CRTC provides update on the transition to digital television

OTTAWA-GATINEAU, July 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today issued additional information concerning the transition from analog to digital television, which must be completed by August 31, 2011. The CRTC is making this data available to assist the broadcasting industry in its preparations for the switchover.

Canadians who subscribe to cable or satellite television services will not be affected by the digital transition. Only viewers who watch television stations using a "rabbit-ears" antenna may experience some change in the way they receive television signals.

It is estimated that up to 857,000 households in larger markets do not subscribe to either cable or satellite. These consumers may need to purchase digital converter boxes to continue watching local stations on their existing television sets. The boxes cost up to $75 for each television in the home.

In smaller markets, some local stations may decide not to convert to digital, but instead rely solely on cable and satellite companies to deliver their signal to viewers. The CRTC will modify its regulation to allow television distributors to provide a free alternative to affected viewers in those smaller markets. These companies will be able to offer a package of local and regional stations at no charge to viewers. In order to receive the free local package, some consumers may have to purchase a satellite receiver and dish at a minimum cost of $300, depending on the number of televisions in the home. At most, 31,500 households could be affected.

Consumer awareness and education is a key component of the digital transition. Members of the broadcasting industry are expected to actively participate in the creation and implementation of a national consumer education program. Such a program should start no later than March 2011 to ensure Canadians are well informed.

At the request of the industry, the CRTC is prepared to facilitate the establishment of trial markets ahead of the August 2011 deadline. This would provide an opportunity to assess the adequacy of all measures for the transition, including consumer education measures.

For more information, please see the CRTC's fact sheet on the digital transition.

Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-485


The CRTC is an independent public authority that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in Canada.

Reference documents:

News release, "CRTC unveils a new group-based television regulatory policy," March 22, 2010

Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2010-169

These documents are available in alternative format upon request.

SOURCE Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

For further information: For further information: Media Relations:, Tel: 819-997-9403, Fax: 819-997-4245; General Inquiries: Tel: 819-997-0313, TDD: 819-994-0423, Fax: 819-994-0218, Toll-free No. 1-877-249-CRTC (2782), TDD - Toll-free No. 1-877-909-CRTC (2782),

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