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CBC to Launch HD in Montreal, Toronto on March 5

The CBC is telling its viewers and listeners it will finally launch (after some false alarms) some limited HD services in Toronto and Montreal this weekend (March 5-6). Canadian viewers with the proper sets and equipment will be able to pick up the HD channels most easily via cable and satellite (using HD STBs), while the CBC says equipment for terrestrial HD reception is still scarce. This weekend's initial HD fare reportedly will include some nature shows and programming originally designed to introduce Canadian viewers to HD. Programming will be offered in English and French.
Most CBC HD programming will employ 5.1 surround sound, and it appears in the early stages that a large amount of SD will be unconverted to HD. CBC is providing lots of details of its HD project in the winter edition of its online newsletter .
Meanwhile, Canadians may be purchasing HD sets at a slightly faster pace than their American neighbors, according to a new survey which also shows Canadians still lack the necessary knowledge to optimize their viewing experience. A survey conducted by Decima Research and commissioned by LG Electronics Canada (which manufactures HD products) found 63 percent of those surveyed "know about HDTV"--and overall, 16 percent of all survey respondents already have HD-ready sets at home. (By comparison, Forrester Research estimated there would be 12 million HDTV-ready televisions in the United States by the end of 2005, or about 10 percent of TV homes.) However, most Canadians surveyed may not know what it entails to actually receive HD channels once they purchase an HD-ready set.