For those in Perth always looking for a better, faster, cheaper way

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's on Freeview in Australia? Can you handle 24hr sports?

HDTV Just revolutionised the TV industry. With Digital channels on their way, each commercial network, Channel 7, 9 and 10 will each have three to four channels to broadcast their usual dribble but with the flexibility of showing other stuff to try out the Australian TV market's receptiveness. For example, Channel 10 will have a dedicated 24 hour sports channel that will certainly rival Foxtel's offering of Fox Sports which is a paid service... here is the "press release" from Channel 10

Network Ten today announced the first all-new commercial free-to-air television channel in almost 50 years, a dedicated sports channel to provide Australians 24-hour sports coverage from home and around the world.

As a free-to-air channel, it will be available to Australians who are widely acknowledged as the world’s greatest sports enthusiasts. The new channel will allow Australians to share their unifying passion for sport: and will be named ONE.

ONE will be broadcast from early in the second quarter of calendar 2009 in High Definition (HD) on Channel 1 and it will also be available in Standard Definition (SD) on the network’s second SD channel (Channel 12).

Network Ten CEO Grant Blackley said ONE’s all-sports programming format will appeal to Australians’ shared passion for sport and, also, ensure that Network Ten as a multi-channel broadcaster continues to build a new and more diverse audience.

“ONE’s appeal to Australia’s natural sports lovers will complement TEN’s seriously different programming
strategy – with each channel offering viewers and clients a unique and appealing programming format,”
Mr Blackley said.

“TEN continues to pursue its targeted strategy – that is, with a primary focus on building its competitive share in the strategically valuable 18-49s, and maintaining the leading position in 16-39s. TEN is also the number one network in day time in all key demos.

“In considering the opportunities for our new multi-channel, it became obvious very quickly that sport would be a highly attractive genre for the Australian viewing public, of both genders and all ages. There is currently no dedicated free-to-air sports channel in this market, and Ten has existing relationships with key sports rights holders and a reputation for delivery of high quality sports broadcasts.

“Importantly, the network’s upgraded broadcast infrastructure means we are exceptionally well placed to provide these three digital channels, supporting our network’s – and the industry’s – move into a multichannel and multi-platform environment.

“We anticipate that ONE will add significant momentum to digital switchover by giving Australian viewers a compelling reason to purchase an HD or SD receiver,” Mr Blackley said The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said Network Ten’s initiative heralded a new era in Australian free-to-air broadcasting.

“Innovations such as Network Ten’s digital sport channel will play an important part in Australia’s transition from analogue to digital television,” Senator Conroy said.

“The Rudd Government is committed to ensuring Australia completes a smooth transition to digital television and the availability of more diverse and broadly appealing free-to-air multi-channel programming will assist that process.”

Network Ten’s general manager - sport, David White, said sport plays a prominent role in Australian culture and identity, and it is uniquely suited to digital TV – with its emphasis on the best broadcast clarity of picture and sound.

“The programming schedule for ONE will showcase the sports Australians love, in a way they will enjoy viewing them,” Mr White said.

“Live and exclusive will be a hallmark of the channel.”

“Broadcasting in digital means we will be able to most vividly capture the greatest sporting events and achievements, along with the intimate details of the intense human dramas that play out in sport.

“We believe ONE will appeal to a broad audience and very quickly become a regular and enjoyable part of Australians’ sports viewing habit,” he said.

Some of the sports highlights that viewers can expect to enjoy on ONE include:
AFL – the 2009 NAB Cup, home and away season, and finals including the Grand Final returning to the network in 2009
Netball – ANZ Championship Competition and all Test matches featuring the Australian Netball Diamonds, exclusively for the next five years
Commonwealth Games – 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games
Cricket – Indian Premier League Cricket, the world’s premier annual Twenty20 cricket competition
Formula 1 – every round of the F1 World Championship
Moto GP – extensive coverage of every round of the World Championship
NASCAR – live coverage of the Daytona 500 and other major Sprint Cup races, live coverage of the Nationwide Series, as well as Sprint Cup qualifying
Australian Rally Championship – exclusive coverage of every round
National Football League (NFL) – three games per week live, including the flagship Sunday and Monday night games, as well as live coverage of play-offs and the Super Bowl
Major League Baseball (MLB) – five games per week live, including prime time coverage of play-offs
and World Series National Basketball Association (NBA) – three games per week live
Golf – US Masters, US Open, World Golf Championships including the Accenture MatchPlay
Championship, the CA Championship, the Bridgestone Invitational and the World Cup, Australian PGA,Ladies Masters, 2010 Ryder Cup, and 15 additional international and domestic events including the
Johnnie Walker Classic, and the Asian tour’s flagship event the Singapore Open and the tour’s seasonending Volvo Masters of Asia.
U.S. College sports – American football and basketball
Tennis – ATP and WTA tennis, details to be confirmed, approximately 11 tournaments during 2009.
Swimming – Network Ten is delighted to announce that, from 2009, it is the exclusive broadcaster for mSwimming Australia. This includes coverage of the Australian Swimming Championships, Pan Pacific Championships, Australian Short Course Championships, FINA World Short Course, Swimmer of the Year – a minimum 109 hours per year for the next eight years.

According to rights agreements and current Federal Government anti-siphoning regulations, some of these sports and events will also be shown first or simultaneously on TEN.

To preview and review the week’s events and to continue the conversations about sport that Australians enjoy, there will also be a series of new programs dedicated to the sports Australians love. These will include a new live AFL show on Monday nights, weekly wrap shows for NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR Sprint Cup series and Nationwide series, Formula 1, Moto GP and US PGA Tour.

Every week night, ONE will also broadcast two expanded editions of Sports Tonight, bringing viewers further in-depth news from both domestic and international sources.

From time to time, ONE will feature extreme sports, emerging sports and a range of sports-related programming including documentaries.

The ONE SD channel will be separately badged and marketed, and used to promote the premium ONE HD service to SD viewers.

ONE – Branding
The name ONE expresses the channel’s mission to share the greatness of sport with all Australians – capturing the passion that unites us as one. It was inspired by the irrepressible response of the crowd toa classic goal and the sense of bonding we experience in that dramatic moment, an inspiring effect only great sport can deliver.

Breaking from sporting channel clich├ęs, the logo communicates the fresher, more accessible approach that is the essence of ONE. It shows that our goal is to capture the unique and much loved place that sport has in everyday Australian life, beyond just the generic highlights and generic feeds of today’s

Digital TV – Australian market penetration
Digital take-up in Australia is accelerating, and is following global trends. Currently, 42 per cent of Australian households have a digital receiver and, at the time of the launch of ONE in 2009, this is expected to be around 50 per cent.

Digital TV – multi-channelling policy and digital rollout
Under government legislation (Broadcasting Services Act) free-to-air commercial broadcasters will be permitted to provide an additional SD digital multichannel each from January 2009 in addition to the HD digital multichannel currently provided.

The Australian Government has announced that all free-to-air television broadcasters in Australia will complete the switch from analogue transmission to digital-only transmission by the end of 2013.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Best rewards on Perth Credit cards

Also recently Citibank has been pushing an Emirates MasterCard which entitles you to
- 1.5 reward points per $1 spend
- 1 chaeuffer driven airport transfer a year if flying Emirates
- 1 entry into an Emirates airport lounge per year if flying Emirates
but the cost is $199 for the card...

If you are able to apply for American Express's platinum card, then this will entitle you to 5% off everything in the first three months and 1% off everything after that.

A similar Amex offering is the platinum or ultimate card which gives you 1.25 FF points for every dollar spend after 1 April 2009 and until then it looks like 2 Frequent flyer points for every $1 spent. The card also offers free travel insurance as well as a free return flight to anywhere in Australia. Normally $398,the card can be bought for $297 with any professional institute such as the Engineers Institute, Chartered Accountants Australia, Certified Practicing Accountants in Australia etc. That means you can fly to Melbourne from Perth using the free flight, for only $297 return ... on Qantas! Booking is easy and numerous flights are generally very available!

If you are from Perth, they will allow you to fly to either Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane on the free flight redemption.

Best Credit Card rewards and FF points

One of the best offers for credit cards if you are able to pay your bills on time is the BP Citibank Credit Card which offers

- $40 saved if you are a BP employer or friend of BP (who isn't?)
- 5% cash backBP petrol and everything in BP stores after the limited time
- 1% cash back on every other purchase. (no longer offered)

It is a mastercard so it is acceptable in most places around Australia. However as reported recently on this blog there have been problems in the past with the BP Cashback not being paid. This has since been resolved and goes to show that you should complain as soon as you notice something amiss in your credit card statements.

Unlike FF points, this enables you to get the 1% cash back in the next card statement, without having to wait till you have something like 100,000 points before you can receive anything of value.

See later posts for more credit card reward reviews..

Tips for Qantas Frequent Flyers Credit cards

Here are a few tips for those that have Qantas Frequent Flyers membership

1. Find the best reward card available and take advantage of signing up bonuses. A recent deal from American Express Premium Card offered
- No annual fee for the first year ($195 saved)
- 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase if you are approved before a certain date
- 5,000 bonus points on top of points earned on your first purchase
- 2,500 bonus points if you purchase some selected things from Qantas (such as QF flights)
- Two invites every year into Qantas Club lounge
- 1.25 points per $$ spend compared to another similar card offering 1 for 1.
- Automatic transfer point to Qantas Frequent Flyers every month.

2. Compare the benefits of UPGRADING your seat with getting CHEAP flights.

3. Work out how much each point is worth in dollar terms by comparing the points required to redeem the prize and the value of the prize in real life. For example, upgrading seat from Economy to Business for a domestic flight was 16,000 points.. how much is that in real life?

4. Find out which destinations are easier to use points to fly to, by checking this site here

5. Join early in your life - the membership is not annual fee, its for a lifetime so sign up now.

6. Got your own tips?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

American Express Platinum not offering Qantas Frequent Flyers

The letter I received recently advised that the AMEX Platinum card will change -they will no longer offer 2 points for every $1 spent after 1 April 2009. They have given a choice which I would like to know what other users like you think:

1. Earn 1.25 points for QANTAS frequent flyers for every $1 spent from 1 April 2009.

2. Continue with Ascent and earn 1.5 points for every $1 spent. These can be converted to other frequent flyer programs for other airlines but not QANTAS.

What do you think? My tendency is to continue with Frequent Flyers since I paid $82.50 for lifetime membership..