Home opinion-and-analysis Core Dump Kogan misses the point of digital TV assistance scheme

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Governments are fair game for criticism, and those of a right-wing persuasion are understandably keen on bagging the present government. But it behooves them to get their facts right. Ruslan Kogan's ongoing campaign against the digital TV Household Assistance Scheme serves double-duty as a way of gaining free publicity for his company's low prices.

Ruslan Kogan, founder of online electronics and electricals retailer Kogan, isn't shy when there's an opportunity for publicity.

But his latest stunt - and it is hard to see it as anything else - shows a fundamental lack of understanding, apparently fuelled at least in part by the anti-government stance taken by some parts of the media.

In a press release, Mr Kogan echoes an implication made by The Australian (which can hardly be seen as a pro-government publication) that the digital TV set-top boxes delivered under the Household Assistance Scheme are costing an average of $698.

This shows a lack of understanding of the scheme, which is only available to maximum rate recipients of the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, or Department of Veterans' Affairs Service Pension or Income Support Supplement.

It is not so much about putting a $70 (or whatever the going price is) HD set-top box into the hands of these people. Even at the fairly modest pensions they receive, it's hard to imagine that paying $70 to be able to continue to receive existing TV stations - not to mention the additional digital channels - would be out of the question. Would you deliberately do without the extra channels just to make sure you qualified for a free box down the track? When you think about it, the people taking up the offer are likely to be those who knew or at least had good reason to suspect that they needed more than just a set-top box.

What's the scheme really about? Please read on.

 

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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