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Canada: Who Offers More HD? Apparently No One

See if this sounds familiar…

One DBS firm says it provides the most HD content because it has the most HD channels, per se. The cable competitor counters that it has the most HD content based on how many “choices” it provides through its PPV/VOD menus.

That sounds a whole lot like the marketing duel still persisting today in the United States between Comcast (the PPV/VOD guy) and DirectTV (the channels guy).

In Canada, the dueling HD competitors are DBSer Bell TV and cabler Rogers.

As Digital Home Canada explains on its Web site, “The problem with this raw count approach is that most cable, satellite and IPTV providers pad their HD channel counts by including redundant pay per view (PPV) channels, limited run sports channels and redundant network stations.”

For example, while Bell TV claims to have 86 HD channels, the technology Web site Home found that at least 10 channels were PPV and 14 were only part-time sports channels. Also, both Bell TV and Rogers reportedly boost their respective channel counts by including multiple stations from the same network, such as the CBC. An example of this is Bell TV which offers three CBC HD stations: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver while Rogers Cable offers only one in Toronto. Certainly having access to three CBC affiliates is better than having access to just one but since most of the programming is the same on all three channels, the amount of additional HD programming is minimal.

Another issue that Americans do not face is the inclusion (or a lack, thereof) of both French- and English-speaking HD channels in any analysis.

But in its final analysis, Digital Home Canada concludes that “by virtue of its lengthy French HD channel line-up, Bell TV offers more overall, and French HD programming, than Rogers Cable.”

But not leaving well enough alone, the analysis goes on to muddy the waters and a bit and also concludes: “On the English programming side, however, Digital Home's analysis suggests both providers have a compelling English-language HD offering, with Rogers having a slight advantage, thanks to the inclusion of several unique stations not found on Bell TV.”