Saturday, November 25, 2006

HDTV in Canada - How the CRTC ruins canadian culture pointed me to a story at on the subject of HDTV in Canada. CBC's slant was obvious, CBC thinks that American competition is bad for Canadian Television and that we should not be allowed to watch american television.

The article basically quotes and spins what two University of Calgary professors, Bart Beaty and Rebecca Sullivan state - that Canadian interests are essentially too slow to adopt digital terrestrial broadcasting of their programming, leaving a majority of the HDTV programming American. This is blatantly true to anyone who has gone shopping for an HDTV in Canada (or alternately some sort of HDTV tuner)

the CRTC had issued a call for comments a while back, It slipped my mind, but truly the opinion of the average canadian citizen who knows anything does not matter, fortuitously some people managed to sift through the politico-speak on the website and submit their personal feelings.

Take the following statements in a letter to the CRTC posted to the crtc website (which is really poorly designed by the way.. bleh) by Jon LeBlanc, of Delta BC, one of few individual Canadians intelligent enough to understand the issues and one of the few people who submitted a comment to the CRTC on the subject who did not represent a media interest.

- OTA is the original method of TV broadcasting in Canada
- satellite and cable tv are just supersets of that
- satellite and cable companies have business plans that are based on value-added features over OTA
- they are not meant to replace OTA
- they offer quantity of channels over quality of signal reception, as OTA DTV is technically superior
- citizens do not owe private satellite and cable companies a living if their business plans are not able to keep up with modern technology
- citizens have the right to not pay for television service to their homes
I feel that the baseline of Canadian broadcasting is OTA, and so the adoption of digital OTA transmissions nationwide is not a want, but a need. I believe that Canada requires a specific, static, mandatory cutover date by which all analogue TV transmissions must be replaced by digital versions. Further, given the large savings in energy costs required to transmit digital television over analogue, I do not accept that broadcasters face ongoing higher costs of transmission, given that the new equipment is a one-time only expense. Many modern stations have already updated to digital studios and equipment since analogue gear is rapidly becoming obsolete, so it is my firm belief that complaints of higher equipment costs for digital transmission are red herrings. Thank you for considering my thoughts.

Jon LeBlanc
Delta, BC
Kudos to you, Jon LeBlanc. You are a HERO. A testiment to Democracy. I award you the first ever Reed Solomon Hero award for heroism. Congratulations. Everything he states in his letter to the CRTC is quoted for TRUTH. The CRTC is not interested in Canadian Television, nor are the media companies that exist in Canada interested in providing Canadian television. Theres no gauranteed profit in it! They want us to pay the cable or satellite companies in order to watch American television . They want to profit off american television.

How do we know this for certain? The public hearing on the future of television for all Canadians is being held in Gatineau Quebec. Why Gatineau Quebec? Who in Quebec watches American Television? This hearing should be taking place in Toronto or Vancouver or even in Winnipeg, where people watch American Television and want to watch it because Canadian television tends to be garbage, and as we already pay for the CBC through our taxes we should get digital over the air broadcasting.

At the same time, I must commend Shaw Cable, my own former cable provider (I still pay them for the internet but I found I just don't want to pay extra for any television I should be getting for free) for stating:

Consumers Should Not Have to Pay for What is Free Over-the-Air

Specialty and pay television services do not transmit free over-the-air and thus consumers understand and accept the logic of an associated fee. However, the signals of Canadian television stations are available to consumers free over-the-air. Canadians will resent and resist being forced to pay for these signals and many will find alternative sources of programming, including the black and grey market and web-based services. As a result, such measures will actually undermine the viability of all programming services.
Ken Stein of ShawCable is QUITE RIGHT about this, I WOULD RESENT having to pay for what I should be getting free over the air. I should NOT have to pay even for american signals that make it over the border. The frightening thing for broadcasters is that the digital signal stays clear for longer distances. They shouldn't really be frightened, as every Canadian watches these channels already. And if they are worried about the fact that it will eat into their advertising dollars by airing the same programming, well, thats your fault isn't it for not airing Canadian programming Canadians want to watch?

You know, I think if the big city television stations all switched to digital OTA tomorrow (nevermind HDTV, thats neither here nor there) most Canadians would be more than happy to watch their local Canadian channels. Cable and Satellite have been eating into terrestrial broadcasts for years because frankly, until now, the quality afforded sucked. Now all these companies want to control their profit stream to the detriment of the average canadian getting to watch what they want to watch. Well guess what, If I can't watch what I want to watch, I will download it, or find some other way. I can live without television. I cancelled my cable tv connection in february and I'm doing fine. Stop trying to gouge my wallet and start trying to create something worth paying for.

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