All eyes were on some significant new arrivals to the Australian media landscape, as broadcast industry representatives tackled the usual technical and commercial challenges, threats and opportunities at an annual industry summit this month.

Foxtel is about to launch it IQ personal digital recorder that will record two programs while playing back a third and has 160 hours of storage.

Meanwhile, Australian pay-TV channels are polishing their new digital capabilities with impressive multi-camera angle, multi-audio stream and enhanced content sports coverage spearheading an increasingly slick and attractive offering, similar to that seen in the UK.

The terrestrial commercial networks continue their efforts to diversify their revenue streams with SMS-based interactivity and web-based brand presence.

A mobile television trial based on DVB-H apparently ‘smells right’ according to telco Telstra, and Broadcast Australia continues to gain content and service momentum for its terrestrial datacasting trial.

The conference heard from satellite operator Austar about what interactive services have worked successfully in Australia, including some enhanced TV and games services, and those that have failed, specifically mail, shopping and banking, as well as from Emma Somerville about the BBC’s achievements back in the UK.

Telstra showcased its latest broadband content innovations and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation explained its content plans for a new channel, ABC2.

The challenging prospects for the Australian content industry post USA Free Trade Agreement were considered, along with the outlook for interactive and multi-platform advertisers.

The Australian Association of National Broadcasters struck a chill note as it analysed the value of commercial broadcasting from the advertiser’s point of view and the debate over TV advertising rates.

Finally, industry participation was invited in a significant new initiative to improve access to Australian digital pay-TV platforms.

Upcoming events this year will include emergence of a major new regulatory body and the commencement of significantly more ambitious interactive advertising campaigns on digital pay-TV.

The Australian Broadcasting Summit took place at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre in Sydney, 23-24 February.