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Nice article in that it brings OTA digital television to the public's attention.
Not-so-nice article in that there are a few inaccuracies/ambiguities/errors.
• Antenna work on Mount Royal hasn't been delayed because of some conspiracy but because of the recession. The work was to be done last year and we all remember what the economic climate of the world was at the time.
• I take exception with the author's characterization that CBMT-DT and CBFT-DT are not available in the vast majority of Montreal homes. I have not heard of any empirical evidence to back that claim. If the author does, I'd love to see it. Propagation models suggest the only part of Montreal without easy access to CBC/Radio-Canada's OTA DTV services is essentially the West Island and points beyond. That's about 250,000 people — less than 10% of the region's total population.
• I also take exception with the author's statement that V and Télé-Quebec have been widely available in the Montreal area. As far as I know, both those stations suffer from the same reception difficulties as CBC/Radio-Canada, although T-Q has the best reception footprint of the bunch (smallest shadow) and V has its Mount Royal shadow mostly projected toward Lac Saint-Louis.
• Related to the last two points … the article gives the impression rabbit ears are sufficient for good OTA DTV reception. Often they are not.
• The completion of Mount Royal renovations won't radically change the availability of OTA digital TV signals — at least not immediately. Especially true if Télé-Québec and V don't come back to the mountain (as they've said).
• CBC might be using 500-watt transmitters with antennas on their building, but that's not the ERP of their signals. For the record, CBMT-DT has a max ERP of some 5.5 kW, while CBFT-DT has a max ERP of 16.6 kW.
• While it's true that CTV and Global have not said they would broadcast before the Aug. 31, 2011, transition deadline, there is no obligation for them do to so. If those stations choose to wait until the last moment to make the switch, it is a legitimate choice — as much as we (viewers) might not like it.
• CTV began broadcasting OTA in HD to Vancouver in 2004 (not 2005) and to Calgary in 2009 (not 2006).
• So … Why are Montrealers waiting so long for decent access to DTV? I can't say, but that is a valid question any part of Canada outside metro Toronto. It's not as if Montreal is alone in being left out. Many of the mandatory markets for DTV conversion currently have *zero* OTA digital TV stations.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited by Moderator)
downbeat said:
..I take exception with the author's characterization that CBMT-DT and CBFT-DT are not available in the vast majority of Montreal homes. I have not heard of any empirical evidence to back that claim. If the author does, I'd love to see it. Propagation models suggest the only part of Montreal without easy access to CBC/Radio-Canada's OTA DTV services is essentially the West Island and points beyond. That's about 250,000 people — less than 10% of the region's total population...
Well as you said propagation models suggest..

Real life tels us otherwise, most of NDG,Westmount, Ville St-Pierre, Point St Charles, Little Burgondy, and I could go on for ever are in the dark. this should account for over 250K people.. anyone saying otherwise seems to be doing so to minimize the impact ... and yes I am in the dark
 

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@james57: I was just about to post that, you saved me the work ! ...LoL

I am surprise that even in Quebec the province with the highest users of OTA is only 14.3%, Canadians must be rich in paying for cable or satellite ? I am glad that I have never paid a penny for any those services in my entire life !

You guys noticed for the past week all the local stations like CTV, TVA, CBC, SRC, V and even RQ have been going off the air by 01:00hrs, I suspect it is for antenna/transmitter upgrade to digital.
 

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@downbeat: thanks for the run down !

I think the Canadian government is to blame for taking a "lack" of action to inform the populace like those in the US. Where are the laws that prevent TVs from being sold that lack a ATSC tuner, where are the rebate coupons for Canadians to acquire a digital to analog converters like those in the US ?
 

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@james57: I agree with you. Heck, I'm usually the first to point out how propagation models are faulty.
That said, no one is going to go around and systematically surveys neighbourhoods using representative sampling and whatnot to ascertain levels of reception and non-reception. And even if it did happen, the survey would only accurate to a point. Just because someone in one spot can't get CBMT-DT doesn't mean his/her neighbour will have the same trouble. Especially true in marginal neighbourhoods.
The next best thing is a propagation model, as flawed as it might be. I'm using the Longley-Rice simulations as provided by TV Fool as a reference. Not perfect, but pretty good.
As for the number of people affected by the Mount Royal shadow, I'd be willing to revise it upward. I might have been low-balling the number of West Island residents. Still, the vast majority should have easier access to OTA DTV. The Mount Royal work will certainly improve reception for CBMT-DT and CBFT-DT.
 

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The article in the Gazette is not that great. But. at least somebody is pointing out that Digital OTA is available.

I spotted the overnight transmitter shutdowns in Montreal. I was about to watch The Daily Show and Colbert Report on CFCF-TV 12 when they cut the power. Luckily I get CJOH-TV 8 from Cornwall.

What was funny was that all the Montreal stations shut down, except CFTU-TV 29 and CJNT-TV 62. Montreal's two weakest and probably least watched stations were still on the air.
 

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On population

Let me do the math correctly, instead of guessing how many CBMT-DT and CBFT-DT viewers are affected by Mount Royal's shadow. Except for Vaudreuil-Dorion, the numbers here are provided by the last census, courtesy of the City of Montreal.
This should be a generous count, as portions of these neighbourhoods have LOS reception of services from the roof of the Maison de Radio-Canada.

CDN/NDG: 164,246
Lachine: 41,391
Lasalle: 74,763
Île Bizard/St-Geneviève: 17,590
Pierrefonds/Roxboro: 65,041
Sud-Ouest: 69,680
Verdun: 66,078
Demerged cities (except Mtl-Est): 229,927
Vaudreuil-Dorion: 27,330 (according to Wikipedia)

TOTAL: 756,046 residents. (So I managed to low-ball the figure over two guesses.) :p

So according to this generous estimate, the total is just under 20% of the population of the Montreal Census Metropolitan Area (3.8+ million in 2006).
That means 80% should have at least a decent shot at receiving services from CBC/Radio-Canada until their Mount Royal antenna upgrades are finished.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thks for the asssessment and no hard feelings. Its just that from a management point 80% is pretty good unless your are part of the 20% and then this numbers becomes Huge:p:p
 

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Oh, no worries — none taken! Frank, open discussion is awesome. :)
You're right about the 20% have-nots feeling slighted as progress inches along …
 

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So do we have anything close to an official date when CBMT will start broadcasting in digital from Mount-Royal? The article seems to suggest some time in August, but other estimates say September. The sooner the better...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What concerns me in terms of broadcasting is that from all the press releases and docs I have seen they always refer to the install process, work will be compleeted.. nothing about test and go-live. Technicaly they could, test it and sit on it untill Aug2011.
 

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Great article, only mentions a tiny bit that we can catch U.S. signals though.

But yeah, Montreal is THE WORST when it comes to OTA. Our companies suck compared to Toronto or even Vancouver!
 

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As the author of the Gazette article suggested, there's a bit of a lag in Canada compared to the U.S. when it comes to DTV. There are only so many people in the broadcast engineering business after all …
And the CRTC warned everyone about the risks of dilly-dallying over the DTV transition.
 

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In my humble opinion … Montreal is relatively well off OTA-wise.
There are four local stations transmitting digital TV, plus as many as six distant U.S. stations receivable in the region, with signals from all five big networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS). That's as many as ten physical channels, plus sub-channels.
The only place with better DTV choice is the GTA.
Most places in Canada have *zero* local DTV stations — including more than half of the cities where DTV conversion is mandatory.
 

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I get the Montreal Gazette everyday. Since the article appeared on Wednesday, today being Sunday, I have not seen a reader letter published concerning the article. Usually comments from readers on articles, editorials, etc. are published. I wanted to see if anybody wrote anything about the idea of getting free HDTV over the air. So far, as of the Sunday paper, nothing.

Not sure if the paper got letters, but found them too lame to publish, or people didn't bother commenting on it.
 

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I think too many Canadians today are afraid of OTA and some even think it's illegal. That might explain the lack of response to the article.
 

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@mjjl. This is true what you say. I have been touting the use of ota to family and friends and when the see the picture quality and ask how much it costs I say it us free and that they should do it too. They typically answer "yeah but it's illegal". I have no idea where they got this idea. I remember as a kid where nearly everyone used antenna. I guess people have just forgotten.
 
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