Digital TV signals01 September 2011
So Wednesday night to Thursday morning was the transition for most major markets in Canada to digital tv (DTV) and most analogue stations were turned off. I've been enjoying Over-the-Air (OTA) HDTV since I first moved to Toronto in 2007 and have followed most stations coming on the air.
If you want to get HDTV using an antenna, you still can in most major cities in Canada. All you need is a digital tuner in or for your TV and an antenna. Most flat screen TVs have digital tuners in them and all new ones do now that the transition has happened. Generally, you want a UHF antenna, but check what channel the stations in your city are actually on. I manage to pick up CTV on channel 9 (VHF) using my indoor UHF antenna, but can't seem to get CHCH on 11 (VHF) - this may be a station power issue.
(Note: Most stations are using virtual numbers so they appear on your TV as whatever they used to be. e.g., in Toronto CBC was 5 and shows up as 5-1 on my TV but its station is actually broadcasting on 20-1 so it is in the UHF band.)
The forums at digitalhome.ca can help. The OTA Reception Results section is useful and filled with helpful posters in each city who can try to help you get your antenna aimed for best results. There are also sections where posters report problems with stations in each TV market, so you can know whether a missing station is your problem or a station problem.
Anyway, I am currently enjoying 9 stations of HDTV from my antenna. Due to the direction my apartment faces, I can't get stations from Buffalo, but I used to at an old apartment and had 20 stations there. If you have a HDTV, then you don't have much to lose from trying out an antenna and seeing what you can pick up.