CRTC Sets Requirements for Digital TV Transition

The CRTC has released a decision that sets the requires for the over-the-air transition from analog to digital.  The Commission has ruled that conventional broadcasters are expected to convert to digital transmitters in all major markets, which it defines as "the Commission determines that major markets shall include the national capital and all provincial and territorial capital cities, as well as markets either served by multiple originating stations (including CBC stations) or with populations greater than 300,000."  The policy excludes Kelowna, Abbotsford, Sudbury, Kingston, and Thunder Bay (among many others). The complete list of mandatory markets includes:

British Columbia: Vancouver, Victoria
Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge
Saskatchewan: Regina, Saskatoon
Manitoba: Winnipeg
Ontario: Toronto*, London, Windsor, Kitchener
Quebec: Montréal, Québec, Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke, Rivière-du-Loup, Saguenay
New Brunswick: Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton
Nova Scotia: Halifax
Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown
Newfoundland and Labrador: St. John’s
Yukon: Whitehorse
Northwest Territories: Yellowknife
Nunavut: Iqaluit
National Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau)

*Barrie and Hamilton are included in the Toronto market since their stations compete in the Toronto market.


  1. Why are there exclusions?
    I live in one of the excluded cities. Why am I being discriminated against?

  2. Darryl Moore says:

    You know, if all the money that the broadcasters were pouring into OTA HDTV were pooled with the money that the government could get by selling the UHF frequencies that OTA HDTV uses, that money could go a long way toward ensuring everyone in this country had high speed Internet service. Once everyone has high speed Internet then you don’t need the conventional broadcast regimes or OTA HDTV, and no one would be left out.

    Of course you do need strong Net Neutrality laws, and you lose a lot of ability to enforce CanCon, either of which probably makes such thoughts a pipe dream as there are too many special interests working against you.

  3. Disillusioned says:

    The proverbial “nail on the head”
    Darryl Moore said:” Once everyone has high speed Internet then you don’t need the conventional broadcast regimes or OTA HDTV, and no one would be left out. ”

    Exactly why the incumbent service providers who control approximately 95% of broadband access in Canada are using congestion scare tactics (real or perceived) to impose “traffic management” and gatekeeper control. All to protect their other vested interests of monetized broadband content offerings, conventional broadcast offerings, and traditional telecom offerings. All the while pushing up speed offerings on infrastructure that apparently can’t support it. Strange how shortly after all this restriction during prime time hours of 4:30pm to 2:00am, Bell can now offer the following:

  4. Glen Merrick says:

    Seriously. Why do we even still have OTA broadcasting?
    I have not had a TV connected to an antenna in years, they have all been connected to the basic cable package I pay for and get local programming as part of the package. In times of emergency, I use the radio because it is portable.

    slash flame on…..

  5. Rural Dweller says:

    Yes, living in a rural area of this wonderful country, that has no cable service, OTA is still alive and well.

    Add to that those who live in urban areas where cable is available, but with a choice of putting food on the table and paying rent, versus paying for cable service, they choose to meet the basic need to nurish thier bodies and maintain a roof over thier heads.

    So yes OTA broadcast is still alive and well, and being viewed.

  6. Why wouldn’t we still have OTA broadcasting?
    Glen, what is the difference between receiving your TV signal over cable, or over the air? The only real difference is that you’re paying the cable company. The only advantage of going with cable or satellite, is that you can receive channels that are not local. If you’re only interested in local programming or network programming, then over-the-air television should be perfect.

    Up until now, with analog, the signal over the air can be pretty bad compared to (traditional) cable, but with the transition to digital, your picture and audio are crystal clear–even better than what you receive using (digital) cable. If you want to see the potential of digital over-the-air television, have a look at some American cities after their digital transition: 50+ HDTV channels, free, over the air, with the stations receiving their revenue from the commercials. So, one might ask, why do we still have cable TV?

  7. Here you go Digital…Meh;

    I live in a rural area and the only TV I get is over the air CBC. Which is just fine by me, but if that goes I have to pay at least $35+ a month to get CBC back via Satellite. Not!

  8. RE: Crocket
    You can always get a digital conversion box or a digital compatible TV.

  9. Re: Eric
    These are not available in all areas. I’ve only recently started seeing them in my area.

    Back on topic, the reason, as I read it, is because of the cost… So, for how many YEARS have the broadcasters known about the need to convert in the future? Many. More than enough time to put away the monies required to do the conversion. Instead of putting away the money for when they needed it, they spent it on all sorts of things, including lobbyists to the CRTC. Very short sighted. Why should they be rewarded for this?

  10. Patrick McNamara says:

    Surrounding areas?
    What about cities like Oshawa that technically are within the Greater Toronto Area? Right now none of the Toronto broadcasters are broadcasting digitally anywhere near as strong as their analog. It’s easier to pick up US stations digitally than Toronto stations.

  11. Over the Air (OtA) is superior to cable/satellite in many ways, except # of channels
    If you get your signal OtA, it is uncompressed and unencrypted.

    This means the OtA signal is of **higher** quality than cable/satallite, because it has *not* been re-encoded at a lower quality level, which is common on cable and satellite to reduce bandwidth usage.

    Being unencrypted means you have a raw MPEG2 stream you can record to hard disk and store/re-encode as you like. A PVR in this context with burnable *HD* content is trivial. Current HD PVRs only burn HD content as Standard Definition (SD) DVDs.

  12. This
    I wonder if the same thing will happen to business phone systems.