Over-the-air television broadcasting is in the process of switching from analog to digital. In the United States the official switchover occurred in June; in Canada the switch will take place in 2011. However, many TV stations in Canada are already broadcasting in the new digital format as well as in the traditional analog one.
I was curious to see what digital TV is like, so in June I bought a digital-to-analog converter to connect to my purely analog Toshiba television. The converter is a Tivax STB-T8, which I bought at Durham Radio in Whitby, ON. I hooked it up to the TV and to an old TV antenna I had on my balcony. The results were much better than I had expected.
First, not only are most of Toronto's TV stations already broadcasting in DTV, I also get most of Buffalo's TV stations regularly, and irregularly I've been seeing Rochester, NY's stations. This was a surprise because I'd heard that DTV signals didn't travel long distances well, and so I expected only to see Toronto's stations.
Second, the picture quality is excellent. As good as cable TV. It's astounding to me to be watching a station like WXXI, the PBS station in Rochester, with a cable-quality picture over the air. (Actually, the picture quality would probably be better than cable if I owned an HDTV).
Third, I get a lot more stations than I expected. It depends on propagation conditions, but I've gotten close to 40 channels. I'm counting the subchannels of a station as separate channels - e.g., there are three channels from WGRZ-TV in Buffalo.
It's really cool and I've been having fun playing with it.