Digital delay almost over as viewers get a new mate

HIGH-FLYING AFL action has returned to local TV screens after the 7mate digital channel was finally switched on last week.

The move means Griffith audiences are now just one channel short of receiving the full suite of digital channels, with 7two to start transmission when the analogue signal is switched off in the first week of June.

Griffith is the last commercial licence area in Australia to receive the multi-channels.

For the first three rounds of the AFL competition, local free-to-air viewers were forced to endure an AFL blackout while WIN Television, which holds the MIA broadcast licence, was locked in negotiations with the 7 Network.

But local WIN general manager Greg Murphy said a breakthrough in talks meant 7mate was able to be broadcast in Griffith from last Friday.

“We can now look forward immediately to addition program content, including AFL coverage,” Mr Murphy said.

“Analogue turns off in the first week of June and we will then see 7two commence transmission, completing the roll out of the entire suite of digital signals to the Riverina-MIA.”

He said viewers should not have to rescan their digital receivers to access the new channel.

Long-time digital channel campaigner Martin Gatto welcomed the latest development, saying “an injustice had finally been rectified”.

“Everyone in Australia is entitled to a level playing field and I’m sure people power has played some part in this channel coming earlier than expected,” Mr Gatto said.

“It feels like a weight off of my shoulders.”

The WIN service on channel 81 has been removed and the 7mate signal can be found on channel 60.