A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Broadcast TV in GBOS

A few weeks ago I wrote about the possible demise of all our broadcast TV reception in this area. The Broadcasters are crying that the cost to go digital as required by the CRTC by 2011 is too expensive and around 10% of their market will not be covered. It seems we here in Grey Bruce are part of that 10% because at this point they are still, so far as I know, talking about shutting down the existing analog transmitters in the area shortly leaving us with no choice (at least where I live) but satellite TV. Nothing wrong with that option except that compared with the cost of broadcast ($0) it is expensive, used to be that the lack of local stations was a bit of a problem but it seems that any local coverage has gone by the wayside anyway, so it just cost. I find it hard to justify an ongoing cost of $500 or more each year for the little we watch, but still like to see the news and some of the other programming sometimes.

So anyway I went looking to see what broadcast TV was currently licensed and what had been PROPOSED for digital, mostly to see if it was even going to be worth while to get a digital converter come next fall. Who know what will be still “on the books” by then but if you want to see what the current and future broadcast spectrum in this area looks like as it stand right now go to TV Fool and enter your coordinates to see all the stations within range and where they are in relation to your residence. You can get either a map or a detailed list. Could be that with a good uhf antenna we could bring in one of those new digital stations from Barrie or Kitchener if no local transmitters survive?

To find your coordinates either use google maps or go to the Grey or Bruce county GIS mapping site, locate your place and click on details to see the coordinates. Note that the coordinates expressed in degrees, minutes and seconds is not the same as when it is expressed in decimal which is what the TV site requires.

I considered the other alternative which was getting high speed internet with sufficient bandwith to watch programming and movies from on line but given that once again we out here are limited to wireless for high speed the cost is WAY to rich for me, even given how much I would like high speed for greater ease in research and downloads from the internet. At in excess of $500 up front for a tower to get above the tree line and equipment plus around a $1000 a year on an ongoing basis for any kind of package that does not have “limitations” on the volume of traffic its WAY out of my price range!

So its dial up internet and an ever reducing availability of TV news, thank goodness we have local radio to keep us up to date with a little of our local goings on, but their snippets are hardly in depth news. Seem the communications age is passing us rural folks by …… unless you can toss $$$ at it, not probable given the “job market” locally and province wide!

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