Rabbit ears are set to join the Walkman, VCR and record player in the ranks of endangered household items.
And that's costing Edmontonians big bucks to keep up with the trends as they're being forced to upgrade their TVs in preparation for a sweeping digital transition.
Rabbit ears — the double-pronged, upward rising antennas popular among the elderly and the frugal — are set to become extinct as the CRTC prepares to make digital cable mandatory in the Edmonton market.
The double-pronged antenna is perfectly fine for capturing digital TV signals, especially in an urban setting like Edmonton.
The CRTC is forcing most Canadian television stations to broadcast in digital in major Canadian cities, starting Aug. 31.
That means those receiving stations through rabbit ears or outdoor antennas will no longer be able to get service.
False! In fact, you need an antenna to get digital over the air (OTA) TV. If do use an antenna, and your TV doesn't have an ATSC tuner (found in most HD TVs), you will need a $30 converter box (to convert the signal from digital to analog).
If they want to keep tuning into their favourite shows, they will have to get a cable box, digital converter or new TV. The cost will depend on the cable package.
Well, no! If you have an antenna and a $30 converter box, you won't be forking over anything to the cable company!
Lorne Konelsky, who's selling a pair of rabbit ears on Kijiji, said, "They're an antique now. Those things are over 25 years old."
They can last an other 25 years.
Konelsky recently found the gadget while helping clear out the house of his son's mother-in-law. She used them until she moved into a seniors home, he said. They're for sale for $5.
The ad's been static for months and just a few calls of inquiry have come in — mostly from people wanting to know what they are.
Until recently, married mom of three, Tena Trefz, used rabbit ears to catch the news and cartoons with the family. The two channels it provided was all she needed until a few months ago, when the family switched to cable.
"To us, it was a luxury. We never had it before," she said. "We didn't really feel the need for cable. We just decided to get it for fun."
Those being forced to make the switch have a right to be annoyed, she added.
"Now it's just being forced on people, (and) they have to switch. If you're getting two or three channels and that's all you really need, you might not want to pay for cable."
The matriarch of another Edmonton-area family said they're shelling out thousands to upgrade their TV systems in advance of the digital switch.
Tracy — who didn't want her last name used — said she and her Lacombe clan had been using rabbit ears up until a few weeks ago.
But when they moved into a new home, they decided to sign on to cable, and upgrade all their TVs in the process.
"We're splurging. We're going big. It'll be thousands."
While she might have otherwise been irked by the change, Tracy said the household move helped change the tone.
"It would have normally been a headache," she said. "But because this is a happy move, this is exciting."
While CRTC change will take effect Aug. 31, some stations have received a deadline extension.
Well, it could be a headache if you are on the fringe of the analog coverage area and you had a high tolerance for snowy screen. Because digital, it works or it doesn't. But for everybody else trying to get overt the air TV, unless you have and ATSC TV, all it requires is a $30 purchase.
By the way, the US went thru this 2 years ago... Although SUN Media wasn't there to misinform.