Here in Canada, we're less than one year away from the digital television transition. After August 31, 2011, most Canadians will no longer be able to receive analog television transmissions over the air. Digital television promises better picture and sound, the capacity for additional programming, and a more efficient use of the wireless spectrum. An estimated 1 million Canadians will be affected by the change.
Recently, Michael Geist wrote that due to a lack of public education and subsidy programs, many Canadians won't be ready, and that this transition "could lead to a new digital divide."
The CRTC has tried to push the issue onto the public agenda, but has thus far faced government opposition and broadcaster indifference. As a result, when Canada's broadcasters flip the switch next summer, hundreds of thousands of Canadians may find themselves on the wrong side of a new digital divide.Responding to Geist's column, Bill St. Arnaud wrote on his blog:
Micheal Geist has recently expressed legitimate concerns about the advent of digital TV and the impact that this will have on those with older TVs who currently don't subscribe to cable TV or satellite service. I believe that, in fact, digital TV will have the opposite effect and be of much greater benefit for those who cant afford such services as now they will be able to receive high quality HDTV ( in many cases higher quality than over cable or satellite). Digital TV will allow many of us (especially in Canada and the US) to sever the cable and get rid of our outrageously expensive cable TV and/or satellite service. Most cable and satellite companies charge extra to receive HD Channels over their system.
This week, Nora will talk to both Michael Geist and Bill St. Arnaud about the coming digital television transition. We'd love to include some of your questions in the discussion. If you have a digital television question for Michael or Bill, please leave it below in the comments.