Cable TV and Pay TV in Australia FAQ 

Section 5: What is it like? 

5.1 Where can I see pay TV? 

If you don't have a friend or relative who has pay TV, you may be able to see it at some major TV/video/electrical stores around Australia.

Galaxy TV has been on display at the following stores (only in areas where Galaxy is available):

Myer/Grace Bros., Billy Guyetts, Chandlers, Retra Vision, Vox Megastores, Radio Rentals (Adelaide Only), Errol Stewart, but only in places where Galaxy is available.

However, many of these stores have stopped displaying Galaxy programs.

CNN and CNBC Asia Business News can be seen in a number of hotels in Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns. These are most likely to be first class (4 or 5 star) hotels.

Foxtel is sold through various Telstra Mobilenet dealers, so it may be viewable there (not sure on this).  Foxtel cann also be seen at Myer's Melbourne City store.

Optus Vision is sold through Optus World stores, but once again, I am not sure if it can be viewed there. 

5.2 Where can I find a program guide listing the programs on pay TV channels? 

So far, many Australian newspapers and TV guides have virtually ignored pay TV and not listed any of their programs, while others only list some channels.

All Galaxy subscribers can receive a monthly program guide listing programs on all Galaxy channels, plus TeleItalia andNew World Television, at additional cost. These program guides are available from various stores at $2.95 each. 

Foxtel subscribers also receive a monthly guide. Foxtel program guides are also available at some newsagencies for $3.95. 

Optus Vision subscribers also receive a monthly guide. Optus program guides are also available at Optus World stores for $3.95. 

In Melbourne, the Age Green Guide (available in The Age on Thursdays) includes pay TV highlights, featuring selected programs on Foxtel and Optus Vision each week. The Herald Sun's weekly TV Guide (comes with the Herald Sun on Wednesdays) lists Foxtel highlights. 

TV Week now includes program listings for pay TV channels.

5.3 What's the situation with cable modems? Will I get 10 Mbit/s access to the internet via cable? 

Several Cable TV companies in the US have used their networks to deliver high speed access to the internet via cable. Telstra has launched a cable modem service over its cable TV network (which delivers Foxtel channels) in a few limited areas.  Optus Vision plans to launch a similar service some time in 1997. They claim that subscribers will have up to 500 Kbit/s access to the internet through their service. However, other newspaper reports have mentioned modem manufacturers talking about speeds of 64, 128, up to 384 Kbit/s. Access rates in the future could rise to 8Mbit/s or 30 Mbit/s. 

One way of offering ethernet over a cable TV network that I know about is a standard called 10Base36, which turns 36 Mhz of cable TV bandwidth (the space occupied by 6 US TV channels or just over 5 Australian TV channels) into a 10 Mbit/s ethernet network that can span an entire city. 

Other methods can squeeze 10 Mbit/s to 36 Mbit/s downstream into two TV channels. 

5.4 Is Pay TV available in stereo? Does xxx broadcast in stereo? 

All pay TV services in Australia broadcast in stereo.  All set top units can provide a stereo audio signal to the TV or VCR.  However, this depends on how you connect the set top unit to the TV or VCR. 

There are two way of connecting a set top unit to a TV or VCR.  These are: 

All current (i.e. analogue) MDS and cable TV set top units  in Australia send a stereo TV signal down the RF output, but they only have one audio output, which means you have to use the first method above to receive stereo TV via cable or MDS. 

The digital set top units used for receiving pay TV from the Optus satellite have two audio outputs, which means that pay TV can be received in stereo using the second method above.  However, because the set top units come from the UK, which uses a different method for encoding stereo onto the RF output, I don't know if the signal that is sent on the RF output (using the first method above) is in stereo or not. 

When digital cable TV and MDS systems become available, they will contain two audio outputs, enabling stereo output using the second method above. 

5.5 Where can I find out more about pay TV in Australia on the net 

The best newsgroup to read is The number of articles with info and questions about Australian pay TV has increased significantly over the past few months. 

Other newsgroups worth reading include the worldwide cable TV newsgroup, the worldwide DBS satellite newsgroup (mainly US DBS actually), and the Australasian satellite TV newsgroup

WWW sites: 
The author has a cable TV and pay TV page at containing links to this FAQ, some pay TV channel homepages, some pay TV service homepages, and some other pages. 

TV Net - a comprehensive site with extensive lists of TV stations and networks around the world, and much more. I recommend this site for people on both sides of the small screen. - 

Pay TV Online - a site devoted exclusively to pay TV. - 

Where's the Remote! Homepage - contains program listings for Galaxy channels and episode guides to some programs on Galaxy. - 

JJ's Pay Television Australia information compilation - a list of cable TV and pay TV services and channels in Australia. - 

Cable Networks In Australia - another list of cable TV and pay TV networks in Australia. - 

Australian Television Guide - an Australian capital city TV guide on the Web. - 

National TV Guide - another Australian capital city TV guide on the Web. - 

Tony's Melbourne TV Grid Guides - includes listings for Foxtel channels. - 

Television Schedules of the World. - - with links to TV schedule WWW sites around the world. - 

J.J.'s Science Fiction and Fantasy page - weekly listings of science fiction and fantasy programs on Australian TV (what a big difference a little pay TV can make :-). - 

J.J.'s TV page - another TV page, featuring links to free to air and pay TV pages. - 

Cable Datacom News - newsletter & information about cable modems. - 

The Australian Satellite Television Homepae - contains information on what can be received via satellite from Australia. - 

Here are some official cable TV and pay TV channel homepages: 

Here are some cable TV and pay TV service homepages: