Canada goes digital: time to analog out

August 31 is D-Day in Canada–as in Digital TV Transition day. It’s the last day you’re supposed to be able to watch over-the-air broadcasts through an old school antenna.
Really, if you haven’t addressed this by now, well, hate to break it to you but the Dumont network is no longer carrying Gleason.
At any rate, not sure this affects anybody reading this. If you’ve got the Internet, you gotta be off the friggin’ rabbit ears. Even my old pal Pat McConvey finally capitulated, although he had to get married to finally trade up to Rogers Plus.
I thought maybe my kids would be affected. After three years, the Montreal student has never had any cable or satellite hook up. Child No. 2 just moved into residence at Ryerson and has no cable feed for the old hotel set stashed in his room. They could both be looking at snow in September.
Except a) nobody under 25 watches television. b) kids that do watch television rip it off the Internet.
Katie has seen every episode of The Wire without ever once screwing a coaxial cable or jamming brass-tipped, colour-coded contact wires into the back of any set. She just watches The Wire wireless.
TV may feed my family, but my family is dining way off the menu these days.
So the digital conversion must affect those in Canada’s vast hinterlands, right? Wrong, arctic char breath. Visits to Dawson City, Whitehorse and Yellowknife in the past year have all yielded a full compliment of channel choices. You can watch CHCH, NTV and KTLA in the Yukon or the Northwest Territories, at least off satellite feeds offered in the hotel rooms I’ve visited.
The U.S. switched to digital two years ago and nobody lost an eye, although the U.S. government pocketed a fortune. Canadian broadcasters have been offering tips on how to bridge the conversion for anyone still bringing in City through a coat hanger. Thank God nobody has to miss an episode of Bachelor Pad. We shall overcome.
Remember, you can get a new antenna that receives digital signals and carry on without cable or satellite. Several TVFMF readers have and report better than ever picture and sound.
There’s a theory out there that CBC might be the broadcaster most affected by the switch as their viewers tend to be older and tucked into more remote places. If that’s true, there night be a dip in ratings for CBC this fall. Trouble is, will anyone notice on the first true test of the digital conversion impact–next Wednesday’s Gemini Awards? That’s right, the annual Canadian TV industry salute will be the first to take it smack in the analog. Again, well planned, geniuses.

3 Responses to “Canada goes digital: time to analog out”

  1. I picked up a RCA converter at Sears for $60, same price as the Access brand being sold elsewhere.
    Between RTV (2.3) MeTV (67.1) and TCT Family (26.3) from Buffalo I’ve recently viewed episodes of:
    Naked City (half hours and full hour eps), Movin On (70s trucker drama), Route 66, My Little Margie, I Married Joan, Mr. and Mrs. North, Hawaii Five-O (orig) Twilight Zone (orig) Bob Newhart, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, The Lucy Show, Odd Couple, Perry Mason, Bill Cosby Show, Combat!, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, The Rifleman, Gunsmoke (both early half-hours and 70s full hour), Highway to Heaven, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, The Untouchables, Starsky and Hutch, Roy Rogers, Adventures of Robin Hood, Cisco Kid, Rawhide, Get Smart, I Spy, The Saint, Dobie Gillis, Sgt. Bilko, Car 54 Where are you, Honey West, The Wild Wild West, Mission Impossible, and NY Yankees baseball.
    Plus Monk and Mash marathons on MyTV 49 and ION 51. And lots of music videos, old and new and well themed into specific hours without silly DJ hosts on Cool-TV. And Country music videos on another sub-channel. And five separately scheduled feeds of PBS, two Buffalo, three out of Rochester at times.
    Yet since my traditional indoor rabbit ears aren’t enough, and MeTV is noticably lesser powered than other Buffalo broadcasters – daytime offerings don’t travel as steadily as at night. Nor does CHCH now carry a tenth as well as its prior analog signal.
    The Cdn stations still need to consistently include transitted program data as the U.S. ones always do.
    Oddly enough, RTV also carries Cdn shows at off-hours as do ION and CW.

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  2. It isn’t the antenna that needs to be replaced. Your old antenna can work. It is the digital tuner that is required, which is probably in your flat screen LCD/plasma.

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  3. Make that 8 streams of PBS, rescanned three more* at WQLN ch54 -1-2-3 from Erie, Pennsylvania post midnight (Aug 31). That is a hop over two great lakes with an obsolete indoor antenna and converter box ($75 combined).

    *Will need to recapture Rochester over next couple of days; I did a fresh scan given the temporary duplication changes of TO stations of the past couple of days.

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