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Laura Keil
[email protected]

You may have seen the warnings on Canadian television networks about the impending transition to Digital Television, but local television station manager Andru McCracken said Valley residents need not worry.

“Let me be perfectly clear,” McCracken says, “Local service television channels will continue as usual on August 31.”

Bob Elliott, who helps oversee TV operations in McBride says there will not be any change, just like in Valemount.
According to McCracken, who works for the Valemount Entertainment Society, few small communities will be affected by the transition.

“If you live in Metro Vancouver, you may be affected. If you live adjacent to a major metropolitan area, you may be affected, but if you live in Valemount, there is no digital transition,” he says. “At least not for a couple of years.”

The CRTC, the regulatory agency which looks after broadcasting in Canada, mandated major broadcasters to change to digital in large markets to allow new technologies to use more of the airwaves designated for analog TV. However, smaller markets are not required to change.

While digital television is a part of the local television society’s long term vision, there is a lot of time, engineering, grant writing, fundraising and public awareness that would need to come first, McCracken says.

Digital television represents a significant improvement over analog television, with crystal clear pictures and sound, much more information can be sent over digital television compared to analog television.

The drawback, McCracken says, is that the initial investment in the technology is cost prohibitive. He says he hopes as the technology becomes more pervasive, prices will drop for digital gear, allowing the local television society to serve the community more efficiently and with more channels.

McCracken suggests that it might be time to get outside and check your antenna, make sure that it is secure with good connections that aren’t corroding.

“Summertime is the right time, to improve your reception,” said McCracken. “If you are having trouble with poor reception, don’t hesitate to call the VCTV for help.”

McCracken also encouraged locals who use satellite to plug an antenna into the back of their satellite receiver, and give local television a whirl.

“Many people don’t realize that there is an input for an antenna right there,” he said. “Just plug in an antenna, indoor or outdoor and turn the satellite box off.”

Valemount is one of the few small communities in the western hemisphere with a locally run television station. “Tune in any night at 7pm to Channel 7 to watch the local program. It’s a little wild, and a little small town”¦ kind of like Valemount.”

The Channels available over the air are: Knowledge Network (ch 4), The Sports Network (ch 6), VCTV (ch 7), YTV (ch 8), CTV (ch 9), Global (ch 11), CBC (ch 12) and the Discovery Channel (ch 13).