One of the best sporting events on TV is underway overnight in Australia, The Ashes. Sadly there’s a bunch of people struggling with why they can’t watch the live coverage on the Nine Network. EFTM has the answers, and hopefully the solution.

There’s a few reasons you might not be able to watch the GEM Channel. GEM is the Nine Network’s High Definition channel, and some people receive their TV in different ways.


Have you got Foxtel?

GEM is Channel 209 on Foxtel, however not all Foxtel customers can receive it.

If you only have the Standard Definition Foxtel package you are not able to view any of the HD channels. This includes the HD versions of Foxtel content, as well as the re-transmission of the Free-To-Air HD channels.

If you have the HD Foxtel package, but receive your Foxtel via a Satellite dish – doh! – No free-to-air HD channels for you! Sadly, the delivery of TV channels via Satellite is a very expensive exercise, and while I’m not sure who pays for what, I can’t imagine Channel 9 needs to pay more to deliver their channels to Aussie homes via Foxtel Satellite when all their channels are available free-to-air to all Aussie homes already (more on that soon).

So, the only Foxtel subscribers who can watch GEM are those with a HD subscription, HD IQ box (IQ2 or IQ3) and receive their Foxtel via Cable.

Oh, one little update – the IQ3 box for Satellite customers has an extra trick inside. It has DTV tuners – so when you choose channel 209 – you WILL get GEM!


Sorry to rub it in – but that’s me:)

Good news though. If you have Foxtel – you don’t have to watch ALL your TV through it! You can just switch back to your DTV input and get the good old-fashioned Free-to-air TV experience.

Frankly, every Foxtel customer should do this immediately, just to test it – because one day if there is a Foxtel outage, or perhaps you cancel your Foxtel – you’ll be able to jump straight back into the many Free-to-air channels.

To test and check, press the INPUT button on your TV remote (might also just be a TV button). Then you can use the number pad to navigate channels. 9 for Channel 9, 3 for SBS, and so on.

If you don’t see any channels, jump into the Menu and do a full AutoScan or AutoTune.

Once that’s done, tune to channel 90 for the Ashes!

No channel 90? See below:

No Foxtel? How old is your TV?

The problem with HD channels (and the reason most of your live sport is not on them) is that there are still people out there with older TVs that don’t receive HD. Imagine you bought one of the early Digital TVs. Great panel, great picture, but no HD Tuner inside. This means that it will either skip the HD channels, or will show a “signal error” on the HD channels. To test this, check if you can watch Channel 73, 24, 30, 90 and 11.

If you don’t receive any of them – your TV is probably SD only.

Good news, you can buy a simple Set-top-box, or perhaps a new PVR like Fetch TV and that will receive all the channels for you, including HD – it just won’t display the picture on your TV in full high-definition.

Finally, if you’re receiving some HD channels and not others (lets say you can’t see Channel 90, but can see Channel 24, or 73) there’s probably an issue with your antenna. To confirm this, do a full retune on your TV (Menu > Auto Tune in the Channel settings), and if it still is missing some channels (most likely it will be missing all the channels for a single network (9, 90 and 99)), you should get someone out to look at and potentially adjust or replace your antenna.

GEM is a free-to-air channel available to ALL Australians. Turn off your Foxtel, check your TV and get your TV ready for all the Free-to-air channels now, the Ashes is the best reason you’ve had for a long time!