Older-model TVs need new digital box to get signal

Islanders who watch CBC English-language television on an older-model televisions using rabbit ears or a roof-top antenna will have to get new equipment when the signal goes digital on Sept. 1.

Islanders who watch CBC English-language television on an older-model TV using rabbit ears or a roof-top antenna will have to get new equipment when the signal goes digital on Sept. 1.

That's when CBC will stop broadcasting its analog signal for English-language television in Charlottetown. The city's signal services most of P.E.I.

Anyone with an older-model television will need a digital box said Steve Guiton, CBC's chief regulatory officer. That converter can cost up to $100.

But people with flat-screen televisions will likely only need a $30 digital antenna.

"If they have a newer TV, all they have to do is change the antenna — instead of rabbit ears it's a slightly different looking antenna — to a different kind that's kind of a boxy thing," said Guiton. "And that costs a few bucks at an electronics store. And that's the only change they'll have to make."

There are some very small pockets of people in the far eastern and western ends of the Island that may still be able to get analog service with old technology.

But Guiton said most people won't notice any change, because they get their CBC signal via cable or satellite.

French analog extention

Meanwhile, CBC will continue to offer French-language services to analog viewers in Charlottetown for at least one more year.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Tuesday that 22 analog transmitters in the country that were supposed to shut down at the end of the month have been given an extension. Charlottetown's French-language transmission was one of them.

The extention was part of a CBC committment to provide a free signal to all parts of Canada. Without the extension, people in Charlottetown using antennas would not have been able to receive any French-language service.

"Today's CRTC decision doesn't change much for P.E.I. English-language services. It does allow us, however, to keep French-language service going in Charlottetown and so that's a big plus," said Guiton. "We're happy about that."