Television reception for Burns Lake and Southside residents with regular TVs was restored last week, following about three months of spotty availability.
The visual and audio problems were rooted in the changeover of satellite transmission systems when telecommunications provider Shaw switched to the new MPEG-4 digital format.
“We had to change our equipment to accommodate that. We’ve had some ongoing difficulties with our transmissions since the beginning of June,” as Doug Campbell, Secretary-Treasurer of the Burns Lake and District Rebroadcasting Society told Lakes District News.
TV owners who use cable or satellite service were not affected.
In May, two technicians installed new equipment on top of Boer Mountain so that Shaw’s transmissions under the MPEG-4 format could be received.
“After they put that new equipment in it worked fine for a few days and then we found that some people were losing their audio signals. We spent quite a bit of time trying different things until August. When Shaw made their final change on Aug. 15 our service went out for about six days because our technical consultant was running around to different communities trying to put in the new MPEG receivers. He put that in on Aug 21. Everything seemed to be running fine. Then it died on Aug. 28 or 29. It was out until Sept. 10,” Campbell said.
A replacement receiver has been in use since then and provides four digital channels broadcasting CBC, Global, PBS and The Knowledge Network. It also broadcasts CBC Radio 1 and 2.
Campbell estimates the rebroadcasting society spent several thousand dollars of its own money to bring the receiving technology up to speed.
“That’s technology changing. It’s like getting a new computer to accommodate new software. It seems to be our world these days that technology is continually changing,” he said.
The society is funded through a monthly allotment of $2,708, taxed from Areas B and E of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and the Village of Burns Lake.