HDTV a threat to Canadian culture: Book

MUMBAI: Two university professors in Canada say that the country's push for HDTV programming could ultimately threaten its cultural identity.

Bart Beaty and Rebecca Sullivan have come out with a book Canadian Television Today. Media reports state that they argue that while HDTV is offered as part of an expanded choice for consumers, the selection of programming using digital over analogue technologies is almost exclusively American.

They say that Canada's integration of HDTV would limit the amount of traditional programming. This is because smaller local programme providers will be passed over for US offerings.

Traditionally television is transmitted in analog format and while HDTV is transmitted in digital. The US wants to end analogue by 2009, but Canada's media regulatory body The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has not set a date. The authors in reports have also questioned The CRTC attempt to rush to catch up with the American demand for HDTV even though Canadian consumers and broadcasters are lukewarm about the technology.

The CRTC will begin hearings in Quebec, today 27 November 2006 and, among other things, will “examine options for the most effective means of delivering Canadian digital/HD television to Canadians,” according to a CRTC notice.

While HDTV offers a better quality picture the monitors are pricey and there are still a limited number of channels and programmes available. The authors point out that while with HDTV you can see exactly how thick the makeup is at the Oscar Awards the question is whether or not it is worth the price.

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