The goal of Dude, Where’s My TV? is to provide Canadians with a platform to voice their thoughts, findings, concerns and solutions related to Canada’s ongoing digital television transition triggered by the country’s 2011 over-the-air (OTA) television transition and subsequent 700 MHz spectrum auction. This blog was launched in May 2010 as part of a directed research course supervised by Dr. Michael Murphy at Ryerson University.
I’ve taken to addressing my posts to the current Minister of Canadian Heritage. James Moore was the first minister I wrote to since he was in charge of Canada’s digital television transition. I’ve yet to hear back from any Heritage ministers. To be fair, it is possible that they don’t know this blog exists (although at this point, that’s unlikely).
After August 31, 2011, analogue broadcasting in mandatory digital television markets ended in Canada (with a one year extension granted to the country’s public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada), as required by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). Since then, Canadians without a paid cable, satellite or IPTV television broadcasting distribution undertaking (BDU) subscription, and/or a fixed or wireless broadband internet subscription suitable for television streaming, have had to rely on remaining OTA television transmitters that are locally available and/or a limited time no-fee satellite television program offered by Shaw Direct named the Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) to watch television. Unfortunately, Canada-wide access to OTA television signals has degraded as a result of the country’s 2011 digital television transition and the future of Shaw’s LTSS is uncertain.
Although Canadian television broadcasters were permitted by the CRTC to continue to broadcast in analogue (outside of the 700 MHz band) in non-mandatory digital television markets, it is unclear how long they will do so and when, if ever, all Canadians will be able to benefit from the digital transition. Adding to this, in 2019 some Canadian television broadcasters were required to start transitioning their stations yet again due to the country’s 600 MHz spectrum auction and repack.
PwC reported in 2009 that 9.9% of Canadian households (1.24 million) were “OTA dependent”. As of Spring 2019, Media Technology Monitor (MTM) reported that 7% of 18+ Canadians viewed OTA television and 33% of “Cord Never” students and New Canadians viewed OTA television.
Steven James May