include a specially developed set top box designed specifically for the scheme which features accessibility options suitable for older people and those with disabilities (so will probably be more expensive than your standard $50 box).

          “We are talking about a quality set-top box that has the right design features so it can be used easily by older people and people with disabilities."

          The included support package means that pensioners have personal on-call support for a full 12 months.

          “It comes with a 12-month support package, so if at any point (pensioners) get confused or something goes wrong and they've lost their television coverage they've got someone to rely on.”

          All these retailers like Kogan, Bing Lee and Harvey Normam "claiming" that they could roll out the same scheme for $50 a pop is a complete joke. It all sounds too much like juvenile posturing among retailers trying to out do each other, while getting cheap exposure at the same time.

        • +1 vote

          "personal on-call support for a full 12 months" That will be a big part of the cost.

          Hope the support staff have a lot of patience. I can hear it now, "What time is Antique Roadshow on today?", "Why is the sound only coming from the right side of my tv? Yes I am deaf in my left ear but…" ;-)


          And the plot thickens or should we stay that our governments current standards still apply

          Sorry but the argument as I originally put still stands - give them the TV, rather than a set top box which isnt a great experience for anyone AND far better value for money.

          I DONT begrudge them helping the pensioner, its the helping of these "contracted" companies to public monies, which could be used to either.

          1. Give the Pensioner more or
          2. Give the taxpayer more - better roads, trains or hospitals

          But I guess now its going to line some mates pockets instead.


          Wow, another "rort" claim from a conservative, populist, sensationalist publication. How surprising!

          It may well be a rort in the end, but let's see some real evidence first. This figure of $350, did they get it from the tender documents or are they just borrowing it from figures thrown around by the media over the last few days?

          It sounds precisely like a "weasel" statement (regarding the $350) in the current context. If in fact it is $350 a pop for a simple set top box installation (ie. not including any other services like 12 month support/antenna installation, etc), well yes, that is far too much. I just wonder what other details in the tender they "conveniently" left out of the article. It's so thin on real tender detail that I can't help but wonder.


          So are we discussing Settop boxes or now worrying about if Party A or Party B look good at an election time.?

          Discuss the program based on the data being supplied to us. Even the TV and other sources and interviews state the amount, which again is not what we originally thought. You were assuming it includes Antenna costs which it doesn't.

          And it looks like the support side maybe rather patchy as well.

          As for evidence of Rorting - isn't that what we want to see NOT happen. Its is OUR money that would be wasted. Money that could go to providing proper support to the needy, not to some mate who has a contract.

          If they listened to the complaints about rorting of those other schemes, early on in the piece, we would have had a lot more money for worthwhile projects like public transport, which would benefit us all and our envirionment


          Discuss the program based on the data being supplied to us.

          Okay, I'll do that.

          Did you see the tabloid paper copy of Friday's The Daily Telegraph? Two-thirds of the front page was taken up with a sensationalist headline and an introduction to the article you referred to (emphasising the $350 figure). It then refers you to page 4 for the rest of the article. Okay, so I turn the front page; and the first thing that catches my eye as I lift the corner of page 3 is a large PAID advertisement at the bottom of page 5. The ad is for a set top box from Harvey Norman—including pricing for the box as well as an option for full installation (obviously for a lot cheaper than the figure of $350 being emphasised in said article). The rest of the article on page 4 is insignificant and overwhelmed with other advertising and news stories.

          So as you can see, this is political whether you like it or not. It can't be avoided in discussing the scheme.

          As I thought, the reporting in the article is incorrect, misleading and unprofessional. The article is being ambiguous on purpose and the publisher obviously has a particular agenda they are pushing.

          Fact: the $350 figure is an average cost for the assistance package per household, not just for a set top box. It also includes:

          • Administration costs for Centrelink to advise people if they are eligible, to set up appointments for installation, follow up phone calls and checks.
          • A set top box which is accessible for the elderly and people with special needs. The Consumer Expert Group was consulted on the appropriate set top box for the Scheme.
          • Installation of the set top box and any re-wiring, antenna adjustment and demonstrations.
          • An in-home warranty.
          • Access to a free hotline for 12 months following installation.

          I stand by what I say, the scheme would end up being significantly more expensive if TVs were supplied instead. Anyway, good new from my 88-year-old grandmother, just yesterday she bought a brand new 42" LCD, replacing her 25+-year-old CRT!


          A nice writeup on the merits of the scheme and the reality of the costs involved:

        • +1 vote

          Yes there are some sensational reporting bias going on - that's with everything nowdays.

          The point I make though is verified by your Gran, and my relo's. Its difficult for them to even work a VCR. They know how to change the channel with a TV remote they have (mostly) worked that out and have experience with that. They can't get their head around using two remotes etc.

          There would be no need for "training" and much of the support if they got a TV. These specialised set top boxes are required so that the pensioner can utilise the older technology and WAS a cheap way to get into digital TV WHEN TV"s were selling above the $800 mark.

          Now they are down in the sub $400 range, AND the govt could bulk buy these, or could provide say a $300 voucher off the price to all pensioners, then they could put that to whatever suits them with their own circumstances and make their own choice.

          But we differ. You think its ok to go the same way as the government has in the past. Trust that it will work, and then let the rorts be proven. Only I think its not well thought out and poor value and outcome.

          What is NOT in debate is the need for assistance in the transition. Hell this govt gave $250 million to the TV moguls for the transition so why cant they assist the pensioners. Just do it the BEST way and no matter what we argue STB are NOT the best way.

          The argument essentially is this. Can a program be designed to deliver more value to the pensioner than to the suppliers? And with some sort of social conscience, I think it should be to the pensioner.

          BTW your mediaspy article discusses points you have been objecting to.

          1. It uses the $350 figure
          2. It also suggests giving pensioners an Option
          3. It says antenna inspection costs are going to be $100, but the govt says its not going to pay for an antenna. Why is the inspection needed? They take a box out, install a box and it works or doesn't then they check the aerial if it doesn't work, its only going to be then they will need to inspect. The owner then needs to get the antenna fixed etc. But this only takes a few minutes - say even 30 minutes, its an additional cost, not a complete separate cost, which would be there if the person had to make a special trip out to check the antenna on its own.
          4. They are rolling this out in areas at a time. Linked to the turning off of analogue which is regionalised, so they will have general knowledge of signal strength in specific areas. They will probably deliver boxes etc to many households at the same time, this is evidenced by the way that have done it in the past, the installers in Vic came from QLD, they travelled down and worked an area. The costs you mentioned are based on one installation at a time.

          And if you really are a supporter of this governement like you indicate, its probably wise, like I do, to counsel them to get the hell out of this, it has the capability to blow up in their face, and if it does work without too much pain, what will they gain out of it. The Risk to their dreams of changing Australia isn't worth giving a few mates some windfall gain.


          It uses the $350 figure.

          I've never objected to the $350 figure. It is in fact quite reasonable for an AVERAGE cost per household to roll out the program in its entirety. I make that claim having an educated idea on what costs and services are actually included in the calculation of the figure. What I do object to is conservative media outlets propogating misinformation and lies.

          You were assuming it includes antenna costs which it doesn't.

          The package is free of charge […] It includes: […] Any necessary upgrades to cabling and antenna systems.


          There are also other documents that suggest cabling, boosters/amplifiers, antennae and satellite dishes are included:

          […] Installation of the set top box and any re-wiring, antenna adjustment and demonstrations.

          […] and whether an antenna or satellite upgrade or adjustment is needed.

          It also suggests giving pensioners an option.

          I am not inherently against giving pensioners an option or choice. But I do query how adding yet another complexity to the scheme would affect the overall budget. If in fact it could be implemented within a similar budget, TVs being offered with a contribution from the pensioner, than I would be all for it. But I am skeptical that it could be achieved. As the author of the mediaspy article suggested, no program is perfect.

          And if you really are a supporter of this government like you indicate, its probably wise, like I do, to counsel them to get the hell out of this.

          Trust me, I am not supporter of any government that treats asylum-seekers worse than animals.

          Yes, you and me should be telling the government how to best run the scheme because we have greater expertise and insight compared to these organisations, right?:

          Consumer Expert Group – Membership

          • Country Women’s Association
          • Vision Australia
          • Indigenous Consumers Assistance Network
          • National Disability Services
          • Media Access Australia
          • Deafness Forum of Australia
          • Australian Communication Consumer Action Network
          • Australian Meals on Wheels Association
          • St Vincent de Paul Society
          • CHOICE
          • Lions Australia
          • Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association
          • Federation of Ethnic Community Councils of Australia

          Consumer Expert Group – External Observers / Associate Members

          • Australian Communications and Media Authority
          • Cultural Perspectives
          • Winangali Pty Ltd
          • Salvation Army

          Endorsement from Vision Australia for the scheme:

          ‘Wasteful’ set top boxes a huge step forward for the blind

          • No talking set top boxes on the market before Household Assistance Scheme trial
          • Some 300,000 Australians are blind or have low vision
          • Government worked with Vision Australia to develop talking set top boxes, allowing everyone to take part in the digital television switchover


          There are also other documents that suggest cabling, boosters/amplifiers, antennae and satellite dishes are included:

          Maybe with all your reading you need to learn how to read spin.

          They DO NOT say supply/replacement of antenna (or even satellite dishes). Tenders are explicit in what is included, open ended tenders are rarely bid for, at least by reputable companies.

          and whether an antenna or satellite upgrade or adjustment is needed.

          Adjustment NOT replacement I am sure you can check the dictionary. AND more importantly the words "including replacement" or even better "including labour supply and replacement when needed"

          And Mr Conroy's comments tell a different story. These are developed for Vision impaired people, 300,000 Blind or near blind people.

          The STB is what the organisations have approved, NOT the program - Read the spin carefully.

          And how does a blind person watch TV. Listen yes but watch? How do they do this with an Analogue TV? Does every pensioner need this? Your Gran doesn't she bought the TV already. And if they really need this shouldn't this be a part of a disabilities scheme rather than a TV upgrade, which some wont get until close to the completion of the phase out.

          Spin lesson 2 read carefully the text. With Spin read what is NOT said rather than what is. Just like a tender. Implied vs implicit is critical to know. Contracts etc are based on what is included, not on whats omitted. Simple - its NOT in the contract is always heard. Try going to court saying "I thought it meant" Hell why are many of our Pollies (inc the PM) ex Lawyers, when it suits they know how to cover every detail…

          The Consumer Expert Group was consulted on the appropriate set top box for the Scheme.

          Vs a simple

          the CEG was consulted AND approved (sanctioned) the appropriateness of the rollout of the Scheme.

          Nothing about the implementation of the scheme. Only Media Access commented on that part and MAA used to be the Australia Caption Centre, so of course they have an interest in this type of STB The devil like everything is in the detail.

          This is new spin. Note the date on the release. Well after we started this discussion.

          BTW I am using your sources in all these….

          Finally as you say the $350 is an AVERAGE figure. That means by definition for each installation the govt is allowing $350. Some will be $200 others $500 all without the antenna replacement.


          The STB is what the organisations have approved, NOT the program.

          Nothing about the implementation of the scheme.

          You need to read more carefully.

          “The HAS is a model for how government programs should be run,“ said Media Access Australia CEO Alex Varley. “It has been designed in consultation with the people it will help and is sensitive and responsive to their needs.”

          "The Scheme was developed in consultation with Vision Australia and received support from a specialist Consumer Expert Group, including Media Access Australia and CHOICE (full membership attached)."

          "This has resulted in over 800 TSTBs being distributed in regional Victoria through Government's Household Assistance Scheme (HAS) and through a dedicated project by International and Stakeholder Relations to ensure that the TSTBs were distributed to Vision Australia clients in the lead up to regional Victoria switching to digital TV in early May."

          These and other statements (if you do more reading) suggest that the organisations do in fact have some influence on the design and implementation of the scheme, not just the set top box.

          Regarding your concerns about how the scheme benefits the disabled and blind (note blind does not necessarily mean they have no vision at all), have a look at these articles and websites in general:

          "The Household Assistance Scheme has also been the catalyst for innovations in television equipment. In the last tender cycle, the HAS included audio menus for blind people and the ability to receive audio description, in anticipation of the audio description trial on the ABC proposed for later this year."

          Some will be $200 others $500 all without the antenna replacement.

          I would argue otherwise.

          "Any necessary upgrades to cabling and antenna systems."

          "The HAS provides a set-top box, installation and an antenna, if needed, to eligible households. These households are usually vulnerable people that are elderly, isolated or have a disability."

          There are also other sources that indicate satellite dishes will be supplied if needed to receive a digital signal.


    Anyone know how you can get a job installing these? Im between jobs and could do this with my eyes closed XD


      Nice link, so in fact this has already been implemented as someone above has said. So why the hell are they announcing it as a budget measure now - typical they have already implemented it and as such it should have budgeted for it

      The dates on the document are as far back as December 2010, so it had been announced and are they are now reintroducing it to make them look good… Sheesh such honesty, no wonder we get to think they are just treating us like fools….


        That's typically how it works ozpete, schemes announced during the previous year are already pre-costed for inclusion in the next year's budget. The government releases more details as the budget release date gets closer (tomorrow). Sometimes the details are already publicly available, it's just that the media only reports on them as the budget release date gets closer.


    Wonder how many pensioners households they think fit the criteria? $300 million / $500 per job (v.generous labour charge!) = 600,000 houses! What the…


      Pretty good money for about an hours work per house! (calculating setup time and also showing them how to use it)


        I can remember timing myself and setting up a Nintendo 64 in 38 seconds, including cabling, powering it on and tuning the tv in…

        Surely a set-top box will take generally the same amount of time. If that's ALL that is needed…that's about $30000 an hour pay rate :P


    Taxpayers the idiots in the great set-top box rollout

    Waste feared in Federal Government's digital set-top box scheme

    Swan's STB solution supported by Sony, labelled waste of money by Kogan

    Wonder if Sony is making a bid for the STB contract ;-)


      I guess Kogan missed out on the tender then. I bet you they wouldn't be complaining if in fact they did win it. ;)

      A company like Sony has more experience and credibilty to make a real-world assessment on what it takes to deliver a scheme like this.


        Sony just wants people to buy their "superior" devices over the others. Kogan want the govt to go cheaper (and possibly buy his instead - at least it saves tax payers $$) ;-)

        Sony says: “This means we want a superior picture, no matter whether we’re surfing the Internet, using Skype or watching 2D or 3D content, whether it’s sourced from digital or IPTV channels, or even from the cloud.” Thank heavens The Govt isn't buying them 3D TVs & a PS3 ;-)

  • +2 votes

    honestly the simplest thing would be to just give a "bonus" payment

    at the end of the day if the recpient does not spend it on a box, then they cannot complain if they have not used it for the purpose its allocated and cannot watch tv

    at the risk of sounding snarky at the end of the day we are talking about TV here, its not a necessity

    I think the money would be better spent elsewhere, hey someone who needs hip surgery might not get it, but at least they can watch tv while bedridden on the 2 year wait list

    I am actually all for broadband access to close the information poor/rich gap - but this is not it

    and yes I know having the TV on can be a comfort to those isolated, but maybe using the money to actually help with the root causes of the isolation?

    Edit : I might add I don't want a debate about my opinion - they tend to deteriorate quickly. But I am curious on others opinions - maybe a post about where you stand on the issue?


    this labour govern talking about green house emission, carbon credit bla bla bla. but they forgot this program also create big carbon pollution, assume there is 1 million people will claim this, and some already got this set top box, they will throw the old one, then this will fill the landfill then create another pollution. they know how to spend money but they really bad for managing the money. if this is came from their pocket, i really want to know if they really wanna spend this $300+ million.

    i am sure you can order 1 million sd set top box in china with the cost only A$20, and i am sure you can setup training centre for 4000 people how to install set top box and the antenna with the cost of training less than $5 million dollar, and ask this person working under government to install these thing. i don't believe it will cost more than $40-$50 million dollar.

    4000 people working for 250 days (1 day = 1 household, with very low efficiency ) = 1 million household/year.

    i am sure there are 4000 foreign student that study in australia that interested if this training program is free for them and they will be more than happy to do the job after finish the training.

    this is how this government can't do manage this country money properly. i wish we have another re-election, but i wish tonny a is not the leader of opposition as well.


      I'm not for this as you can see above, but they do say that those with a STB or DTV can't apply and that they are checking for this fraud.

      • +1 vote

        bs if they can check the fraud, just see in centrelink case, if no one report to centrelink, how centrelink know about people that scam the centrelink for many years.

        i have worked in mortgage industry before, i know some young single mother (less than 23 yrs old) with 5 kids that trying to purchase $300k house just using centrelink payment. do you believe this person doesn't have partner that working with cash on hand income? if they can't fix centrelink, how can i trust this govern to control my tax money.

        i really hope we have voting system, which govern program that get approval from their citizen, it seems with the current system, they got blank cheque from their citizen.


    From the horses mouth (and a very informative artice to boot):

    "If you need any cabling, if you need a new antenna, or your antenna needs adjusting" they do all that explains the Minister.

    Stephen Conroy confirms that satellite dishes will be provided if required. The article also says there are some major black spots even in the capital cities that may require satellite dishes to be installed (not just regional).

    For those that say hardly any antennas will require upgrading, in one area the figure was 22%.

    I hope that we can now leave this antenna debate BS well enough alone.


    I'm a pensioner but i'd rather the money spent on health. Pensioners aren't useless morons. We can sniff out bargains withe best of them.

    $350 cash would go along way in my hands.