Canadian local over-the-air television stations moving to digital: August 31, 2011


By August 31, 2011, Canadian local television stations in certain areas will stop broadcasting in analog and will start broadcasting in digital.

The majority of Canadians will not be affected. If you receive your TV signals by cable, satellite or another TV service, the switch to digital will not affect you. You will continue to receive your existing television services with the equipment that you currently use. You will not be required to buy a new TV or other equipment, or subscribe to additional services.
The switch to digital may affect television viewers who receive local over-the-air TV stations using an outdoor antenna or “rabbit ears”. Once the switch occurs, these viewers may need to have either a digital converter box or a television with a digital tuner, or may want to consider receiving their TV services from a cable, satellite or other service provider. If you decide to purchase a digital converter box, consider purchasing one with the analog pass-through feature. This feature enables the viewing of both digital and analog signals which may be important for viewers that will receive both types of signals.
If you are a customer who must prepare for these changes, your questions may be addressed at Canada’s Transition to Digital Television (DTV).

Why is Canada switching to digital television?

One of the main reasons for switching to digital television is the need for more Spectrum, commonly referred to as frequencies or airwaves. Spectrum is used for wireless telephone services, emergency communications, etc.
Digital signals use less airwave space than analog signals. This means that the freed up space can be used for other services that have a high demand for more space. Digital technology also provides better picture and sound.
The effect of switching technologies means that certain TV stations may be moved to other channels on your television.
If you receive local over-the-air TV stations using an outdoor antenna or “rabbit ears” for free, this change may affect you.
If you receive your signal by cable, satellite or another TV service, the switch to digital by local over-the-air television stations will not affect you.

Areas switching to digital signals on August 31, 2011

Local over-the-air television stations that fit the following criteria will be required to make the switch on August 31, 2011:

  • national, provincial and territorial capital cities
  • areas with a population over 300,000
  • other areas where there is more than one local television station broadcasting over-the-air signals

Specifically, the following areas will be switching to digital TV by August 31, 2011:

  • British Columbia: Vancouver and Victoria
  • Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton, Lloydminster and Lethbridge
  • Saskatchewan: Regina and Saskatoon
  • Manitoba: Winnipeg
  • Ontario: Toronto (including Barrie and Hamilton), London, Windsor, Kitchener and Thunder Bay
  • Quebec: Montreal, Quebec, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Rivière-du-Loup, Saguenay and Rouyn-Noranda/Val d’Or
  • New Brunswick: Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton
  • Nova Scotia: Halifax
  • Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: St. John’s
  • National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau)

Over-the-air television stations in other areas may also be switching to digital by August 31, 2011, even if they don’t have to.
Contact your local TV station for more information about its digital transition plans.

Related information

Media Mayor Inc.
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