Canada Concerned About Country's DTV Transition

An article 'Crisis' Looms in Digital TV Transition: CRTC Boss in Broadcaster Magazine indicates Canada may be having trouble with its DTV transition. Konrad von Finckenstein, head of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) speaking to attendees at the Banff World Television Festival, repeated what he said two years ago at another broadcasting meeting: "My great concern is that the industry will not be ready," said von Finckenstein. "There will be requests for delays, and we will have a crisis on our hands. This must not be allowed to happen."

Full power analog TV operations in Canada are supposed to end after Aug. 31, 2011. Just as in the United States, channels 52-69 will be reallocated. There are different rules for the transition in Canada, including mandatory and non-mandatory markets. They are described in the article.

In his presentation, von Finckenstein says the DTV transition could create some interesting opportunities for television broadcasters, including Mobile DTV services. "I would expect that mobile broadcasting is something that would be of great interest to independent producers," he said.

As many as 44,000 households in non-mandatory markets could potentially lose access to local TV after the transition. Satellite service would be the only alternative, and that costs money to install and the households losing off-air capability would have to pay the going rate for satellite television service they used to receive free of charge.

Von Finckenstein called the situation "clearly untenable." What could be termed a free "basic cable" for Canadian satellite is an option, but it would require amending current regulations. Some of the items he mentioned, including those on the need for consumer education, mirror what those of us in the United States were talking about a year ago.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.