TV, Eh? Industry Update – DVD, Apple iTV, CTS, More

Canadian TV-on-DVD news

Flashpoint‘s third season debuts on DVD in Canada May 22, 2012, through Phase 4 Films. A Blu-ray set has not yet been announced.

More information on the Rookie Blue second-season DVD/Blu-ray set. The set was first mentioned at TV, Eh? last Friday.

Apple iTV to launch in Canada?

Rogers and/or Bell might partner with Apple for iTV in Canada. Essentially, iTV is a television version of Apple’s iPad. Prototypes of the device are in Rogers and Bell’s possessions.

This should not be confused with Apple TV, a five-year-old product already available in Canada. Apple TV mainly streams online content from iTunes, and other selected sources, to television screens.

According to Best Buy’s American branch, a 42-inch Apple iTV, with a built-in webcam and iCloud support, will hypothetically retail for $1499 US. As the product is still in testing stages, prices may vary if/when Apple iTV actually hits the market.

CBC Hamilton digital service finds home

CBC’s Hamilton, Ontario local digital service will be located at 118 James Street North, the former home of Dominion Furniture Rental. The move is part of an attempt to revitalize the downtown Hamilton core.

Unfortunately, an article in The Hamilton Spectator claims that CBC’s upcoming budget cuts could mothball the Hamilton service. Granted, the claim comes from Friends of Canadian Broadcasting spokesman Ian Morrison, so take the Spectator piece with a grain of salt.

CRTC summons GlassBOX Horror; will Corus and Shaw Media murder DUSK?

For those who like horror films, GlassBOX Horror now has CRTC approval. The fate of GlassBOX’s other English-language application, GlassBOX News, is still undecided.

A previous channel dedicated to horror, SCREAM, was rebranded by Corus Entertainment to DUSK in 2009. DUSK currently focuses on thriller/suspense/supernatural programming, yet a rumour exists that DUSK will shut down on March 23, 2012. DUSK’s channel space will go to ABC Spark, under a different licence.

The main problem with the DUSK rumour is DUSK’s ownership structure. Corus owns 51% of DUSK, and is its managing partner. Shaw Media owns the other 49%. Then again, Shaw Media and Corus are both controlled by the Shaw family. It’s not impossible to think Shaw Media will drop DUSK, given DUSK’s status as a minor entity within the two organizations.

CRTC to Crossroads Television System: Can’t stick to one’s faith

On Friday, February 10, 2012, CRTC denied the Crossroads Television System programming flexibility, as regards “balance programming.” In this case, balance programming means non-Christian religious shows. CTS currently broadcasts over-the-air in southern Ontario, Calgary, and Edmonton. CTS is distributed nationally, through cable and satellite services.

CITS Hamilton currently airs 20 hours of balance programming per week, of which 12 hours are mandated for prime time. CKCS Calgary and CKES Edmonton air 18 hours of balance programming per week, with 11 hours in prime time. The proposed amendment kept the balance programming hours, but deleted the prime time requirement. Also, CTS proposed its own Compliance and Advisory Committees, to oversee interfaith initiatives in its broadcasts.

Only CRTC regional commissioner Peter Menzies challenged the rejection of CTS’ licence amendment. In essence, he wondered why a Christian channel had to stick to outmoded terms of licence, while secular over-the-air stations aired as little as seven hours a week of local programming.

Menzies didn’t mention VisionTV’s programming shift. ZoomerMedia bought the multi-faith service from S-VOX in 2010. VisionTV’s schedule now has more British sitcoms and soap operas, plus out-of-place CanCon (seriously, ReGenesis?!) When the non-denominational religious channel refits itself as a home for The Conspiracy Show and Downton Abbey, who becomes VisionTV?! These are interesting times for Canadian religious broadcasters.

Odds and sods

ACTRA doesn’t like that Super Bowl commercial where Budweiser Canada sidestepped the National Commercial Agreement, by airing footage of a flash mob.

AMI-tv will simulcast Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada with “Live Description” February 11, 2012, for the blind and partially-sighted.

AMI-tv is not a new service – it’s the sudden rebrand of The Accessible Channel (TAC.) Accessible Media Inc. wants to unify its services under one corporate name; broadcast reading service VoicePrint will become AMI-audio later in February 2012.