Free Set Top Boxes for Pensioners – Don’t let this be the next Pink Batt Scheme

I read with interest this morning the story in the Telegraph suggesting the Federal Government was looking to give a free set top box to all pensioners to assist them with the switch over to Digital TV.

What a great idea! – and added to that, the story also indicates the government will include in that assistance the installation and a lesson on equipment use.  Again, Great idea!

However, what are the potential pit-falls of this scheme – click Continue Reading my complete thoughts..

So, what could possibly go wrong?  Well, the pink batt installation scheme also sounded like a great idea, until reality showed a whole stack of new – unskilled installers hitting the market and performing dodgy installations which we are still paying to have cleaned up today.

When the federal budget is handed down this week, I’ll be diving into the detail to see how they plan to prevent a similar sort of rip off / rorting going on.

Almost anyone can install a Set Top Box.  Almost anyone can talk someone though how they use the new gear. How will the government control this, ensuring that only trustworthy and accredited people can perform these installations?

To take the concern to the extreme, we’re talking about not just getting into the roof of the customers home, but spending time in their lounge room, seeing a lot more about the inside of the home and it’s features – not a place we need people who can’t be trusted.

Also, the cost of the scheme needs to be closely controlled – if it’s $300million – make that a cap, or like so many other schemes the cost will blow right out.

I’m all for this, bringing as many people into the digital age as possible, however, the potential for poor quality set top boxes, and dodgy installers is as high as it was with the Pink Batt Insulations scheme – We can only assume the government has learned its lesson on this one.




  1. Andrew Tech Help

    May 8, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Yea, and the other thing is, the government will need to make sure they only give the pensioners HD set top boxes. I’ve been to shops where they try and sell me SD set top boxes (which I think should be illegal), but if they do that, the pensioners will miss out on 1/3 of the channels, including ABC News 24 (which I think people of that age would very much like). HD boxes work with old SD TVs (I know, I have this exact setup), so I hope they’re giving them HD boxes.

  2. Donal Corrigan

    May 10, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Anyone that remembers the huge boom in VCR’s back in the late 70’s & early 1980’s & beyond to the boom in DVD players & later recorders did not have Government’s offering free units to Pensioners or anyone else, let alone installers & follow up help lines.nnTo install a Digital Set Top Box is very similar to installing a VCR or DVD Player & operates in a familiar way too. nnI think today’s Pensioners can do the job on their own having had that self install experience already & if some have problems with their box am sure a relative could do the job in five minutes. n nIf The Government really feel Pensioners need to know about installing, they can include a basic plain English instructional DVD with the HD STB. nnReally I can’t see why The Federal Government want to do this at all, but an even simpler & cost effective alterative would be just to give Pensioners a one off payment for a box only or even for a new TV. nnIn saying that, forgive me for being a cynic but it feels like this Government is trying to keep Pensioners sweet at a time when it’s fortunes are turning very sour.

  3. Ajcaus

    May 10, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Hang on. They could just post all pensioners a $300 cheque that would help them buy a nice new digital TV from there nearest struggling retailer

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