Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ARE YOU READY FOR OVER THE AIR TV?

Well as of today, Wednesday August 17th, you have two more weeks to get ready for the digital conversion.

I've made many posts about this before, but we're finally in the home stretch.

Do you get Digital TV from Cable or Satellite? Through MTS or Shaw or Bell? Then your service will continue as normal. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be interested in what's happening to the over the air signals you can get with bunny ears, however.. So keep reading.

On August 31'st, in most major Canadian cities, all over the air signals will be switching from Analogue to Digital. What this means is that your old TV that picks up NTSC signals over the air will NO LONGER PICK ANYTHING UP. It will only pick up snow. So if you have an old TV in the basement with rabbit ears, and you want to still pick up a signal with rabbit ears, you need a converter box to pick up the signal. These can be found at Princess Auto, Superstore, or various other places.

If you have a newer widescreen TV of any worth, it should have a new ATSC tuner in it. ATSC is what replaces NTSC (a converter box converts ATSC broadcast signals to work on your old NTSC tv). Remember when all of those huge satellite dishes were replaced with smaller bell expressvu and starchoice dishes? That's because they switched from analogue to digital. You either get a perfect digital picture or nothing. That is how it will be with over the air from now on. You will get a perfect high definition picture over the air for free. It will be even better if you have a rooftop antenna. Try hooking it up if you still have one on the roof, you'll be surprised by the clarity of picture and sound.

So basically older TV = need a converter box for digital. Newer TV = should be able to receive channels with an antenna without the box.

In Winnipeg, Global TV is already broadcasting in high definition. So you can scan for local channels and if you get Global TV with an antenna, you're probably going to get all the rest of them after the switch on August 31st.

If you can't receive Global TV and you want to, you should check to see if you are within the range of the broadcast signal. Again, you may need to install a rooftop antenna.

CBC, SRC, CTV, City TV, and Joy TV will all be joining Global on August 31'st. If those channels meet your needs for television coverage, then congratulations.

Unfortunately unlike some cities close to the border such as Toronto, Victoria, or Vancouver, we in Winnipeg won't be able to pick up PBS or Fox or NBC/ABC/CBS with any reliability as we're just a bit too far away from their towers (and they're not broadcasting a strong enough signal). Still, It's an exciting time.

One last thing, if you currently receive cable TV from Shaw and simply plug in the cable straight into your TV without a digital box, you will eventually be made to get a box. They will be removing their analogue channels soon after the switch. It's a bit annoying because they could easily offer their basic package as unencrypted QAM signals decodeable directly by your TV, but they're control freaks and the CRTC are toothless and owned by the industry so you're out of luck there.

If you're curious, check out TVfool.com. You can plug in the coordinates you are at and it will spit out the likelyhood of signal from your location.

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