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987654321 2007-03-02 12:45 PM

Tory Insider rumour: "Canadian Analog OTA Cutoff in 2011"
According to an acquaitance, who is a Conservative backroom guy; von Finckenstein has been given his marching orders by Harper: "Impose an OTA analog cutoff date by the end of summer '07 - the sooner the better" 2011 is being most often mentioned as the date.

The CTV Globemedia/Global/CBC procastination is about to come to an end.

99gecko 2007-03-02 01:45 PM

shall we put you on the official record? :)
I'm really interested to see how this plays out.

stampeder 2007-03-02 04:48 PM

I consider it an interesting rumour, and it doesn't suprise me. Let's hope it comes to fruition so that we can get on with digital OTA in Canada after all this time wasted.

bigoranget 2007-03-02 05:38 PM

I think its absolutely deplorable that as of March 2007 there is only a handful of digital OTA stations and not to many applications on file to actually launch. It just seems that they only applications are for delays, delays, delays.

rob50312 2007-03-02 06:20 PM

I doubt 2011 will be the cut-off unless the CRTC allows Global to be a cable/sat only channel.

blakew 2007-03-02 06:38 PM

if true, it just goes to show, that waiting for the CRTC is just a waste of time. If the PM of the time wants something done, he simply asks that it be done, and it's done. None of this, wishy washy bleeding heart excuses to not go digital. I'm pleased to hear of this, even if it is just a rumour. If only a rumour, they usually do have a grain of truth to them. Lord knows I've emailed enough MPs about digital OTA. Not that TV is a high priority in government, but a year later, it's finally being addressed.

Walter Dnes 2007-03-02 11:55 PM

I agree with you 100%. The CRTC is a facade/fig-leaf for direct cabinet control of the broadcast industry. The board members are 100% hand-picked stooges of the government of the day. The CRTC under the Liberals did everything possible to slow down satellite TV. And remember 3 years of calling extra hearings after extra hearings and just plain ignoring HDNET's application. The CRTC in its present form should be scrapped.

roger1818 2007-03-03 09:35 AM

Certainly an interesting rumor. I just thought I would point out that the OP only talked about an analog shutdown. He didn't mention anything about replacing it with digital OTA. The two are not necessarily synonymous. The only thing that he said that indicated that it would be replaced by digital OTA was “The CTV Globemedia/Global/CBC procrastination is about to come to an end.” but this may have been an assumption on his part.

foxfan 2007-03-03 09:44 AM

At this point in the game, what I wish they would allow is a flash-cut to digital for some stations, since so many of them have out-of-core digital allocations that they'll have to vacate anyway (and go back to their original channel) post-transition.

roger1818 2007-03-03 05:41 PM

Although a flash-cut to digital would make things easier for the stations, it is not without its disadvantages. In a staged transition if there are any problems with the digital broadcast, there is always an analog broadcast to fall back on. I also think (yes it is my personal opinion here) there is a greater risk of people being caught after the switch without a digital tuner in a flash-cut.

Don't forget that after the US analog shutdown in 2009, there will be lots of used broadcasting equipment on the market, especially equipment for out-of-core allocations. This should reduce transition costs significantly.

The more I think about it, the more I think that instead of having one analog shutdown date for the entire country, there should be different analog shutdown dates for different sized markets (larger sooner, smaller later). Broadcasters in Toronto could almost match the US shutdown date of 2009 (maybe 2010), where as broadcasters (or repeaters) serving very small markets could be allowed to continue broadcasting in analog for many years. I am thinking of 3 to 5 cities (maybe 10 during the peek) being required to shutdown their analog transmitters each year. My thinking is it could go something like this (based on 2005 population estimates):

2010 - Toronto-Hamilton
2011 - Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa–Gatineau
2012 - Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, Winnipeg
2013 - London, Kitchener, Halifax, Victoria, Windsor
and so on (you didn’t expect me to list every city in the country did you? ;) )

This would be good for large networks (especially the CBC) for several reasons. It would give them more time to both focus on doing each transition properly (the same crew could do multiple transitions) and amortize the costs of the transition. Also, some of the redundant equipment (amplifiers, antennas and such) could also be re-used for multiple transitions.

It would also be good for the smaller, independent stations, as the ones in larger markets could sell the redundant equipment to ones in smaller markets to recoup some of the costs (or third party companies could rent out the equipment). Also, people involved in the earlier transitions could be hired for their experience as consultants during the later transitions. It would also give many of the smaller stations more time to raise the capital needed to perform the transition.

foxfan 2007-03-03 05:59 PM

If it is to be done gradually, it wouldn't be done based on population, but more on proximity to the United States (although both can be intertwined in most cases), since this is where the spectrum is shared (400km of the border) and where it is necessary to vacate the 52-69 ASAP so that the new wireless providers can start using them.

roger1818 2007-03-04 05:45 PM


If it is to be done gradually, it wouldn't be done based on population, but more on proximity to the United States, ... where it is necessary to vacate the 52-69 ASAP so that the new wireless providers can start using them.
That could be true if Steve is working for George. ;)

I was thinking more about the OP and wondering why Harper is so interested in this? Is it pressure from the US to vacate 52-69? Is it pressure from CTV, Global and Bell to put an end to OTA? Is he getting complaints from constituents? Or did he get a taste of CBOT-DT and he wants to receive more OTA DTV at 24 Sussex? ;) Any other ideas?

omneon 2007-03-04 11:06 PM

OTA Shut Down
An OTA cutoff date would certainly help the satellite carriers.
What do you think will happen to the hundreds of LPTV analog translators all over the country. Believe me, no company is about to spend tens of thousands of dollars to convert a 10 watt translator to DTV.
When the analog high power systems are turned down the low power systems will be fed from a satellite pickup and life will go on with good old analog receivers.
About the only places you will see OTA DTV transmitters will be the larger revenue generating cities.

roger1818 2007-03-05 10:18 AM

omneon, I gather an analog shutdown date has not been set for LPTV stations in the US (this was briefely mentioned at and they are permitted to flash-cut to digital. I would imagine there will be a similar policy in Canada. Given this flexability, it is likely that they will continue to broadcast in analog for many years until the equipment reaches its end of life and needs to be replaced.

foxfan 2007-03-05 10:57 AM

Roger, vacating 52-69 wouldn't be just to please the Americans.

Don't you think Canadians who will see the new gadgets the Americans are going using on those frequencies would want to have the same devices available here?

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