: CBC out of cash for DTV transition
2009-09-23, 03:47 PM
Here's a short story from The Canadian Press:
I'm sure there'll be more to come.
2009-09-23, 04:15 PM
Well I can't see Canada switching over to digital on schedule. The US took an extra few months, I'm sure Canada will be delayed by years.
"Quality programming at a loss eh"
2009-09-23, 04:28 PM
That is totally BS. All they are doing is complaining in order to get more money. No way. They can continue with the DTV conversion by looking at things in new ways, But they refuse. Here are a few examples that can save them money and continue converting DTV transmitters.
1 - The stations that are already on air in DT can shutdown their analogue transmitters now. This action will save them money right now in electricity costs.
2 - Not all re-transmitters need to be converted to DT. Some are next to major city centers with a DT transmitters. And those DT transmitters can increase their power output to cover the areas presently served by those analogue re-transmitters. Example...CBMT-DT is in Montreal. If it's DT transmitter was at full power (and on Mount-Royal) that signal could reach Trois-Rivieres, Shawinigan, Drummondville etc. Those re-transmitter in those places could be shut down. Therefore off setting any power cost increases in CBMT-DT electricity bill. The cost saving would be in not requiring to upgrade those re-transmitters to DT transmitters.
3 - If there is a CBC DT station in a market, and the SRC is not. Then the analogue SRC station is to be shutdown and put on the secondary station of the CBC DT station. There is a perfect example in the reverse situation in Quebec City. The SRC station is in DT, but the CBC station is not. Shutdown the CBC transmitter in analogue and place the CBC station on the SRC secondary channel. Again cost savings.
4 - Put something on your channel that is worth watching so that you can sell ads!!!!!!
I can't stand the CBC/SRC always complaining about their budget, and yet they do nothing to adjust their situation with the use of this new DT technology. Not one penny more should be given to them. Force them to get their act in order or let it die.
2009-09-23, 04:38 PM
Well said, I agree 100%
2009-09-23, 05:51 PM
I have always enjoyed the CBC. I want to get a CBC tatoo. Perhaps can help fund a new DT transmitter for London.
2009-09-23, 06:08 PM
CBC seems to have money to switch all there radio transmitters to fm and add dozens of repeaters and provide less coverage area for mostly news and talk.I would think sharing one transmitter with many sub channels would save alot in hydro but executives tend to think short term before they get canned.The CRTC needs to explore this option.
2009-09-23, 08:49 PM
I have always enjoyed the CBC. I want to get a CBC tatoo. Perhaps can help fund a new DT transmitter for London.
It's times like this that I wonder why CBC doesn't reach out directly to its viewers and ask like voluntary donations. Not necessarily the way PBS does in the States, but have a program where card-carrying supporters voluntarily pay money directly to the station. But I suppose having a system like that in place would greatly damage their federal revenue... if only a hybrid system could be put in place and protected.
2009-09-24, 12:31 AM
I, too, sense a lack of creativity in delivering over-the-air HDTV in Canada.
A question for the more technically minded folks on the forum: Would the average viewer notice the difference between two HDTV signals on two different channels vs. two (more compressed) HDTV signals sharings subchannels on a single channel? That, to, me, would be one way for CBC/Radio-Canada to save on digital conversion and transmission costs. I'm sure the CRTC would be OK with this kind of arrangement, as long as the picture quality is good enough.
That way, CBC can shut down one of their two analog transmitters (where they have two, of course), retrofit it for DTV, then flip the switch and have two HDTV channels on the air and be done with it. The remaining transmitter can be upgraded later, or not at all. Is this feasible? Or am I completely out to lunch?
2009-09-24, 01:53 AM
"I'm sure the CRTC would be OK with this kind of arrangement, as long as the picture quality is good enough."
The problem is that we have been putting up with this "good enough" mentality when it comes to the networks & the satellite/cable providers. I have a couple of HD shows on my PVR that I kept from about 4 years ago, and the picture quality of these are noticeable sharper than what I record today.
I assume that CBC (and other networks) have been allocated additional spectrum to carry high-quality OTA HD. They should use it fully to provide the best quality. If they don't, then they should return the unused portion back to the public.
2009-09-24, 02:38 AM
No, I don't think there's additional spectrum. 6 MHz bandwidth is all they get, enough for 19 Mbit/s, according to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_subchannel) -- which is the same bandwidth they have now for analog broadcasting.
Now, what I mean by "good enough" is this: compression that is such that most people with a properly adjusted set, viewing at an appropriate distance from the screen, can't tell the difference when compared to higher-bitrate programs. (This, of course, won't work for pixel peeping.)
If it's not good enough, it shouldn't be done.
In any case, if technically appropriate, CBC should explore this kind of alternative so that Canadians have access to OTA television. I'd rather have some kind of service than nothing at all, at least temporarily.
2009-09-24, 07:37 AM
All they have to do is add another fee to BDU customers bills. Lots of money there. ;-)
Just out of curiosity, what does it cost to replace or upgrade an analog transmitter to digital, compared to other operating expenses?
Perhaps they can sit up kids, with donation boxes, in front of grocery stores on Saturdays. ;-)
2009-09-24, 10:08 AM
Obviously an HD transition would be the PREFERRED option, however in some areas if the choice is between a shared transmitter with all stations in SD or no stations at all, I think folks would prefer the shared option providing at least a basic service.
CTV was asked about the shared option during the hearings and stuck-up Fecan replied that HD is the way to go and they won't spend on anything unless it's HD. Well then don't complain about the costs of transition or the lost must-carry and simsub status when you shut down all those stations!
2009-09-24, 10:35 AM
I think trying to shove two 720p signals on one channel would be a problem. Not that stations in the US have not tried this. I think we would have to wait for better codecs to do this. But, one 720p & one 480p would do fine.
This would of course not effect markets like Ottawa and Montreal as both the CBC and SRC have already placed separate DT transmitters. But in places like Toronto, Quebec City, Calgary etc. Using one DT transmitter with one signal in 720p and the other in 480p can make sense. For now. In order to get this DT transition going.
Also, somebody mentioned the CBC shutting down AM transmitters and replacing them with FM transmitters . What kinda stupid policy is this. Are we still in the 90's. They should be looking at HD Radio transmitters. Because like DT transmitters, you can have subchannels as well. With one HD Radio transmitter, they can place Radio 1, Radio 2, and even Radio 3 on a single station. That would also save money in electrical costs. And deliver a greater choice of CBC radio to most markets.
2009-09-24, 01:11 PM
CBC says it's run out of money for digital transition. The privates have also said they're hurting.
Now riddle me this: How to explain why local stations serving the smallest places in the U.S. have been able to find the funding required to migrate MULTIPLE stations to DTV?
Take Plattsburgh, N.Y./Burlington, Vt. Those two markets have a population around 60,000 combined. And yet, no major on station on analog was unable to make the DTV transition due to lack of funds. (That would be ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and -- count 'em -- two PBS stations.)
I know there were consumer coupons for DTV. Was there U.S. federal money to help TV stations migrate to digital?
If the answer to this question is yes, perhaps Canada should look at doing the same?
If the answer is no ... maybe Canadian TV broadcast networks aren't being run properly.
2009-09-24, 01:53 PM
downbeat: it's becuase most stations in the USA are not owned-and-operated, and there are laws against concentration of media ownership. canada allows companies to buy up as much as they want and openly bribe the CRTC. that's why you have companies in the USA like Post-Newsweek Stations, E.W. Scripps Broadcasting, Gray Television, and so on operating network affiliates and independent stations.
of course our networks are being run improperly. they're trying to use the australian model (nearly all stations are network owned-and-operated), while trying to profit from the american model (only 39% of affiliates can be newtork owned-and-operated).
Yes, the US Federal Government pitched in a TON of money to help broadcasters and consumers switch to digital, with the intent of earning the money back by selling off channels 52-69. Channel 55 has already been auctioned off for Media-FLO proprietary mobile digital broadcasts (not ATSC-M/H, mind you... it's incompatible with ATSC as it uses COFDM instead of 8VSB).
there are several stations that have two 720p signals on one station, sometimes even with a (highly) compressed 480i signal (usually doppler radar) in the USA.
Canada needs an overhaul of the CRTC and the Broadcast Act needs to be completely ripped up and re-written.
our problem is that the CRTC has made over-the-air digital broacdasting so unappealing, that hardly anyone wants to do it... and they protect their golden children (CTV, Global) from competition from those that DO want to start a High-Definition Network (like John Bitove).
The CRTC has strict rules against digital subchannels like in the USA, so no multicasting... it must be all-HD or nothing (this is garbage, as stations in the USA still air shows like Good Times and All in the Family... ATSC wasn't even THOUGHT UP until 1983 and not implemented until 1996!)
The FCC also encourages competition with cable channels, while the CRTC hates it. We have Retro TV on WXYZ-DT2, which competes with TVLand in the USA, and TVLand Canada and Deja Vu over here. WXYZ-DT3 offers doppler radar and forecasts for local cities in the Detroit region (including flint, lansing, toledo, and windsor). I see no reason to protect cable channels from over-the-air competition.
The FCC also had an open campaign to instruct viewers on what's going on and what to do... as well as required all TV sets, VCRs, and DVD players sold must have a digital tuner built-in... the CRTC seems to not like that. We should have a converter box program with coupons... i've only seen a few converter boxes down here to recieve american programming...
canada's broadcasters are too complacent to change becuase they like their sandbox where they can pretend to be big media conglomerates and compete in a "sheltered environment", but in reality, they can't compete with the BBC, Deutch-Welle, and NBC at all. We need to either allow true competition in canada, or just stop broadcasting altogether, because CTV and Global have bought up EVERYTHING in canada and mis-managed things into oblivion.
We also need to get serious on territorial programming rights, and stopping all of this "out-of-town repeaters" crap. i'd go further on what i think should happen, but that might get further off-topic than i've already drifted. i'll explain if others want to hear and think it's related to this discussion thread, though.
2009-09-24, 02:59 PM
Hockey Night in Canada is Canada #1 show.
There is no need for CBC to upgrade all of its 700+ transmitters. It would be fine on just using 1 transmittor for both SRC & CBC. This would cut CBC transmittors down to 400. Ie CBC + SRC multiplex.
Why is there 4 transmittors for Windsor(CBET)/chantam(CBLN3). When one CBET transmittor could easy serve both Windsor/Chantam. If CBC removed seriously overlapping transmittors. This would reduce easy remove another 50+ transmittors.
The real problem is that CBC brass wants to use as many transmittors as possible. So that they can justify an increase in their budget. Instead of stream lining their operations for co$t $avings.
Read ya l8r,
PS. CBC should also carry parliament channel (CPAC?)across the country. This should be mandoraty. When parliament is not going on. Then they could broadcast other commerical friendly programming.
2009-09-24, 03:32 PM
Why is there 4 transmittors for Windsor(CBET)/chantam(CBLN3).
Not sure for SRC, but for CBC, Chatham probably gets the full Toronto/london feed, while CBET must broadcast the Detroit market feed which excludes American rights programming, like Wheel of Fortune, etc. I suspect also that using UHF transmitters to replace channel 10's VHF-High signal from London for primary CBC service requires more transmitters.
Note that CBC is no longer on a transmitter building spree. It has opted NOT to install new transmitters in any of the recently disaffilliated markets (Kamloops, Medicine Hat, etc.)
2009-09-24, 04:35 PM
You use the Plattsburgh/Burlington market in your example. That is DMA#93. There are far smaller markets than even that...
Presque Isle, ME
Pago Pago, American Samoa
And the list can go on and on.
They can't tell me that Halifax, Winnipeg, Regina, Kingston, Saint-John/Fredricton, St-John's, are smaller markets and that those stations can't convert to ATSC.
As for the US government supporting the ATSC transition. They gave out converter box coupons to those that requested them. They have the www.dtv.gov site with reception maps the public can use. That is about it.
They had rules in place that forced US stations to tell the viewers about the transition. Including Night Lite service. How many Canadian DT stations even bother telling their viewers that their signal is currently available in DT over the air. No call signs per hour. No indication on what channel their DT signal is transmitting on. How to receive their DT signal. Nothing.
Who is at fault for all of this. The CRTC.
2009-09-24, 05:20 PM
CBET-TV is omnidirectional at 325 kW, and its grade-B signal covers Chatham... but tvlurker is right regarding broadcast rights. CBET covers Windsor, Detroit, Toledo, Leamington, and Pelee Island.... CBLN-TV broadcasts on 34 (Sarnia) and 64 (Chatham), and offers the full CBC schedule from CBLN. CBET has to modify its schedule becuase it's in Detroit, same with CBEFT, even though the station is in french. I think chatham and sarnia are far enough from Detroit (even leamington is) that they can have their own access to CTV, GLobal, and so on over-the-air.
2009-09-24, 10:58 PM
CBET-TV is omnidirectional at 325 kWActually that changed when they moved tower locations over 10 years ago from downtown Windsor to near McGregor for transmitting their signal. Its at 201kW directional now.
about CBC digital.....
The Windsor/Detroit market area is one that should be upgraded to digital first. There are many OTA CBC viewers in metro Detroit / Toledo and those who watch Cbc's signal that's carried on their local cable systems there too. They would love to see CBC HD (HNIC) and have been complaining for a while here and there about when it will be converted to digital. I don't see the problem with having "not enough money" for this. Down here CBC uses 201kW analog on VHF channel 9 now and want to go to a lower 26kW digital ch 9 in 2011. They might even be able to use the current antenna atop the tower for it too, so there is another chance to save money a bundle. A VHF ATSC transmitter+work crews would be the only big costs involved here.
I agree about too many repeater transmitters overlapping all over the place its a huge waste. The current television model is long obsolete in Canada now and something drastic needs to change right now. I can't believe all the stupid wining and bickering going on for what should otherwise be productive discussions on implementing digital TV in this country. Nobody seems to care about anything other than pocketing money,making excuses and trying to keep things from changing.