September 13, 2011

Antenna sales booming as TV goes digital


At the end of August digital-only broadcasts replaced analog transmissions in most parts of Canada. People with older TVs that rely on rabbit ears must either buy a digital television, or a digital-analog converter box.

That or start paying for cable TV.

But some people find the concept of paying for TV silly when they can get up to 30 Canadian/American channels for free with a good quality antenna (like the one shown here)... or simply download their favourite TV shows online through a variety of websites which offer free TV downloads. ie. CBC, CTV and numerous other Canadian / American networks already offer streamed TV shows.

But for those who go the antenna route its an one time payment and they get digital stations broadcast in wide screen high-definition quality, and in many cases, with multi-channel surround sound audio.

This has caused a huge spike in antenna sales across Canada, according to Elliott Chun, communications manager for Future Shop. "Some people simply refuse to subscribe to cable, and since the [analog] cut-off the other week, we've seen a lot of customers coming in to buy an antenna."

So much so that Future Shop and many other stores are SOLD OUT of antennas. Sales associates are referring customers to their website to order antennas.

"Everything went bananas about two weeks ago when stations switched from analog to digital and sales are just as strong," says Jeff Bayly, owner and operator of the Ottawa-based OTA Canada (OTA = "over the air") which sells mostly outdoor antennas with a stronger reception. "We recently got shipment of 50 to 60 antennas and sold out right away, both in our storefront and online, but we've since brought in more inventory."

Bayly also wrote an iPhone app, OTAMap ($1.99) that lists all the HD OTA stations available and guides users on where to point the antenna (typically south, but there are exceptions) to get the best reception.

There's also "internet cable" now too. A box you plug into your internet service and download cable. Several companies available too: Apple TV, Boxxee Box or LG Smart TV Upgrader (all between $100 and $200).

Here is a list of pros and cons to using antennas:


Over-the-air HD broadcasts are free after the initial costs of an antenna (typically $40 to $150) and perhaps $40 for a chimney mount or $10 to $30 for an antenna mast. (If you're a smart cookie you can even BUILD your own antenna.)

The video and audio quality of these "uncompressed" HD broadcasts are often better than what you'd get from cable or satellite.

Canadians will get American commercials on American channels (great for watching Super Bowl ads).


Some set-up is required, such as buying and placing an antenna to pick up a signal; a digital TV with integrated ATSC tuner is required to process the signal. Reception can be affected by obstacles (tall trees, buildings) and weather (fog, hard rain, snow), but will still be better than satellite.

Station selection is limited. You can get the major Canadian and perhaps American stations, but few specialty channels, if any. But hey, you probably should not be watching TV 24/7 anyway. If you don't live close to the American border you probably won't be able to access ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX.


These days you can also just download / stream TV on your computer, laptop, tablet or SmartPhone. Now granted, nobody wants to sit there and hold their phone for 45 - 50 minutes watching a TV show... your arm and hand will get sore using the same position constantly. But there is a solution for that... you can either find a way to rest your phone up against books / etc so it is upright and you can see it easily, or you can buy a special stand for your phone so you can rest it there.

In a day and age when TV is becoming obsolete technology is still providing solutions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments containing links will be marked as spam and not approved. We moderate every comment. If you want to advertise on this blog it is $30 per link.

Affordable Website Design & SEO

Looking for a quality professional website designer? Why not go where the smart money is?! Toronto Website Design and Toronto SEO. Get free SEO advice from people who really know the business.

Featured Posts

The Sarcasm Symbol
Ever had some confusion online or with your cellphone when someone fails to catch the sarcasm? Well now with the SarcMark you can ge...
Behold, the Scorpion Hydrogen Supercar
CARS - To the right is the future of supercars... it is a hydrogen supercar called the Scorpion. The Scorpion from Ronn Motors in Texas is t...
Documents show Stephen Harper misusing public funds
CANADA - According to 950+ pages of documents obtained by the Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act the Privy Coun...
Pink's Rosie the Riveter
ENTERTAINMENT - What I like about this video is how it meshes different social movements like feminism, veganism, anti-capitalism...
California's Dustbowl
ENVIRONMENT - The photo on the right is a farm in California that has been put up for sale. Its just one of thousands of farms that are n...
Is Steampunk the New Goth???
GOTHIC - Watch out what you see on the subway late at night because while in 2001 you might have seen some pretty freakish goths, by 20...
Do you have enough Ice Water in your diet?
HEALTH - A Calorie (large C) is a measurement of the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a litre of water (1 kg's worth) ...
North Korean timeline towards Inevitable War
POLITICS - The following is timeline of events that have occurred on the Korean Peninsula. 1945 - Japan surrenders to the United States a...
Judgment Day is Tomorrow, so sayeth Cult
RELIGION - According to a cult based in California, Judgement Day is tomorrow (May 21st 2011) and Jesus Christ will return to the Earth a...
Sex in Space Forbidden
SEX/TECHNOLOGY - Sex in outer space is a big no-no according to NASA. Not for professional astronauts at least, but the growing numb...

Popular Posts