See the article at Cablecastermagazine.com:
OTTAWA - The Canadian Cable Television Association says its members want to be able to offer more high definition television to its customers and has sponsored the addition of two American HDTV cable channels to the eligible satellite list.
With few Canadian high definition sources available (Astral Media's The Movie Network and CHUM Ltd.'s Citytv the lone exceptions), the CCTA is hopeful that adding more U.S. HD services such as the ones it is asking for, Discovery HD Theater and HDNet, will prod Canadian programmers to act, despite the fact that so few Canadians have purchased an HDTV or HD-ready set.
"The addition of these services, in our view, will act as a catalyst for the Canadian broadcasting industry to make the transition to the high definition format," reads the CCTA request to the CRTC. "Currently less than 1% of households are fully equipped to receive HDTV services. As a result, broadcasters may be reluctant to invest heavily in HDTV until there is a larger market. Cable and satellite customers will not purchase the high definition television sets until there is a sufficient quantity of high definition programming broadcast in Canada to justify the high cost of HDTV-ready sets and HD decoding set top boxes. In some respects, this is a classic 'chicken and egg' situation."
Right now, Rogers Cable offers the most HD content in Canada with nine channels. However, only Citytv, which has very little HD content, and The Movie Network, are Canadian outlets. Other distributors offering HD channels include Mountain Cable (Hamilton, Ont.), Shaw Cable, Bell ExpressVu and Star Choice. Vidéotron is also reportedly launching HD this year.
The CCTA's view is that if more HD content is available, more people will invest in the televisions and set top boxes - and then Canadian broadcasters might then become more interested.
The association estimates that by the end of 2004, 5% of Canadian homes will be equipped with high definition television.
Discovery HD Theater is delivered in 1080i HD format with a 16:9 aspect ratio, providing high definition programming on nature, wildlife, science, technology and world culture 24/7.
HDNet, is 16 hours a day of HD programming in 1080i covering sports, movies and entertainment specials. Soon, it will become three channels, HDNet Sports, HDNet Movies and HDNet Entertainment. The company owns the HD rights, for example, to 65 live National Hockey League games.