TV antennas making a comeback in Canada

A spiny pack of near-extinct, multi-limbed creatures are turning up in cities across Canada, creeping up the sides of buildings and settling on urban rooftops. TV antennas are making a tentative comeback in this country.

OTTAWA — A spiny pack of near-extinct, multi-limbed creatures are turning up in cities across Canada, creeping up the sides of buildings and settling on urban rooftops.

TV antennas are making a tentative comeback in this country.

Nobody in the broadcasting industry or the government seems to have a handle on how many Canadians are scrapping cable and satellite in favour of the old-school technology, but there is anecdotal evidence that a mini-boom is under way.

Ironically, it’s all being fuelled by the high-tech switch by broadcasters from analog to digital and high-definition channels.

Viewers are discovering that they can get over-the-air, digital television stations that proponents say come through even better than on cable and satellite, where signals are compressed.

“And the magic word is ‘free,”’ says Jon LeBlanc, Canada’s antenna guru.

LeBlanc began an “over-the-air” discussion board on www.digitalhome.ca five years ago, where a few diehard antenna fans would pop by. Now he’s the most popular forum on the site, with dozens of new people logging on every month to find out about getting hooked up.

LeBlanc himself gets 14 digital stations, including six from the United States, with his rooftop antenna in Delta, B.C.

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