Finally your ABC is available in beaming High Definition (HD) and watching it is easy. If you have the right TV that is.  EFTM has all the details on how to watch ABC HD.

As with Channel 9, Channel 10 and Channel 7 before them, the ABC have moved to switch on HD for their main channel content, while still ensuring that everyone can watch their favourite shows no matter how old their TV.


To recap – the TV stations all have their “main” Channel in SD.  This is because 100% of TVs in Australia can watch good ‘ol SD.

Unfortunately, squashing a HD channel into the allowed “spectrum” (airwaves) just doesn’t work – so the networks have adopted what’s called MPEG-4 technology, this allows them to squeeze a new HD channel into the same space of an SD one.

In the ABC’s situation they are taking away ABC News 24 in HD, and putting it into SD then squeezing the ABC main channel in HD into the left over space – only possible using MPEG-4.

And the real bummer for the networks is that MPEG-4 is only available in newer TVs.  My estimates put that at 70-80% of households.

So, as of December 6, ABC will broadcast the following channels:

Channel # OLD NEW
20 n/a ABC (HD)
21 ABC (SD) ABC (SD)
22 ABC 2/Kids (SD) ABC 2/Kids (SD)
34 ABC News 24 (HD) ABC News 24 (SD)

If you do NOTHING – you’ll just perhaps notice a degradation in the quality of ABC News 24 – and Channel 20 still won’t be on your TV.

If you have a super-new TV, it will retune itself. Presto!

If you wake up tomorrow and wanted to see ABC in HD and go to Channel 20 only to see nothing, hit your TV Menu, Settings and Retune/Rescan.


For those of you who can’t view channels 90, 13, 78 at the moment, you will NOT be able to watch ABC HD (Channel 20) as these are all MPEG-4.

Most people won’t notice.  They’ll keep watching Channel 2, as is the case with Nine and Ten’s simulcast channels – people just forget they are there.

For the full FAQ from the ABC click here