The ACMA’s response concluded that any trial of 3DTV or other emerging television technologies, such as audio description, by major networks on available television spectrum should not be longer than one month and should safeguard consumer interests.
The discussion paper, released in September 2010, looked at whether or not Channel B (a television channel which is not currently in permanent use by any broadcaster) should be used solely for trials of 3DTV or should also allow trials of other emerging technologies. Audio description was clearly identified as an ‘emerging technology’.
Media Access Australia responded to the discussion paper arguing that using Channel B only for 3DTV would prevent the major television broadcasters from conducting trials of audio description. Blind Citizens Australia made a similar submission.
The ACMA currently responds to requests for use of Channel B based on the following guidelines:
- Trials must be short (not longer than a month) and only be as long as necessary to cover a relevant event.
- A clear break must occur between trials
- Broadcasters are required to protect consumer interests, such as properly advising consumers that trials of technologies such as 3DTV are temporary
- It follow its own guidelines if two competing applications for spectrum are made
- It follows its own guidelines on applications for temporary spectrum licences
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