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HD programming is accessible in most areas of Canada from satellite and cable services, and in certain areas, from over-the-air broadcasts. The options for receiving HDTV include the following and not all of them may be available in your area.

1. Over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts, which are now available in Toronto and soon will be in Montreal and Vancouver, will become more prevalent over time. The big advantage with OTA HD is that it is free. You will need an HDTV set that has a HD tuner built-in or a set-top box tuner. This tuner will enable the set to receive and decode HD broadcasts, using an antenna. It’s important to note that the digital specialty channels with HD programming do not broadcast over-the-air, and are only available from cable and satellite. Your new HD set should still be able to receive analogue broadcasts with its regular analogue built-in tuner.

2. Most of the cable companies can now provide digital cable services, which deliver SD level picture quality with even the analogue programs being converted to SD. You need a digital set-top box for this and proper connectivity to your HD set. However to receive and display HD programming channels of digital cable, you will need a special HD set-top box or an HD Cable Ready television, which can decode and deliver the HD programming available in all its glory. Digital and HD set-top boxes are typically available for rent or purchase. The Cable Ready television is soon coming into the market and requires a CableCard supplied by the cable company to enable reception. The Cable Ready HD television will also receive OTA channels when they become available in your area.

3. The two satellite companies in Canada transmit all of their programs digitally in SD or HD form. To receive HD satellite programming you will need a satellite dish and the High Definition set-top box which decode the HD programming for display. These STB’s are offered for sale or rent by the satellite companies.

To find out more about what HD programming services are available, and how to get them, follow the links by clicking on the logos below. If your local cable company is not listed here, contact them to ask if HDTV services may be available in your area.

The future is exciting for pre-recorded entertainment as well. Although current DVDs aren’t available in an HD format, there are plans to introduce this in the near future. Still most DVDs include supplemental information, and offer both 4:3 and the letterboxed 16:9 aspect ratios on playback. Many DVD players will reproduce the program in the progressive format with associated 5.1digital audio, and when viewed on HD with progressive scan, the results approach HDTV quality. Additionally, many HD televisions will also display computer files and the output of digital cameras and camcorders with excellent image quality.

Your purchase of an HD television opens the door to a new level of entertainment in your home. Canadian program makers, broadcasters and distributors are moving rapidly to deliver the HD services and programs you want.



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