Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST)


A couple of recent changes to the radio services. ABC Extra now ABC KIDS. Vintage FM, 6WR and one of the Vision stations are new.

Edit: Turns out Vintage FM just launched on VAST yesterday!


ABC Extra became ABC KIDS listen on DAB+ back in February, so I presume the same thing happened with the station on VAST at that time.


Very curious about TV channel names but in some towns/regional cities like Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Esperance and Broome do they name the channels with the towns on it e.g.
5 - Nine Albany
6 - GWN7 Albany
8 - WIN WA
50 - GEM Albany
55 - GO! Albany
62 - 7TWO Albany
63 - 7Mate Albany
80 - WIN HD WA


From what I’ve seen there are no location names on any WA terrestrial channels.


The Department of Communications and the Arts is undertaking a review of the VAST service and is seeking input from members of the public.

They are taking submissions up until 1700hrs AEST on June 22.

May be a good opportunity to raise issues or concerns that you may have with the service in general or other specifics. That doesn’t include complaints about Southern Cross Television having crappy on screen graphics or WIN refusing to bow down to MS users and rebrand to Ten :thinking:


How about a mix of using all the free unused bandwith and abolishing SD simulcasts for new HD channels?


Good opportunity to let them know about its flaws as a service!

Here’s my submission:

Feedback on VAST

  1. In what ways is the VAST service appropriate for delivery of television in areas without reliable terrestrial coverage?

There is no other way to deliver free-to-air television for free to households. Internet is another platform, but the quality of service still varies in the regions VAST covers and a viewer must be paying for it. I would imagine the majority of VAST viewers would have access to NBN satellite or fixed wireless, both of which are limited in bandwidth when compared to copper and fibre technologies.

  1. Are the current range of TV and radio services offered appropriate?

No. VAST is meant to replicate the services received in terrestrial areas. Southern Cross, Imparja, Prime and WIN have still not launched additional multi-channel and HD services. VAST viewers are now at the same place they were with it’s predecessor Optus Aurora - missing channels and a lesser service than metro areas.

The duplication of SBS services is also unnecessary in my opinion. While the ABC converted their existing ABC SD services to HD without having to simulcast both, the SBS HD service remains as a separate simulcast from SBS ONE (SD) despite carrying the exact same programming. I believe this is a huge waste of satellite bandwidth and would be put to far better use - perhaps to split Food Network into 5 timezones like Viceland, ABC Comedy/Kids and ABC ME?

SBS also lack SBS Viceland HD, only carrying the SD versions.

Other services such as EPG and radio are appropriate and offer VAST viewers an exceptional experience.

  1. To what extent are VAST set-top boxes meeting the needs of viewers?

The boxes on the market today are robust and of top quality. But the lack of integrated internet TV services is troubling. The Humax VAST set-top box did attempt to bring catch-up TV and VAST together in one device, but has since dropped support for iView and I believe no longer manufactures these boxes. I would like to see an Android-based media device launched with VAST certification to not only give viewers a similar level of service to those in the city or built up regional areas, but to also give the broadcasters a fair playing field while we transition to internet-based television.

  1. To what extent do the regional commercial news arrangements on VAST meet the needs of viewers?

I think the service is good despite the late start times of news bulletins. At least viewers in black spot areas around the country can have access to their local news. Not all local broadcasters offer catch-up services for their news bulletins online so it really is the only way to access local content for those people.

  1. Specifically, how could the current VAST service be improved?
  • The launch of additional HD simulcasts, namely 7HD, 9HD, Ten HD and SBS Viceland HD.
  • The launch of additional SD multi-channels, namely 7flix,, 9Life and TVSN, as well as additional versions of Food Network for all timezones.
  • An update to the VAST Regional News service to include news bulletins from Nine Qld, Nine NSW, Nine Gold Coast and Nine Victoria, as well as news updates from WIN Mt. Gambier/Loxton.
  • Provide a much easier way to register and renew VAST applications. The current method isn’t mobile friendly and not easy to navigate. The application for is complex and there isn’t any kind of self service to manage a currently registered set-top box.

Changes in the media landscape—2010 to now

  1. How has the increasing availability of online TV content changed the way viewers access and consume content in areas unable to receive terrestrial FTA TV transmission?

As a subscriber to VOD services like Netflix, Stan, 7plus, etc, I can say from personal experience that the transition is real and broadcasters are very much under threat. If a device was offered to VAST viewers that could integrate these new technologies, then the transition would be a lot smoother for both the viewer and the broadcasters. I find I use my VAST service less and less as it’s inconvenient to have to change to another device just to catch a show that isn’t available on-demand.

Changes in technology and distribution networks

  1. To what extent should future delivery models allow flexibility to utilise new technology to provide access to terrestrial television services?

As flexible as possible. VAST is also a feeder service to many commercially owned terrestrial transmission sites. I think it’s integral that VAST platform technologies are adaptable to keep up with changes to terrestrial in the future.

Conditional Access

  1. How could the process for viewers to apply for and access VAST be improved? Does the process remain appropriate?

The process is appropriate for broadcast licensing reasons. But I think the online experience can be greatly improved. There needs to be a much easier way to register and renew VAST applications. The current method isn’t mobile friendly and not easy to navigate. The application form itself is old and complex and there isn’t any kind of self service to manage a currently registered set-top box.

  1. What are the key reasons for maintaining the conditional access arrangements beyond 2020?

To prevent viewing from outside licensed areas. Although, piracy of the VAST service is rife across areas of Indonesia that are within VAST’s satellite footprint. The process is obviously able to be manipulated.

  1. What are the main factors that would most influence industry investment in the delivery of FTA TV services in areas unable to receive a reliable terrestrial transmission? Why?

To provide the same level of service as any other part of Australia. To provide advertisers the greatest possible reach to their potential customers.


Submissions close today.

Hopefully we see several more submissions that are of the quality of @WAtvVideos’ above


Does “out of licence area” access really matter? VAST should also act as broadcaster of last resort and shouldn’t necessarily conform to a licence area beyond broad boundaries (states or groups thereof). The current licence boundaries are an attempt to limit access on technical grounds based on an estimation of the lack of DVB-T access which subsequently are needlessly complicated

Access outside of Australia is a seperate issue - having CA or not is unlikely to change the situation as people in those areas find ways to circumvent any implementation

VAST viewers are at a significant disadvantage in this area - lack of competition for viewing equipment result in limited availability of options or adoption of new features


I don’t see this as a problem for viewing outside Australia. If people in parts of Indonesia (e.g. Bali) get to see Australian programs and sport via VAST that should be regarded as a bonus.


The issue will come with commerical rights arrangements

It’s a difficult issue to solve - changing CA schemes is not easy (and potentially requires changes in consumer hardware) and may not solve the problem


theres no point when you can register a set top box as a “traveler” and get pretty much an unlimited renewal. i bet most of the boxes in indo are registered under this scheme.

if they are that concerned they would do something about this but it would also inconveience legitimate travellers (My parents have a portable sat setup for there caravan that allows them to get vast)


I think they main idea is that they’re doing something to restrict access. Pirates will always work out a way so they’ll never have a solution that will 100% block access from outside the licence area, but the conditional access makes it somewhat more difficult at least. It also means that it’s difficult for people with terrestrial coverage to get, so the licencees of those areas aren’t losing out to what would essentially be overspill from VAST.


Phoenix Technology has just launched the first Freeview Plus set-top box for VAST. This is the only box in the market that offers the full catch-up experience. Humax’s first set-top box offered ABC iView and SBS On Demand, but ABC pulled their development soon after launch.


ABC Local Radio Geraldton has launched on VAST. That’s now 5 ABC Local Radio’s for WA subscribers.

  • ABC Radio Broome
  • ABC Radio Bunbury
  • ABC Radio Geraldton
  • ABC Radio Kalgoorlie
  • ABC Radio Karratha


But realistically, the only difference between the 5 is breakfast?


This is the image on channel 4. Outdated isn’t it?

(cap belongs to @HarbourSideTv)


ABC News SA, Qld, WA and NT have recently been removed from VAST. There is now only one ABC News feed shared between all states and territories.

With a bit of luck it means they are freeing up space for more commercial services! With those 4 slots they could launch 2 x 7flix’s and 2 x 9Life’s for both North and South zones.


I always thought it was a big waste of space having so many copies of ABC News when they all air the exact same thing.


Now they need to get rid of the SBS ONE/SBS HD simulcasts!