Rogers Cable

Rogers Cable To Go Fully Digital

I have just received an email from Rogers saying that they “will soon be fully upgraded to an all-digital format for improved picture and sound quality”, which means that they will be dropping all of their analog channels soon.

Customers that use digital set top boxes will not require additional equipment. But Rogers will be providing digital adapters free to customers that have simply connected their televisions to their outlets via and their customer service department at 1-800-530-4034.

The other cable networks may choose to follow Rogers’ example so keep an eye out on your statements and emails.

CRTC Hearings Start Today

The public hearings in regards to television in Canada have started today and will continue for six weeks.

Issues discussed will be basic cable rate maximums, channel packaging and the options to pick and pick individual channels, internet based television broadcasting, and whether off the air television should continue.

Unfortunately I had attempted to “cut the cord” and get my local channels off the air here in Ottawa and failed because of numerous issues caused by the broadcasters themselves, as explained in a previous blog post. But i’m hoping the CTRC will consider continuing off the air television broadcasts and attempt to fix the associated issues.

I’m hoping they will consider moving all digital broadcasts off the VHF band to the UHF band and allow the use of sub-channels, which would allow CTV 1 and CTV 2 to broadcast on one channel, for example. But I get this feeling that the broadcasters are going to try to end off the air television altogether, which would be rather annoying.

Yes, a reduction of basic cable to $20-$30 would be good. But I suspect this will result in some channels being removed from the basic cable line-up, especially now that some of the providers are pushing exclusivity.

What i’d personally like to see is must carry status for music networks that feature Canadian music videos and live performances by indie bands and lesser known acts. And yes, I know these stations have pretty much packed their schedules with “reality programs”. But is an hour or two per day too much to ask for ?

I’m going to keep an eye on this issue for the blog but if you want more details on what’s going on at the CRTC, click here or tune in on CPAC live weekdays at 9AM Eastern.

Free Television Online ? Update.

Francophone service has decided to offer extra content to their subscriber. But again it appears that some people will get this content free and some people will need to pay $6.99 per month for the service.

Now rebranded as, the Radio-Canada affiliate will offer their extra content free to Telus and Rogers subscribers but this commercial free content will only be available as a subscription to everyone else.

Personally I used the service to catch up on Radio-Canada Television programs La Facture, L’épicerie, Découverte and La Semaine Verte whenever I missed an episode of these series. But now I don’t know if the service will remain accessible on my Smart TV, as is, or if it will only be able to access a few episodes because I am not on Telus or Rogers.

The site is currently in beta so details are light. But it appears that users might already be limited to one or two seasons worth of episodes online.

I have checked the recordings for the aforementioned series and they appear to be limited to the most recent season, which is acceptable. But hopefully they are not considering further cuts to the free content.

I have noticed that they have added quite a few Pierre Richard films so I’m a bit tempted to take advantage of their $3.49 offer, which is valid for three months. And I’m sure if they were to offer more films from TV5, TFO and Telé Québec I would possibly consider subscribing. But I’m guessing they will take some time to get the site up and running at full speed.

Is Free Television Being Phased Out ?

Do you guys remember when we were first told that off air television broadcasts would go digital and that more people would be getting free television using antennas ?

Do you remember when we could watch television programs for free online legally through the Canadian network web sites ?

Well, if you want proof that the cable and satellite companies don’t want people to “cut the cord” you just have to look at the current status of television in Canada.

It started with Global Television in my area.

I had decided to stop paying $7 plus tax per month for extra outlets and although I was able to receive Global Television clearly for months, it has suddenly disappeared one summer.

Apparently the owner of the network decided to reduce the strength of the transmission so now an external antennae is required. But this was of course no problem because I was able to access television programs online via the network’s web site.

Then a few months back I noticed I was no longer receiving CTV, which had a strong signal until then.

I am located within 15 kilometers from the broadcasting tower for both stations so there was no reason for my loss of CTV as well. But like Global Television, CTV is also owned by a cable or satellite provider so I had assumed that they also reduced their off air broadcasting strength. And again I decided to stick to on demand and online broadcasts until I get an external antenna.

By then I had switched from Rogers Cable to Bell Fibe TV so I was mostly just watching television programs on demand for free, just like I has done with Rogers. But since Rogers had purchased the rights to the hockey broadcasts there appeared to be issues relating to what could be viewed by what subscribers online.

Now Canadians are being asked to login their cable or satellite provider accounts to view television programs on the major network sites. And the selection of programing is currently  limited to the networks owned by their provider.


Personally I think we should be able to get our local channels off air and online based on our IP address.

There should be enough advertisement revenue there for networks to profit on and cable and satellite providers could always give people access to specialty networks and  on demand programming.

We should be progressing off the problematic off air VHF frequencies and move stations to UHF like most American networks have.

Phase 3 of the “Let’s Talk TV” consultations at the CRTC will begin in April with the publication of details on the public hearing scheduled in September. And from the government’s response last Budget Day, it appears that our cable/satellite channels may get unbundled.

Hopefully this will not be more expensive for consumers, a concern we should all share because these companies have been hiking their rates excessively over the past few years.

The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting estimated in Oct 2013 that many of Canada’s cable companies had hiked their rates from 81% to 96% since 2002 ; Almost five times inflation. And Forbes believes the model is unsustainable so we’ve got to wonder what exactly we’re going to be subjected to as consumers.

Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had mentioned that “cable-TV companies have become like utilities because there are only so many providers that offer the service in a certain region” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last October so perhaps the current government is considering regulating them. But I guess we’ll only know for sure after  the public hearings in September.

By the way, you can access information in regards to the previous phases of “Let’s Talk TV” on the official CRTC web site, which includes comments from the public.

Two Months To Go !

The digital television transition in Canada is two months away.

This means television stations airing in Canada’s major cities will no longer broadcast in analog over the air. But this signal will be replaced by a digital signal that most LCD, LED and plasma televisions are ready to receive via antenna. Most other televisions will require a digital to analog converter box to receive off the air television signals.

Of course those of you who subscribe to cable, satellite and IPTV services will not need to do a thing. But on September 1st, 2011 you may have this additional option, depending on where you live.

I’ve dropped my extra outlets and have hooked up several televisions to an antenna, saving $7 in fees per month. And from the information gathered from TV Fool, it appears that I should get all but one or two of my local channels after the transition, which will probably come in if I invest in the Terk antenna i’m eyeing.

Those who have or are able to erect an antenna outside will probably have the best luck getting the further transmissions. But i’m also considering an attic installation myself, to get all the local stations and possibly PBS from Norwood, NY.

I managed to get the latter with an indoor antenna last summer for a few days and i’m hoping to get it more regularly.

I will of course be doing quite a large amount of experimenting in the last few days of August. But of course it’ll be worth it, just to get off cable.