The Explainer

Canada will convert August 31, 2011

Today throughout the United States there is taking place a massive conversion to digital from analog TV

Carl Hall, True North Perspective's Technical Analyst and Web Editor, tells us what the change means to the average viewer

By Carl Hall
Technical Analyst and Web Editor
True North Perspective

Today, Friday, June 12, 2009, all over the air analog TV stations in the United States shut down converting to a 100% digital signal. What does this mean to the average person? How does it affect the way we watch TV? What are the advantages? Disadvantages? Costs?

Well, lets first explore the major benefits of ATSC (digital TV signal) vs. NTSC (analog signal).

Next, the disadvantages.

What are the costs?

What does this mean to the average person?

  • If you have a cable or satellite service to get TV now, you don't need to do anything to prepare
  • If you still receive using an antenna, all you need is a new digital converter box to receive the new signal
  • Or, if you prefer, you could upgrade to a new HDTV with an ATSC tuner built in.
  • How does this change the way we watch TV?

    Many other countries are implementing their own Digital transitions. Some of which are: Canada* (currently set to go all digital August 31 2011), United Kingdom, Japan, most of Europe, Australia, and South Korea. Other countries are actively exploring the possibilities and opportunities for their own digital systems. Some developing countries may even offer the internet through these signals once they have the infrastructure set up.

    * Canada's analog cut off will apply to everywhere except the High Arctic where digital signals are still not cost effective and the best option is satellite or community based cable operators.

    Once this date gets closer in Canada, True North Perspective will continue to provide information to readers on what they need to do to become ATSC ready.

    12 June 2009 — Return to cover.