HDTV Comes to Canada

With the telecast of "Mission Impossible 2" on Jan. 16, Toronto-based Citytv says it will be the first Canadian broadcaster to offer an HDTV program to viewers. Citytv parent CHUM has an exclusive deal with Rogers, a local cable company, whose digital cable channel will broadcast the HD signal. The movie will be simul
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With the telecast of "Mission Impossible 2" on Jan. 16, Toronto-based Citytv says it will be the first Canadian broadcaster to offer an HDTV program to viewers.

Citytv parent CHUM has an exclusive deal with Rogers, a local cable company, whose digital cable channel will broadcast the HD signal. The movie will be simulcast in analog on Citytv's UHF frequency and on its regular cable and satellite channels.

Citytv was one of the first Canadian broadcasters to submit an application to federal regulators for an over-the-air HDTV license, but approval of the application is still pending. In the meantime, CHUM will continue cable delivery of an HDTV feed, maintaining that CRTC approval is not required for HD broadcasts as long as they are simulcast. On tap next for Citytv are HD simulcasts of "Smallville" and movies on a monthly basis.

Canada, for now, lags far behind the U.S. in the digital transition. Canadian HD signals have so far been limited to test programming on cable and satellite services, which have also offered some U.S. signals. In addition, some viewers living in the U.S.-Canadian border area are able to pick up digital broadcast signals from U.S. broadcasters.