Canadian TV auds get mixed signals

CTAM's Piercy urges consumer education

U.S. citizens fretting about the digital TV transition in February, take heart. Canadians aren’t exactly zipping to the forefront of technology either.

Although 30% of Canucks now own HDTVs, 17% of that group don’t have the set-top box required to deliver high-def signals, according to the third annual consumer survey by the Canadian chapter of the Cable Telecommunications Assn. for Marketing CTAM.

CTAM Canada prexy John Piercy was “shocked” at the high level of befuddlement, and says cable providers, TV makers and sellers need to step up consumer education.

“I overheard a guy at a restaurant tell his friend all you need to do is call your cable company and they’ll ‘fix’ your TV,” Piercy says with a laugh.

High-def ignorance, which clearly crosses borders, may turn to fear Feb. 17 when roughly 1,800 U.S. stations go digital; Canada’s “switchover” date is the more distant Aug. 31, 2011.

Millions of Canucks living along the border receive U.S. stations and, warns Piercy, “Unless those consumers get a box, those signals are going dark.”

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