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Digital body Freeview unveiled the first range of Freeview-compatible equipment today at Dick Smith's George St store in Sydney, aiming to also educate customers about the benefits of digital television.

The celebrity-studded launch was designed to highlight the equipment available that receives the "five extra channels" available on digital television: One, ABC 2, SBS 2, Nine HD and Seven HD.

Two grown men in foam suits
(Credit: Ty Pendlebury )

The launch follows last night's "roadblock" of all the free-to-air channels with the new one-minute ad for Freeview, which features notable moments in Australian TV.

Two further ads will follow — a shorter 30 second ad based on the "memorable moment" commercial starting on 29th April and a "how to" ad that begins on May 1.

Robin Parkes, Freeview general manager said that the branding was part of the general education campaign.

"Any HD digital receiver will receive the Freeview channels. These product logos are designed to further assist people in identifying digital TV equipment. Because Freeview channels are all digital, they provide a superior viewing experience with fantastic picture quality and sound," Parkes said.

At launch, products that will sport Freeview logos come from Beyonwiz, TiVo, DGTEC, Kogan, LG and Sony. While most manufacturers were in attendance, missing from the day were representatives from Panasonic and Samsung. However, while Panasonic is officially participating, Ms Parkes told CNET Australia that she was meeting with Samsung this week to discuss future Freeview branding.

According to GfK, sales of digital televisions and set top boxes only outsold those of analogue units for the first time in 2008. Millions of analogue televisions are still used in Australian homes and will need to be upgraded to digital by 2013 at the latest.

ABC chief and Freeview chair Kim Dalton announces the availability of Freeview-compatible equipment.

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"Dad?" Banana in Pyjamas' B2 looks on.

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TiVo boxes featuring the Freeview logo. TiVo is also expected to feature Freeview IPTV content in the next twelve months.

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The Beyonwiz FV-L1 is one of the first set-top boxes to officially support Freeview. Interestingly, Beyonwiz FV-L1 now offers customers a choice between the Freeview EPG and a paid IceTV subscription. Previously, Beyonwiz required the IceTV EPG to work.

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Rove McManus and Bert Newton get intimate in the Freeview ad — one of the few featured moments that actually occurred during the era of digital television. Others include the Kennedy assassination, the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the on-air punchup between Ron Casey and Normie Rowe.

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The Freeview voiceover says: "Television gives us so much. Switch to Freeview digital television now and get more. More moments. Five more channels. For free. Freeview. More for free."

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The best of friends. Ten newsreader Sandra Sully, SBS commentator Craig Foster and Seven Morning Show hosts Larry Emdur and Kylie Gillies.

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Bondi Vet Dr Chris Brown stands with Seven's Morning Show host Kylie Gillies at the launch.

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