There have been some changes to the available High Definition (HD) OTA channels in Toronto so I thought I’d make this updated list. My previous list from April 2007 is here. Many of these channels come in across the golden horseshoe, from Toronto all the way around to Buffalo. It helps if you’re near the lake and facing the lake. I live in a high rise facing south and I think that is a factor helping my reception. I tried one of my antennas on the third floor of a house in downtown Toronto less than 1km from where I live , with a brand new LG HDTV and a powered antenna that works well at home – only a couple of HD channels came in, and not one from Buffalo.
I’m finding I won’t watch the non-HD channels anymore unless there is absolutely something I just have to see on. I’ve even gone so far as to erase the non-HD stations from the channel list in the television. Unlike the time I made the last list, now most primetime, sports and new shows are shown in HD. Commercials are a mixed bag that make viewing amusing if you have auto picture adjust on. I notice a couple of stations sometimes switch to 4:3 as soon as they go to commercials. I’m finding I don’t see much Canadian TV anymore due to the sound problems on CTV and Global not having HD. It’s interesting to notice I do still see Canadian commercials because FOX 29 sells tons of ad time to Canadian companies.
The second item I put beside each channel is an indication of how well it comes in:
A = excellent all the time, rare or no cut-outs
B = excellent most of the time, occasional requires tuning adjustment
C = comes in 50/50
D = rarely comes in
* = has some issue beyond tuning. I explain each one. By default I put this on non-HD stations.
Channel, Reception, Digital Station ID or call letters, Description:
2-1 A WGRZ-DT, WGRZ 2 Buffalo NBC. Lots of shows in widescreen HD.
2-2 A WGRZ-SD, WGRZ Weather Plus channel Buffalo “Storm Team 2 Weather Plus“. Constant weather coverage including Canadian spots.
4-1 A WIVB-HD, CBS Buffalo.
5 C* CBLT, CBC Toronto. This station has terrible reception no matter how I adjust the antenna. Ironically it’s funded by taxes so theoretically it’s the only station on this list that I am paying for.
5-1 B* CBLT-DT – CBC Toronto. Flaky just like channel 5 but not as bad, lately it comes in most of the time and with good audio. There is nothing to see on this station most of the time. You’re better off turning off the TV and listening to CBC Radio. I can’t believe we pay for this station, it’s terrible compared to it’s US and British counterparts PBS and BBC. I think TVO has done a better job in Ontario of doing what this station is supposed to.
7-1 A WKBW-HD, ABC Buffalo.
7-2 A* WNGS, WNGS AKA RTN11. Owned by WKBW. Occasional sound issues, often a show is way lower volume than commercials. Sometimes the show and the ads are low volume and I have to turn it up really loud to hear it. They do show many old shows that may themselves be the cause of the weak audio.
7-3 A WCSN, WCSN World Championship Sports Network. This just showed up recently. It’s all sports all the time, I’ve only watched it a few times and have noticed frequent repeat broadcasts.
9-1 A* CFTO HD, CTV Toronto. Good picture and comes in well but the sound is often terrible, like its being passed through a tin can with no amplification. If a US station with worse quality picture is showing a show at the same time, I’ll watch the US station because of the sound being bad on CTV. Most of their content is on a US network so I don’t see much of this station.
11 D* CHCH, CHCH Hamilton – now the E! station. This rarely comes in which probably isn’t a bad idea since it became E! channel.
17 A* WNED, PBS WNED Buffalo/Toronto. This matches their digital broadcast on channel 43.2.
19 B* CICA, TVO TV Ontario. I used to watch this all the time but it never looks like its coming in right anymore. I think it may not have changed so much as you get used to the HD stations and every analog one looks like crap. It’s unfortunate because they have many high quality news and current affairs programs that aren’t on any other station.
23-1 B* WNLO-HD, CW 23 Buffalo Comes in well 99% of the time but has a weird sound problem, very similar to the issue with channel 9 in Toronto although not nearly as bad. They also appear to be always broadcasting in 4:3.
25-1 A CBLFT-D, Radio Canada, CBC French
29-1 B WUTV-HD, WUTV FOX 29 Buffalo The best sports coverage and most court shows – six hours a day on weekdays!
29-2 B WUTV-SD WUTV Fox 29 Buffalo . Always the same broadcast as 29.1
36 B* CTS, A weird religious channel. It shows some normal sitcoms sometimes, like full house and Laverne and Shirley.
41 B* CIII, CIII Global Toronto. I though their owner Canwest was a bigger Canadian TV network but apparently not big enough to be able to setup HD in Toronto. Maybe they are closing down after the HD switch? Most of their US content is HD so if you watch it on here you’re getting cropped or black bars added. Fortunately theres very little on this station that isn’t on an american one anyways. Their morning show is okay and could probably gain some viewers from BT who don’t like Rogers, but Global’s show looks terrible compared to the HD morning shows.
43-1 A WNED-HD, PBS Digital, WNED Toronto/Buffalo . A full schedule of HD. Once in a while 43.1 and 43.2 show the same thing but not very often. Until channel 7.3 appeared recently this was the only station using all three channels for different content.
43-2 A WNED-SD, The regular WNED PBS station, same as analog channel 17. The best station that comes in. No other station comes close to it.
43-3 A WNED-Th, PBS Thinkbright – all educational shows.
47 * CFMT, OMNI one. Mostly reruns of US sitcoms and dramas, and tons of ethnic programming. Owned by Rogers , really surprised that this isn’t HD yet. It may be that not much of their content is actually available in HD so they are waiting until the last minute.
49 B* WNYO, MyTVBuffalo. Sometimes a bit weak signal with fuzzy picture.
49-1 D WNYO-HD, This very rarely comes in, and even with tuning it never stays tuned in.
49-2 D WNYO-SD, Same as 49.1 which is odd since I don’t think I’ve ever seen a widescreen HD show on 49-1 – so the two channels really are the same.
51 B* WPXJ, ION Television. Comes in okay but has a great deal of audio hiss and visual interference. Quite confusing that it was PAX and now shows IFL battleground. The signal quality is unfortunate because often on weeknights its the only station with anything worth watching.
52 B* SunTV comes in pretty fuzzy but doesn’t matter since 66-1 is the same channel and comes in clearly.
57 A* CITY, CityTV It always comes in well.
57-1 A CITYHD, CityTV now a Rogers station, always comes in well. Still has the best local Toronto news coverage.
66-1 A CKXT-DT, SunTV Good reception, tons of old shows are non-hd but look great. Crummy original content. It’s like CW for Canada.
69 * CJMT, OMNI two Rogers. May be in a similar situation to channel 47 for HD. They have very similar programming.