Viewer Access Satellite Television
In areas of Australia where the terrestrial DTV signal is is not available, viewers may wish to install Viewer Access Satellite Television or VAST.
VAST provides digital television and radio services to viewers in regional and remote areas of Australia; as well as viewers who are unable to receive digital TV through their normal antenna.
The VAST service provides all the channels for SBS, the ABC and the Commercial Television Networks.
Visit https://www.mysattv.com.au/ to learn how to apply for VAST and how to get a satellite dish and a VAST set top box receiver installed.
Cannot Get Ch31 SBS VICELAND or Ch32 SBS World Movies?
Important MPEG-4 Compatibility Advice
SBS HD Ch30, SBS ONE HD, Ch31, SBS VICELAND, & Channel 32, SBS World Movies, compatibility with older TV sets, Set Top Boxes or Video Recorders.
Since 2014 MPEG-4 H.264 is the most widely used compression format for distribution of high quality video content.
If you are using an older TV receiver, recorder or set top box and find that you cannot watch or record the SBS channels 30, 31 and 32, the TV, set top box or recorder you are using might not be compatible with the aforementioned MPEG-4 H.264 format and can only decode the older and less efficient MPEG-2 format.
To test if that is the case:
- Push 3 on the numeric keypad of your remote control. SBS ONE SD should display correctly on your screen.
- Now push 30. If you see a black screen or an error message like "invalid channel" or can only hear the audio, the receiver may not be MPEG-4 compatible. Let's make sure.
- Push 31. Same result? If yes...
- Push 32. Same result? If yes...
- Push 33. Now if you should see the picture again. This is SBS Food by the way...
If your test results are like all of the above, you can be pretty sure your TV receiver is NOT MPEG-4 compatible.
Before doing anything else though, we recommend to contact your TV or set top box manufacturer, provide the device model number and ask if that particular model is MPEG-4 compatible and, if not, if they can provide a firmware update to solve the issue.
If MPEG-4 incompatibility is confirmed by the manufacturer, you have two ways to resolve the issue:
- Install a digital set top box. Digital set top boxes are available from around $50 in any good electronics store and are fairly easy to install and setup.
- Upgrade your TV, Set Top Box or Video Recorder.
SBS Electronic Program Guide Update
SBS EPG Enhancements
In order to add Consumer advice to all SBS channels and Country of Origin for SBS World Movies in the Electronic Program Guide (EPG), on 2nd December 2019 SBS has made the following changes for Free-To-Air (FTA) Terrestrial and VAST satellite platforms (NOT for FOXTEL or FETCH TV):
The program synopsis has been moved from ‘Short Event Descriptor’ to ‘Extended Event Descriptor’ in the Event information Table (EIT) that’s used by the Digital TVs and receivers to display the EPG.
The ‘Short Event Descriptor’ now contains Consumer Advice and Country of Origin information for relevant programs.
Some old TV sets may not be compatible and therefore, won’t able to display the program synopsis which is now under ‘Extended Event Descriptor’.
This incompatibility can only be addressed by the manufacturer. SBS recommends viewers with affected receivers to contact the manufacturer, report the issue and ask if a firmware update will be available to fix it.
Television Classification & Consumer Advice on SBS Programs and Guides
SBS classifies programs broadcast on SBS Television and SBS On Demand (with the exception of news and current affairs and sports programs) to ensure they are suitable for broadcast and to inform audiences about the nature of the content. SBS’s television classification standards are set out in Code 4 of the SBS Codes of Practice.
SBS provides advice on the principal reasons for an M and MA15+ classification at the start of the relevant programs on SBS’s television service and in conjunction with the relevant programs on SBS On Demand.
SBS may provide other appropriate consumer advice at the start of a program. In particular, SBS will provide appropriate consumer advice at the start of a PG classified program where SBS considers that the program contains material of a strength or intensity which SBS reasonably believes parents or guardians of young children may not expect.
Consumer advice is indicated on the SBS Guide next to the classification category (M, MA15+ and in some cases PG) using the following letters and key:
A – adult themes
D – drug references
H – horror
L – language
N – nudity
S – sexual references
V - violence
SBS Radio Services On DTV
SBS PopAsia, SBS PopDesi and a refresh of SBS Radio 3 are now available on digital television.
SBS Radio 3 will broadcast world news and current affairs from the BBC World Service (previously airing on SBS Radio 4 on Digital Radio) and special events coverage. BBC World Service is the world's leading international radio broadcaster providing a global perspective on news, reports and analysis.
VAST (Viewer Access Satellite Television) audiences will now have access to all SBS Radio services – SBS Radio1, SBS Radio2, SBS Radio3, SBS Arabic24 and music channels SBS PopAsia, SBS PopDesi and SBS Chill.
All Foxtel satellite and cable platform users will now have access to SBS Radio 1, SBS Radio 2 and SBS Chill.
Some viewers may be required to retune their televisions in order to receive the newly launched 24 hour audio channels. Other televisions will automatically detect changes to the channels and retune.
While all SBS digital radio stations are now available on Digital TV, the two new music stations SBS PopAsia and SBS PopDesi will only be accessible using MPEG-4 compatible televisions. Most televisions, Set Top Boxes, Personal Video Recorders or (PC Tuner Cards) purchased from 2009 onward will most likely be compatible.
Non-compatible devices will continue to access existing SBS Radio services on LCNs 36, 37, 38 and 39 and the new SBS Radio 3 service with BBC World Service content on LCN 303.
Changes to The SBS Satellite Distribution Signal Frequencies
SBS Transition from DVB-S to DVB-S2 Transmission Standard
Please be advised that SBS has transitioned from DVB-S to DVB-S2 transmission standard for its satellite distribution signal carried on Optus D1. The re-transmission DTV facilities which are taking input from Optus D1 for SBS will have to upgrade their satellite receivers to be able to receive the SBS DVB-S2 input signal.
Refer to the table below for DVB-S2 satellite receiver input parameters:
Old Frequency (GHz)
Current Frequency (GHz)
Digital TV & Reception Advice FAQs
Digital television (DTV) is the transmission of audio and video by discrete (digital) signals. Digital means it has high picture and stereo sound quality.
Standard Definition(SD) vs High Definition(HD)
Both standard and high definition television are digital formats. Standard definition (SD) television provides digital images and sound that is considerably better than analog. High definition (HD) television is an enhancement that provides higher resolution images.
HD has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD.
Standard-definition DTV broadcast resolutions
720 x 576 pixels
High-definition DTV broadcast resolutions
1920 x 1080
MPEG4 H.264 as 2014 is the most commonly used compression standard for distribution of video content today.
IMPORTANT: If you are using an older TV and cannot watch the SBS HD channels (30, 31 and 32) on it, it is because the TV is not MPEG4 compatible and can only decode the older MPEG2 standard. The quickest and easiest way to resolve the issue is to install a digital set top box or, alternatively, upgrade the TV.
SBS is available on free to air digital TV as follows:
SD or HD
SD 720 x 576i
SBS ONE HD
HD 1920 x 1080i
SBS VICELAND HD
HD 1920 x 1080i
SBS WM HD
HD 1920 x 1080i
SD 720 x 576i
SD 720 x 576i
36 & 304
MPEG-1 Layer 2
SBS Radio 1
37 & 301
MPEG-1 Layer 2
SBS Radio 2
38 & 302
MPEG-1 Layer 2
39 & 306
MPEG-1 Layer 2
SBS Radio 3
MPEG-1 Layer 2
Enquiries regarding only SBS reception should be referred directly to SBS Audience Relations on the freecall number 1800 500 727, or alternatively by emailing email@example.com. Please provide a contact phone number with the area code, your location and postcode, a brief description of the problem you are experiencing and the duration of the problem. Without contact information, it is very hard to follow up a complaint.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does my picture continually break up?
Picture break-up (pixelation) is generally due to low signal level or signal interference. Common causes are faulty antenna cabling and connections, bad atmospheric conditions, or electrical appliances operating in the area. The most common solution is to retune the TV, but if that doesn't help you will need to call an antenna technician.
How do I get the best digital reception from my TV aerial?
Always use a qualified antenna technician to install and maintain your antenna system. If you are in an area where the signal strength is low, you may need a high-gain aerial for the best reception. Again, a qualified antenna technician can take exact signal level measurements and advised accordingly.
Your DTV antenna should ideally be mounted outside and as high up as possible. It must be pointing in the right direction towards the best local transmitter. The antenna, cables and connections need to be ,maintained in good conditions - cables and connections in particular can become corroded, especially if you live near the sea. For best performance, a maintenance check should be scheduled at least every five years.
I have lost the SBS signal, how do I get it back?
To restore missing channels, you need to retune your digital receiver (set top box or TV).
The instructions below are basic and not related to any specific receiver brand. Menu descriptions and labels may vary depending on your equipment.
Push Menu or Home button on remote control
Select Settings, Setup, Channel, Broadcast or Installation
Select Digital Setup
Auto scan or Auto tune will appear,
Select and Press OK
It will take few minutes for the tuner to re-scan all the frequencies available in your area. The scan will search for all the channel and restore it in your Digital TV or receiver memory.
For specific retuning instructions, consult your equipment manual.
In most cases, retuning the TV solves the issue. Otherwise you may have to reset your antenna connection cable and retune again or get a qualified antenna technician to check your antenna system if there are no TV reception issues in the area.
Could trees be affecting my TV reception?
It's possible, especially if there are large trees obstructing the line of sight between your TV antenna and the transmission site. The TV signal travels in a straight line from the transmitter to the antenna and does not bend well around large objects such as trees. The signal may fluctuate in wet or windy weather. Trees can act as a barrier to the signal, with the resulting in a pixilated or frozen digital TV picture.
How can I receive the SBS satellite service if I'm in a remote location?
Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) provides digital television to viewers in remote areas of Australia who are unable to receive digital TV through their normal TV antenna due to local interference, terrain obstacles or lack of signal from the transmitter in the area.
What equipment do I need?
To access VAST you will need to buy a VAST certified satellite set top box and a satellite dish of at least 65cm diameter. Contact your satellite dish installer to determine the best dish size for your specific location. Access to VAST is controlled by the smart card supplied with your satellite set top box. To access VAST you will need to register your details including your address, reception location and smart card number at the following site: http://www.mysattv.com.au/
The SBS Self Help Retransmission Subsidy Scheme
The SBS Self Help scheme can assist small communities that do not currently have access to SBS TV or radio programs to provide retransmission of SBS programming in their local area, by providing funding assistance for the cost of setting up a local retransmission facility.
Please see information on the revised guidelines below.
The SBS Self Help Retransmission Subsidy Scheme can now provide up to 100% funding assistance for the establishment of an SBS Radio service up to a ceiling of $25,000 and 75% of the actual establishment costs for Digital Television up to a ceiling of $30,000. Where a Self Help transmitter provides a good coverage for at least two communities, the funding can be raised up to $50,000. Effective from the 1st of January 2007, applicants for radio subsidy are required to obtain two competitive quotes. Apart from these changes, the information in the booklet explaining the Self Help process and the SBS Subsidy Scheme remain unchanged. Applicants are reminded that the operation of any Self Help service does require a broadcasting licence from ACMA, and in some cases ACMA may not be able to find an available channel for your area. In such circumstances, the service may not commence and no subsidy will be provided. In summary, Self Help Retransmission is a scheme that offers a way for communities to obtain SBS radio and/or television more quickly than might otherwise be provided through full Federal Government funding.
The SBS Self Help Retransmission Subsidy Scheme is administered entirely by SBS, and can include financial assistance with the purchase of such items as transmitters, aerials, satellite antennas (dishes) and receivers, huts, towers, cabling, spare parts, mains power connection fees and installation costs.
If you would like to talk to someone at SBS concerning Self Help radio and television please feel free to contact us at:
Self Help Retransmission Subsidy Scheme
Locked Bag 028
Crows Nest NSW 1585
Or by calling free of charge on 1800 500 727, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
The information booklet is available for download in Acrobat PDF format by clicking on the links below. Hard copies of these booklets and further information on the Self Help Scheme can be obtained by contacting SBS Transmission Services on 1800 500 727.
Click here to download the SBS Self Help Subsidy Guidelines document