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FAQ's - TV Reception

How can I find out about transmission problems in my area?

For general information or advice about SBS reception, contact our Transmission Services department during business hours (9am - 5 pm AEST) on the toll-free number 1800 500 727. After hours, enquiries can be left on voicemail. Alternatively, you can access the SBS website for information about reception, digital transmission, interference, transmitter sites, frequencies and the self help retransmission scheme.

Is SBS TV received Australia-wide?

More than 96% of Australia is covered by the SBS analogue service, which reaches a potential audience of more than 19.3 million people. The SBS digital service reaches 96.8% of the population. Some areas in regional, rural and remote Australia cannot receive SBS.

What is the difference between an analogue signal and a digital signal?

A digital signal provides a sharper picture and is far superior to the analogue service. With a digital signal, SBS can also offer a greater selection of channels. The following digital services are currently available:

SBS ONE - Standard Definition - Channel 3 (logical channel)
SBS ONE HD - High Definition - Channel 30
SBS TWO - Standard Definition - Channel 32
SBS THREE (for future use) - Standard Definition - Channel 33
SBS FOUR (for future use) - Standard Definition - Channel 34

With digital television, viewers can also listen to SBS Radio on channels 38 and 39.

What is the difference between Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD)?

The SD signal provides a widescreen picture with a picture quality equivalent to a DVD's. The HD signal also provides widescreen pictures, but with an even sharper image.

What if I don't have a set top box or a digital television?

If you only have an analogue television without a set top box you can only receive the SBS analogue service. The Australian Government has announced that between 2010 and 2013 analogue free-to-air TV signals will be switched off and replaced with digital-only signals. This means that once switchover has occurred in the area where you live you will need a television that is able to receive a digital signal. Information about the digital switchover is available on the Get Ready for Digital TV website.

What can I do if my new digital TV/set top box does not receive SBS?

You will have to rescan/retune/reset your digital TV or set top box. If an automatic scan doesn't work, try a manual scan by entering the frequency on which SBS is transmitted in your area (see next question). Digital TV can suffer glitches just like a computer, so you may need to unplug the TV or set top box from the mains power supply, wait for 20 seconds, then plug it in again and rescan. You may also need to check the age and condition of the antenna.

How do I find the frequency and channel call sign for a manual rescan in my area?

Frequency information by state is available on our website.

How do I get SBS TWO?

SBS TWO is available on Channel 32 on your digital TV or set top box. You may have to rescan/retune/reset your TV or set top box to receive it. SBS TWO has different program content from SBS ONE.

I have lost the SBS signal, how do I regain it?

In most cases, rescanning brings back the signal. Otherwise you may have to check your antenna or other electrical appliances, which could cause possibly interference with the signal.

Why does my picture continually break up?

Picture break-up is generally caused by interference to the transmitted signal. This can be caused by to bad weather, construction work in your surrounding area, electrical appliances or antenna damage. The most common solution is to do a manual rescan, but if that doesn't help you will need to call a technician.

How can I receive the SBS satellite service if I'm in a remote location?

To receive SBS by satellite, you will need to purchase a satellite dish and satellite receiver.

The SBS analogue satellite service can generally be picked up anywhere in Australia. The analogue service is available on the Optus C1 satellite.

The SBS digital satellite service is available on Optus D1 satellite, however encryption or future upgrades may make this service unavailable in the future.

What are self help services?

Communities that do not yet receive SBS or do not receive clear broadcasts can establish their own retransmission facilities for the broadcast of SBS and other television and radio services in their area. These services, known as self-help services, are owned and operated by local communities, mostly in regional and remote areas of Australia. To date, more than 300 communities have chosen to fund their own local television transmitter to deliver SBS services under such an arrangement.

Setting up a self help service is a relatively low-cost way by which communities can own and operate their own local transmitter, eliminating the need for households to install large and expensive antenna systems. Besides delivering the SBS television signal, a separate and inexpensive transmitter can be used on the same site and mast to re-broadcast the SBS radio service. SBS operates a Self Help Retransmission Subsidy Scheme to provide financial assistance to eligible communities to set up such facilities. Find out more on the SBS Transmission.

A doggy tale: Inspector Rex gets a lot of letters from viewers. More than one fan has addressed their letter to Rex (the dog) personally and asked for his autograph. We usually send them a Rex fan card. (We're thinking of getting a stamp made up with a paw print on it.)