Dear Minister Moore,
Happy New Year.
This month’s Free CRT TV photo, the first for 2012, was taken by Felan Parker near Toronto’s Manning and Barton neighbourhood. Looks to be a 10 inch or so portable set. B&W, perhaps? I’ve never seen the dual VHF antenna set up before. The handle is sweet. They should have those for bigger TVs too.
Thanks largely to the Government of Canada, 2012 will be the year that the spectrum hits the OTA TV fan in Canada. While Jennifer Ditchburn may have found Phase I of Canada’s digital television transition in 2011 to be “anti-climatic”, 2012 should bring the drama for those who are looking for it.
August 31, 2012 is CBC/Radio-Canada’s extended deadline to shut-off its analogue television broadcasts in mandatory digital markets. The public broadcaster has already said that it won’t meet this second deadline (the first for broadcasters in Canada was August, 31, 2011 but CBC/Radio-Canada received a one year extension). Since I can’t see the Feds giving CBC/Radio-Canada a third deadline to switch to digital in mandatory markets, things could get messy if the public broadcaster does not throw the switch in all mandatory markets by August 31. On the other hand, as we’ve seen in rural communities like Denbigh, Ontario, even if CBC/Radio-Canada does somehow meet its 2012 analogue shut-off deadline, communities outside of mandatory digital TV markets that have been relying on “analogue drift” from bigger cities for the past 50 years will suddenly be without CBC-TV or Radio-Canada once the analogue signals are shut off. Either way, there will indeed be DTV drama related to the public broadcaster in 2012.
In addition, the CRTC’s faith in Shaw’s Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) program as a solution for OTA TV viewers who lose any signals due to the digital switch will also be put to the test in 2012. Shaw received extra time from the CRTC to hand out free satellite dishes, free hook-ups and free basic channels to Canadians who have lost OTA TV signals. Turns out that Shaw was too stingy with its eligibility requirements and didn’t hand out enough sat packages to satisfy its promised benefit package. Shaw now has until November 30, 2012 to wrap up the LTSS.
It will be interesting to see if Shaw manages to hit their Global TV benefits quota via the LTSS or if they will once again ask the CRTC to tweak the terms. CRTC Chairman, Konrad von Finckenstein, had previously cited the LTSS as a comprehensive fix for any Canadians negatively impacted by the digital television transition. Unfortunately, in terms of a national program to provide all Canadians with access to television signals, the LTSS may come to simply represent a LOSS.
p.s. Since 2011 was such a big year for OTA TV in Canada, I’m sticking with the #DTV2011 hashtag for OTA related discussions in 2012 and beyond.