Cancel Your Cable and Get Free TV
The Toronto area is one of the best places to be in North America for getting OTA (over the air) TV signals. You just have to know how to harness these signals, and over 18 high definition channels can be yours free.
Of course, nothing is ever completely free as you do have some prerequisites. What you need is a newer HDTV that has a built-in ATSC tuner, or you can invest in getting a separate receiver unit. If the built-in receiver is not getting you enough of a signal there are a few inexpensive options available. A small indoor UHF antenna should dramatically increase signal strength. These are not so easy to find these days, but a few calls to a good television retailer should get you one.
A big plus for receiving these signals in the GTA is having a south-facing window or deck. Most Canadian signals are broadcast from the CN tower, so line of sight will help a lot. Additionally, almost all of the available US signals are coming from the Buffalo area, so point your antenna there.
With the impending death of analog Television, the networks are being forced, by the CRTC, to start broadcasting in high definition digital signals. The take home message is this - if you are receiving television from a set of rabbit ears or similar VHF antenna you will no longer get free analog TV in Canada after August 31st, 2011, which is the planned date for the analog signal shutdown. The United States has marked February 17th, 2009 for their switchover.
So in the near future you may want to consider cancelling your subscription to your cable TV provider, because you can get most of the big broadcasters in better quality for free. I personally have not paid for cable in over a year, and love not giving Bell or Rogers more of my money.
If you would like more info about OTA television or advice on receiving these signals, you can check out this great resource. If you have any personal experiences in OTA television feel free to leave some advice in the comments.
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