Recently I picked up a hybrid digital ATSC TV tuner from NCIX for $40 bucks. My purpose for this is: Watch free HDTV off the air and record it. It’s about time that I get my own TV on my laptop when I just have Windows Media Center lying around, doing nothing on the machine. The tuner I bought was an ATI branded Theater 650 HD made by Diamond.
Now you might ask me: “Why bother getting receiving ATSC signals off the air when I can just subscribe to Shaw or Telus TV and get HDTV that way?” My answer to that will be: ATSC is a digital television standard and Over the Air signals are free (Note the bolded digital). Why pay Telus and Shaw money just to get your HDTV signals? Besides, ATSC signals tend to be better than the signals you get off from Shaw or Telus TV. (And if you might want to ask, yes my family decided to go with Telus TV because they think it’s a good choice…)
I’d highly suggest you to read this Wikipedia article on ATSC as a quick backgrounder. Apparently back in 2004 or so, a broadcaster in Vancouver decided to play around with ATSC. Now in 2009, there are quite a few broadcasters around in the Metro Vancouver area broadcasting in ATSC. The channels I’m getting at the moment are CTV, CBC and Global TV. If I tune my antenna a little bit, I can get OMNI and KVOS too. That totals to six channels I can receive here.
So how do you receive free over the air digital TV signals in Vancouver? I’ll write that next time when I am not sedated after a can of beer or two…