I was setting up a new television for the museum the other day and I was joking with the receptionist if she had some rabbit ears, she could watch Young and the Restless. She laughed and said true, but rabbit ears won’t work past February as the American’s are not going to be broadcasting anymore. The archivist also said the same thing, friends of hers told her that her rabbit ears won’t work after February.
That not true but it is what people are hearing. The truth is come February, the US is turning off analog television transmissions and moving to full digital transmissions. Canada is moving to the new standard but has set a deadline of August, 2011. In the US almost all channels are broadcasting now in digital and the picture looks amazing. I have a flat screen at home with a digital tuner in it and I get 3 HD and 4 SD channels from from Watertown, NY with just my rabbit ears. With an outdoor antenna, I can usually get 16 or so channels in the digital format, but no Canadian stations. If you live in Toronto, there is about 30 some digital channels that can be received including almost all the Canadian broadcasters. Here is a list of Toronto and Buffalo Digital Stations courtesy the OTA forums at Digital Home.
The truth is, if you have an older TV that doesn’t decode digital transmissions, you simply need a tuner box. Pretty much the same idea behind a satellite receiver or digital cable box. You’ll hook that up to the television and plug it into the antenna, and then you are off to the races. The picture quality on the digital broadcasts is superb and works pretty much the same as satellite, either you get the picture or you don’t, it doesn’t get ghosted like the analog picture does.
If you are looking for more information here are some links to try
Digital home OTA forum – http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=81
DTV Answers – http://www.dtvanswers.com/
Canadian Heritage Department – http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/ac-ca/progs/ri-bpi/pubs/lincoln/05_e.cfm