Canada: Ottawa Has No Plans for HD Conversion Push

Despite warnings in some quarters that Canadian broadcasters are falling behind their U.S. colleagues in adopting HD and other forms of DTV as a national standard, Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda said this month she has no immediate plans to step in to help accelerate the process, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

While America prepares for its current analog cutoff date in February 2009, Oda said she prefers to see more research before making a government decision on when a final transition should be designated for Canadian broadcasters.

Oda, a former TV executive, has also reportedly put off any immediate plans to revise the government-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) mandate because of an overall technology review, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

But the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) already had decided against setting a deadline for Canadian stations to switch to digital -- instead allowing market forces to dictate the switchover. Yet some Canadian broadcasters say without a clear cutoff date, it makes it much harder for networks and local stations to invest in HD infrastructure, while at the same time maintaining their analog systems for an unspecified period of time.