Calgary

TV turns to digital from analog across Canada

Thursday marked the end of an era as free-to-air analog television transmission ended in Canada, replaced by a digital signal.

CBC maintains 22 analog transmitters, including Lethbridge

Thursday marked the end of an era as free-to-air analog television transmission ended in Canada, replaced by a digital signal.

Viewers who relied on outdoor antennas or rabbit ears for their television signal now need a converter box or a digital tuner in order to watch television.

The switchover to DTV was mandated four years ago by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which set Aug. 31 as the deadline for broadcasters to comply.

The CRTC is requiring all broadcasters to go digital in 30 markets, including all provincial capitals and cities with a population of 300,000 or greater. Transmitters located in less populated rural areas are exempt.

Cable and satellite subscribers are unaffected by the switch to DTV.

Moving to digital transmission frees up more room on the airwaves, the CRTC said on its website.

"Digital signals use less airwave space than analog signals. This means that the freed-up space can be used for other services that have a high demand for more space," the agency said.

The CBC converted 27 local stations in mandatory markets — including Calgary — to digital in time for the deadline.

But on Aug. 16 the commission granted the public broadcaster an extension, allowing it to continue operating 22 analog transmitters — including one in Lethbridge — until Aug. 31, 2012.

now