Switch to digital leaves some unhappy

  • Jan. 11, 2013 9:00 a.m.

By Jane Wilson–Some Masset residents are complaining the switch to digital TV in Masset has left them without service.Conrad Gates said that since the switch to digital he gets no channels except the MHTV ones and complained that he was not fully informed of what MHTV’s change would mean to his service. “They didn’t say that if you didn’t go digital you would be out in the cold,” he said, “I thought it would be the same, now I’m getting nothing.”Mr. Gates said that “lots of people” were there complaining when he went into the MHTV office to learn that it would cost him $35 to get the box that will bring the digital signal into his house, but more won’t be available for a month. “I don’t know who is on the board (of MHTV), but they’re incompetent certainly,” he said.Masset resident Lynda Osborne said she is going to cancel her service rather than pay more money, “I’ll get a book from the library instead.” Ms Osborne said she thinks many subscribers didn’t want the change and were happy with the service the way it was.Kim Mushynsky, a consultant for MHTV, was answering questions from the MHTV office on Friday and said that the cost remains exactly the same for the same programming, but now members have more options for packages. Members do need to purchase the digital box (receiver), but MHTV is selling inexpensive refurbished ones, or higher end receivers with more functions. Ms Mushynsky said the change from analogue to digital was mandated by the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission, the regulatory body for broadcasting and telecommunication in Canada) and so MHTV was no longer able to offer its whole package in analogue and made the switch to digital.According to the CRTC website, television channels in certain areas, mostly large and urban, were required to go digital on August 31, 2011. The CRTC made the change because “Digital signals use less airwave space than analog signals. This means that the freed-up space can be used for other services that have a high demand for more space. Digital technology also provides better picture and sound.””All of our channels are going digital,” said MHTV Society president Natanis Hageman, “so sooner or later we were going to have to go digital.” Ms Hageman said the society has been preparing for the switch for a year, but some people left getting boxes until the last minute, and that combined with having half the last shipment getting wet in transit means the society now has 100 members waiting for receivers.The society has spent a year promoting the change with notices on the scroller and in the newsletter and Ms Hageman said she feels the society made all appropriate efforts to communicate the changes. “We made sure the information went out to the members,” said Ms Hageman, adding that subscribers had ample time and information to prepare for the change. She said the society is hoping for cooperation from the members, “we’re a non-profit,” she said, “and we’re trying to maintain control of a local service.”