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CBC To Launch HDTV Broadcasts March 5

According to the Digital Home Canada Web site, CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and its French counterpart Radio-Canada will commence high definition broadcasts on March 5 in Toronto and Montreal.

The CBC began testing signals last week and viewers have reported seeing the HD programming on Videotron and Rogers cable in Ontario and Quebec.

The news comes amid a new survey that shows that Canadian consumers are purchasing HDTV sets at a faster pace then Americans. The survey, commissioned by LG Electronics (LGe) of Canada and conducted by Decima Research, also found that, like in the U.S., confusion over HDTV technology is common among consumers.

According to the survey, approximately two-thirds of Canadians (63 percent) are familiar with HDTV, 21 percent of respondents who know about HDTV have already purchased an HDTV-ready TV and the remaining respondents who know of HDTV (approximately 80 percent), are interested in purchasing an HDTV in the future.

Overall, 16 percent of survey respondents already have an HDTV-ready set in their homes, compared to 10 percent of American homes, according to Forrester Research.

The fact that there is so little high definition programming available to Canadian viewers makes the statistics all the more newsworthy. Many cable and satellite providers rely on American networks for HD broadcasts; besides CBC, CTV, CITY-TV and Global are the only other Canadian networks currently broadcasting HDTV channels nationally.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is encouraging DTV broadcasters in Canada to make two-thirds of their schedule available in HDTV by the end of 2007.