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The majority of Canada switched from analog to digital TV transmissions long ago, but Valemount is coming late to the party.

On July 4, the Valemount Entertainment Society (VES) is launching its first local digital television channel.

“In 2011 the CRTC mandated all television in the future be broadcast in digital,” said VES Coordinator and VCTV Station Manager, Gord Peters.

“Smaller communities were exempt from the given deadline to give them more time to ready for the conversion,” he said.

The main reason bigger broadcasters have switched in the past, Peters said, is picture quality, and it’s the reason Valemount is switching now.

“Crystal clear pictures — no more weak, snowy reception,” said Peters. “Digital signals don’t weaken over distance. When you receive a digital signal the picture will be clear and sharp.”

Another added bonus to digital transmission is what Peters referred to as “multiplexing”. With traditional analog TV each program is only allowed one channel, he said, but with digital multiple channels can be combined.

“For example, channel 7 could have three programs on it as channels 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3,” said Peters. “This means VES will offer more channels in digital than the current seven in analog.”

Plus, Peters added, it’s just simply time to upgrade the technology.

“As existing analog equipment ages, it is increasingly difficult to find the parts and qualified service technicians to do the repair work,” said Peters. “We feel the time is right to begin the conversion to digital broadcasting for Valemount.”

Peters said to receive the new digital channels, residents require a TV capable of receiving digital signals or they’ll have to convert an existing analog TV to digital by purchasing a digital box.

VES will send a mail-out to all residents with more details, and is providing two information sessions, the first on May. 31 at 7 PM. The session will be held in the classroom at 99 Gorse Street.