Digital and HD at CHEX TV

We are using a digital transmitter for our Peterborough and the Kawarthas “over-the-air” transmission from our broadcast tower on Television Hill. Our digital OTA channel is channel 12.1 (twelve point one). Programs and related material which are shot or provided to us in 16:9 high definition form are broadcast over-the-air in 1080i format. Programs and related material which originate in 4:3 standard definition are “upconverted” to be compatiible with HD and the 16:9 format, with everything broadcast in digital form. If you have watched our station “over-the-air” using a portable or roof top antenna or aerial, and are not receiving our signal now, you may need to purchase a digital receiver/converter box to continue to watch our station. If you have purchased your TV in the last ten years, it probably has a digital receiver built in, and you can continue to receive CHEX through your antenna with no change required. It is only households with older TVs that will need to upgrade their TV setup to continue to watch CHEX TV over-the-air. If you have any questions about your particular requirements, please call our technical department at (705) 742-0451. Your other alternatives are to install either the Shaw Direct or Bell Expressvu DBS satellite system, or, if available, sign up with your community cable system.  While our change is not mandated by the CRTC, most stations in Canada have already made this switch.  Click here to see the Government of Canada’s explanation of this Nationwide change.

Our network-supplied programming is provided in high definition (HD). At CHEX TV, we have reconfigured our master control and our infrastructure so that we are able to take the CTV HD feeds, integrate our standard (SD) and high definition (HD) local programming and commercials, and pass that mixed feed (CTV HD, CHEX HD & SD) by fibre on to the local cable company, TVCogeco. TVCogeco then splits the CHEX TV feed into two feeds. They downconvert one feed to distribute it on our current (SD) cable channel (Channel 2). The other HD feed is distributed as HD to Cogeco’s’ digital subscribers on a different channel (Channel 702). On the cable HD channel, the CTV HD programming, and other live HD programs are presented in full HD. Any 4:3 SD programming and commercials are “pillarboxed”, with black stripes on each side of the screen. Cable subscribers represent about 40-45% of our audience in Kingston and Peterborough, and about 65% in Oshawa.

Canada’s two satellite companies, Shaw Direct and Bell ExpressVu, distribute the Peterborough standard definition signal. There is some hope that in the future those satellite companies will agree to carry our high definition signals. Satellite subscribers represent about half of CHEX TV’s audience. For those who would like to receive CHEX TV in HD through your Canadian satellite provider, the Digital/HD transition has no immediate effect. CHEX TV provides both satellite distributors with a fully Digital signal via fiber optic cables, however these companies choose not distribute the signal in the same form which CHEX delivers it to them. CHEX TV and Corus Entertainment continue to lobby both these distributors to add CHEX to their high definition channel lineup.

We continue to upgrade our production facilities at CHEX so that we can produce our news, local programming and commercials in 16:9 HD, and integrate with the 16:9 CTV HD feeds so that our program offering over-the-air and on cable to HD subscribers will be exclusively HD.