The good news is that there is a lot of HD programming available to Canadians right now. Over-the-air broadcasting is happening in the major centers of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, many cable companies from coast-to-coast are offering a good selection of digital HD channels and the satellite companies have an impressive line up of HD programming.
Canadian HDTV is available today on cable and satellite from CBC/SRC, CITY-TV, CTV, Global, Discovery Channel Canada, MovieCentral, Omni, SportsNet, TSN, and TMN and TQS. Broadcasting station City-TV is already on-air along with CTV, Canwest Global, CBC and Radio Canada. TQS and others have been licensed and all will soon be on-air. More broadcasters will follow shortly as they receive license approval from the CRTC. HDTV from the US networks is also available from the cable and satellite companies.
Canadian retailers of consumer electronics are offering a wide range of HD televisions in a variety of sizes and using the best technologies of LCD, DLP, LCOS (also called HD-ILA), Plasma and CRT while prices continue to fall to affordable levels.
Viewers throughout Canada can now receive the programs for their HD, widescreen display, either off-air with an antenna and HD tuner or by subscription to the HD digital services of a cable or satellite company. Viewers with an HD-Ready set will need an HD set-top box from their satellite or cable service provider or from their CE retailer for off-air services. Some HD televisions coming into the market are already “Cable-Ready”, needing only the CableCard from the cable company for cable service and an antenna for off-air services.
The HD channels at present contain a mix of programs produced in HD, programs originating on film and programs originating in Standard Definition, but increasingly, the popular prime time and special event programs are produced in HD. Programs produced in HD feature the wide-screen aspect ratio and are visually stunning, while motion picture films presented on the HD screen approach the quality of the cinema. SD programming, when up-converted to the wide screen of HD, may not fill the whole width of the screen or may be cropped slightly at the top/bottom to fill the screen. The broadcaster chooses the method that will give the best result on your screen.
More good news is that the amount of HD programming available is increasing rapidly. This season, in addition to many series, several special events will be provided in HD. Check out What’s New for upcoming special HD programming events and HDTV Programs for links to the leading Canadian sources of HDTV programming.