While it will only affect a small percentage of the Canadian population, this week marks the end of analog television transmission. Here’s what you need to know, in plain English, to ensure you’re ready for the switch to digital.
If you still receive your television broadcasts from the ‘ol “rabbit ears,” you’ve only got a few more days to make some changes to continue watching TV in Canada.
Don’t panic — this transition should be a fairly painless one.
The 60 year-old “analog” television transmission will end after August, replaced by “digital”-only broadcasts — offering superior picture and sound quality, plus many more channels and interactivity options.
Analog signals will be freed up for public safety needs, such as police, ambulance and fire services, as well as auctioned off to companies offering advanced wireless services to consumers.
OK, so what does it all mean? If you already subscribe to digital television service, like Bell TV, nothing will change for you. Or if your TV has a built-in digital tuner (ATSC) then you also won’t be affected, though there might be a few tweaks needed (check your manual or click here).
But if you have an older analog (NTSC) television, and are using an indoor or outdoor antenna to receive your TV signal, you will need to purchase a converter box to change the digital signals to analog, which start at about $50 for a basic model. Alternatively, you could make the switch to cable or satellite.
By the way, analog TVs will continue to work as before with DVD players, camcorders, gaming consoles and other devices you might attach to it.
Not sure if your television is a digital one? Look at the back for labels that might contain the words “Built-in Digital Tuner” or “DTV” or something to that effect. If you own a high-definition television (HDTV) then it’s a digital one. When it doubt, contact your television manufacturer and have your TV model number handy.
Need to replace your TV anyway? For the past five years, all new televisions sold in Canada are equipped with a digital tuner.
Disclosure: Sync is owned and operated by Bell Media, a BCE company.