The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports.Canadian Digital Television (CDTV) president Michael McEwen warned at an industry conference last week that the failure of producers to date to create Canadian high-definition (HD) television programming could lead to a collapse of the current Canadian broadcasting system. His warning seems premature. As was evident at the Canadian Satellite Users Association (CSUA) conference (see storiesin this issue), the drive to a fully digital environment is bound to be a slow uphill one. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.   The wisest approach is a prudent but steady move toward digitally shot productions, distributed through fully digital systems and viewed on high-definition television sets equipped with the latest gadgets and connected to advanced set-top boxes. Going slowly will enable the system to work out the quirks without bankrupting it. Most broadcasters at the conference who are embarking in the field noted that they were merely taking educated guesses on what standards to use. There are no HD television standards set yet, and going full steam into one that doesn’t develop into a standard would be costly. There are also many questions surrounding digital production. As Kathleen Brown of Alliance Atlantis Communications noted, current HD technology isn’t conducive to shooting action and drama. As well, small imperfections in the set for a show can be amplified in HD. So while it may be cheaper to shoot in HDCam, more attention and money may have to be spent on set or lighting budgets. Producers should be considering the shelf live of their products, but again a headlong rush into digital production, without refined technologies and a clear market, could hit the pocketbook hard. As well, the CRTC is grappling with how to regulate a fully digital environment when and if it finally arrives. One area it is currently examining is how, if at all, it should regulate the basic packages in all-digital cable systems. The CRTC is rightly moving forward on this matter, despite opposition from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, which claims it is still too early. As with the rollout of HD, more time working out the matter will give the CRTC the chance to get it right.