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Toronto HDTV airwaves on your Mac

On 03, Feb 2007 | No Comments | In Apple, Toronto | By Ryan Feeley

Elgato EyeTV HybridFew people I know have heard of the Elgato’s over-the-air HDTV tuner. Essentially you plug this little guy into your Mac’s USB port, and then plug rabbit ears into it, and you’ve got not only regular broadcast TV (NTSC) but also HD-equivalents (ATSC) of many of those channels. I got mine from CDW Canada.

From the middle of my apartment building, sandwiched in between other houses, I get HD equivalents of CBC, CBC French, CTV, SunTV and CityTV. From the backyard facing windows I get OMNI 1 & 2, a few others. Wikipedia has a fairly complete list of Toronto ATSC broadcasters. The signal is 1080i with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. And I can pause, rewind and record these channels. Be warned: one episode of LOST (42 minutes total, commercials trimmed) is over 5.5GB.

What interesting is that the quality of these stations very greatly depending on the content. It seems obvious that none of the channels have gone whole-hog on replacing their systems; be it video cameras or motion graphics software. I thought it would be interesting to present a comparison of the familiar images: the broadcasters’ logos. They are in PNG format which is lossless.

SUN TV logo

Logo SRC

CTV logo

CityTV logo

CBC logo

From my eyes, SUN TV is the winner. They broadcast a lot of detective shows from the 70s which look to be surprisingly good betacam transfers. Their local shows, like one of my favourites Street Eats is beautifully shot in HD. CityTV’s movies are the most disappointing. Very compressed looking and I have never heard a 5.1 soundtrack from them.

Does anyone have any screenshot requests?

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