The horrors of simultaneous substitution

An anonymous commenter pointed me to this video posted on YouTube last fall showing all the problems that happen when an NFL football game is substituted by cable companies:

  • Bad audio quality in HD
  • Bad video quality in HD
  • Canadian network bugs pasted over U.S. network bugs
  • Coming back from Canadian commercials in the middle of a sportscaster’s sentence
  • Coming back from Canadian commercials in the middle of a play
  • Accidentally running a Canadian network promo in the middle of game coverage
  • Covering game information graphics with Canadian network’s pop-up promos
  • Canadian ads pasted on the screen over a flying football
  • Cutting off the end of a game on a U.S. channel to simsub a scheduled program on another Canadian network (usually 60 Minutes, which is constantly delayed by NFL games going long).

Theoretically, CRTC rules don’t allow for any of these (well, the popup ads are debatable). Canadian networks can’t substitute U.S. signals with Canadian ones that are of lesser quality. Cable and satellite providers (they’re the ones who actually “throw the switch” based on schedules provided to them by the Canadian networks) would be in their rights to refuse to substitute the broadcast.

But what happens in reality is that they don’t really care (at least, outside of Super Bowl Sunday), and so errors like these are common. Usually they’re not so bad, either repeating the first few seconds of a program or cutting off the last few seconds of the credits because the stations aren’t in perfect sync. The problems are worse during NFL games because they’re live and their commercial schedules and end times aren’t predictable in advance.

If this kind of thing annoys you, you could try petitioning CTV and Global to get them to stop, but there’s no way they’re just going to give up on free ad money. Instead, you have to focus your efforts on the CRTC and your Member of Parliament to get them to eliminate simultaneous substitution.

18 thoughts on “The horrors of simultaneous substitution

  1. Sam

    A great video that encompasses all the headaches we viewers in Canada suffere when trying to watch the NFL, any other live sporting event, or any other show for that matter.

    Reply
  2. Big Sky

    Man, someone should send this video to the bastards at CTV and the CRTC. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video is worth a million!

    Reply
  3. Kleinsaucer

    Great video.

    The worst is also whenever I download torrents of American shows and I see a damn CTV or Global logo on them! I can’t even escape these useless Canadian networks this way either. It drives me insane.

    Reply
  4. Lex

    I’m going to try getting an over-the-air antenna up soon. I’m about 140 km away from Buffalo, so I might be a little too far, but if I add in a pre-amp (or 6) I might get something. I’ve had enough of these interruptions, enough is enough.

    Reply
  5. Classof83

    Now whenever Sun TV hijacks the NBA on ABC, they show a 16:9 reduced size aspect ratio on the hijacked ABC SD channel. It’s like they are taking the hijacked ABC HD feed and showing it on the SD channel, introducing black bars on the top and bottom.

    I can confirm that on unmolested ABC SD channels, the aspect ratio is still 4:3, as it should be.

    Sun TV should not be allowed to get away with this. I have filed a complaint with the CRTC. Another “minor inconvenience” as the toolsheds at the CRTC like to say.

    Reply
  6. Classof83

    NOW WHAT IS SUN-TV DOING? THEY’VE LOST THE HD FEED OF ABC ON THE HD CHANNELS AT HALFTIME OF THE SPURS – CELTICS, RESULTING IN ANOTHER BORDER ON THE SD CHANNEL (WHICH PROVES THEY’RE JUST TAKING THE HD FEED AND SLAPPING IT OVERTOP THE SD CHANNELS). THIS HAS RESULTED IN A PICTURE THAT IS ABOUT 1/2 THE SCREEN SIZE ON A WIDESCREEN TV WHEN WATCHING THE SD CHANNELS.

    HONESTLY, THESE WORTHLESS PIECES OF GARBAGE. ALL THESE IDIOTIC CANADIAN STATIONS FROM SUN-TV, TO GLOBAL, CTV, A-CHANNEL, E, AND EVEN CITY-TV NEED TO HAVE THEIR LICENSES REVOKED AND BE TAKEN OFF THE AIRWAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  7. Scotty

    Ok, I’m starting to really get mad with all these interruptions myself!!!

    Global is showing the Simpsons overtop of CBS which was showing NCAA Basketball (and then golf at 3pm).

    This lasted for almost 5 minutes, but now it is back to CBS, and I missed the last few minutes of the basketball game!!!

    Global is hijacking the golf now, but they interrupted early while the NCAA was still going and decided to show the Simpsons for 5 minutes!!! There was also massive audio and video breakups on the HD channels!!!

    Jesus Christ Almighty, I can’t wait for Canwest to implode and dissolve and finally get off the airwaves. The fact that E is being sold is a good sign, and hopefully the whole company will fold like a cheap suit soon.

    – Scott

    Reply
  8. Red Rocket

    This fits in well with the debacle that was 24 last night on FOX. After not being interrupted for the first little while, Global came in and threw in commercials right in the middle of the show!!! I filed a complaint with Rogers and the CRTC right away.

    Reply
  9. Jailbird

    How about 4 big time butchered simsubs in the last two days:

    February 8 – Global cuts off the end of the NCAA on CBS and shows the Simpsons while the PGA on CBS is delayed until 3:03 by CBS

    February 8 – Sun TV hijacks the NBA on ABC and takes the HD feed and slaps it on the SD channel, resulting in black bars on the top and bottom. Then at halftime, Sun TV loses the HD feed and shows the SD feed on the HD channel, and the HD reduced feed on the SD channel as well, resulting in black bars on the top and bottom, and double black bars on the sides – resulting in a picture about 1/2 the total screensize on a widescreen TV when viewing ABC SD. Also, the sound was 2.0 throughout the entire telecast for the first simsubbed game (Celtics – Spurs). The Lakers – Cavs game was unmolested on ABC and everything was fine.

    February 8 – The Grammys on CBS had massive audio dropouts as a result of Global hijacking the feed.

    February 9 – Global interrupts FOX’s 24 and shows commercials in the middle of the show!

    Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Simultaneous_substitution”

    Reply
  10. Classof83

    So I wrote into a local Global affiliate about them always interrupting American networks and not coming up with all their own shows (and I did not mention any specific dates or times or shows – but it was a general statement), and this was their response:

    “The problem was with Shaw cable. Apparently a construction firm in Vancouver cut through their cable line. They have restored it to normal. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I hope they weren’t serious with this response, but it seems to me they were!

    Reply
  11. Yorbit

    CTV has decided to hijack NBC’s Southland (John Wells’ new police drama) Thursdays at 10pm ET/PT beginning April 9th 2009!

    CTV released the following statement:
    “We would like to thank Osama Bin Laden for making this hijacking possible. Without his mastermind skills, this would not be possible.”

    Reply
  12. Andrew

    I am all for Canadian Broadcasting, but this is all out of hand, and living in a Capitialist society we should have the choice of watching a US Network over a Canadian Network, and the CRTC should know that

    So to the CRTC I have two Letters for you F and U

    Reply
  13. David McGrath

    Not sure if it is just me, but I just about puked this weekend trying to watch the NFL football games, which of course had to be simsubbed to the CTV affilate.

    Every commerical seemed to be the same “Nissan Commerical”. Thank God for the remote control so a person can change the channels when these stupid Canadian Commericals come on(about maybe 3 or 4 in a continual loop).

    Just hate as a customer to have to pay for the American Network feeds and then are forced to watch the Canadian feed. Then on top of that we still have to pay the local improvement fee monthly and were does it go back to Global (Shaw), CTV (Bell), City TV (Rogers), all so they can buy American programs – just totally insane!

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Just hate as a customer to have to pay for the American Network feeds and then are forced to watch the Canadian feed.

      Blame that on the cable companies. The U.S. stations don’t get any money from Canadian cable subscribers (they’re lobbying to change that).

      Then on top of that we still have to pay the local improvement fee monthly and were does it go back to Global (Shaw), CTV (Bell), City TV (Rogers), all so they can buy American programs – just totally insane!

      The LPIF isn’t used to buy American programs. And the Montreal stations aren’t eligible to access that fund. In any case, the fund is being phased out. It’ll be gone completely in September.

      Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          LPIF isn’t used to fund American programs… yeah, and the Earth doesn’t revolve around the sun!

          Actually, the Earth does revolve around the sun. And the CRTC doesn’t allow LPIF money to be used to buy foreign programming.

          Reply

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