September 1 was the day that most Canadian tv stations were required to turn off their analogue signals. In August, I bought a digital tv converter so that our outdoor rotatable antenna could feed its digital tv signal to our analogue, picture-tube tv. It worked, and the females of the family were impressed by the better picture. (OTA = over the air.)
While away on a business trip in September, my wife emailed that she could no longer pick up CBC or CTV. I figured the problem might be that I had moved the antenna due to renovations at our house. Digital tv is not like analogue, where you can still get a fuzzy image; digital is ON or it is OFF. While back home for a couple of days, I climbed onto the roof, and moved the antenna around while my wife monitored the tv. No change.
I contemplated the financial horror of getting cable, and so spent yesterday evening trying to solve the problem. At one point I got distracted reading up on Wikipeadia why CBC in Vancouver is named CBUT -- it is short for Butte Street, the street on which the station first began broadcasting in 1953.
One sentence in the article described how this station began digital broadcasts in August 2009 -- and then came the key: on September 1, it changed channels!
That's right: the day Canadians are supposed to successfully change to all-digital tv, CBC (and CTV, it turned out) changed their digital channel numbers.
And those of us who use antenna would never know. Here's why: when you install the digital tv converter, its first task is to scan and memorize all the digital tv signals that it can pick up. This I did in August, creating a list that became partially invalid in September.
I got the converter to rescan, it found the wayward stations, and I again saved myself $1,000 a year in unwanted cable bills. (We now have a total of 8 stations.)