Dates for New Zealand's switchover to digital television have been finalised, as Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman has released the details.

The switchover will occur in four stages:

* Hawke's Bay and the West Coast at 2am on 30 September 2012
* Rest of the South Island at 2am on 28 April 2013
* Lower North Island, Taranaki and Gisborne at 2am on 29 September 2013
* Rest of the North Island at 2am on 1 December 2013

Coleman said: "We're planning for the start of a fully digital TV age where New Zealanders can enjoy better pictures and sound, more choice and benefits such as on-screen television guides.

"Almost eight out of 10 New Zealanders are already watching digital television and I'm encouraging those who are not to plan and prepare now."