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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2029

Senator POYSER (VICTORIA) -Has the Minister for the Media noted reports in the Press that 2 students in Melbourne have developed what is claimed to be a cheap method of converting black and white television sets to colour operation? Will the Minister advise the Senate whether this claim is a valid one and could result in the reduction of the cost of colour television to Australians and other people throughout the world?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I had noticed the reports and because I assumed that a question of this nature would be asked of me I have been in touch with the Australian Broadcasting Control Board to obtain some relevant information. The Australian Broadcasting Control Board has been aware of the work being done by these students for some time now and has been waiting until the students have completed their work to make an assessment of the feasibility of their idea. The Board's engineers are in fact inspecting their equipment at this moment as they have been all morning, and will give it a further detailed inspection tomorrow morning at a demonstration which is being organised for interested members of the industry.

It should be made plain that the system devised by these students requires the complete replacement of the tube of the television set by a new colour tube. There is no way known to engineers that can produce a colour picture on a black and white picture tube, and the colour tube is one of the most important components in a colour television set. It should also be made plain that at this stage any estimate of the costs involved in converting a black and white set to colour by this method must be regarded as a matter for very careful and detailed analysis. Without wishing in any way to dampen the enthusiasm of the people involved, I would like to suggest that this proposal will require very careful consideration from a cost point of view. The engineering staff of the Broadcasting Control Board will investigate technical and cost aspects thoroughly. At this stage I urge members of the public to adopt a waiting attitude to the possibility of converting their sets. In the electronics area it is often possible to make technical developments that are quite feasible on the laboratory bench but less feasible in the market place where costs have to be taken into account. No one is more eager than I or the Board to see these young men make a successful breakthrough that may be of benefit to the Australian public, and the Government will assist where it can.

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