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Canada: CTV Offers Beta Version of Online HD Player

Remember when broadcasters use to shun anything with a in its name? That hesitancy was not just in America, but abroad, as well. Now Canadian viewers are being asked to test a beta version of CTV's new online video player that is being used in the United States to handle HD broadband content.

The CTV HD Beta Player is enabling CTV to become "the first Canadian network to deliver HD quality content on the Web," it said.

While a lot of popular TV aired in Canada consists of American shows, there are a lot of native choices available, as well, and the CTV HD Beta Player currently is featuring free viewings of one of the country's popular comedy series, "Corner Gas."

The Canadian version of the HD player relies on Akamai technology (dubbed "AdaptiveEdge Streaming") which is used for Microsoft's Silverlight player. Like some similar technologies now in play, the Microsoft-Akamai platform adapts individual video quality based on a user's connection speed. CTV said this is the first time the Silverlight player is being deployed by a national broadcaster on a regular basis inside Canada.

Still, judging from three sample downloads by HD Notebook over a 48-hour period this week (accessed in the United States), the CTV HD Beta Player did not appear to achieve typical HD clarity and colorization (using both CRT and LCD monitors)—even when compensating for the occasional idiosyncrasies of broadband downloads.