How to get your free talking set-top box

Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:27pm

Blind or vision impaired people who receive the Disability Support Pension will now be given a free talking set-top box as part of the switchover to digital TV. These devices assist viewers in navigating through menus, program guides and settings, and will be able to receive audio description once the trial on the ABC commences in August.

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy, announced the decision in a media release.“After a successful trial in Victoria, talking set-top boxes will be made available to eligible recipients who receive a maximum rate pension because they are legally blind, or because they care for a child who is legally blind,” Senator Conroy said.

For those who are wondering how to take part, Centrelink will send a letter to those eligible for the Household Assistance Scheme about six months before analogue TV is to be switched off in their area. People need to write back in order to opt in to the scheme, and people who are legally blind or a carer of someone who is legally blind will be automatically given a talking set-top box.

Once you have opted in to the scheme, a service contractor will call you to make an appointment to provide free installation at your home. They will also provide a demonstration on how to use the technology. The set-top box will be under warranty for 12 months after its installation.

For the the four areas that have already had analogue TV switched off, the Digital Switchover Taskforce is currently in discussion with disability support groups to assist with the distribution and installation of the new talking set-top boxes.

For more information on the switchover and your eligibility, go to the Household Assistance Scheme webpage, or call 1800 20 10 13. You can also check your eligibility by calling Centrelink on 1800 556 443between 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

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