MONTREAL - Canadians are getting a chance to share their views about the future of television on a special government website set up by the federal broadcast regulator.

The CRTC is looking at various options to determine the value of TV signals, a bone of contention between conventional television broadcasters and the cable and satellite companies that distribute their signals.

The two sides of the argument have waged a high-profile advertising campaign for weeks against each other.

But the high-stakes battle has been waged at the regulatory and political level for years, with each side claiming they have Canadians' best interests at heart.

The broadcasters say local television programming could die in Canada if they don't find a new source of revenue and their adversaries say consumers would end up paying higher monthly cable or satellite bills.

Some of the ads suggest the CRTC is effectively imposing a new tax on subscribers, although the regulator wouldn't collect or get anything.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is seeking the views of consumers and the industry and announced Monday it has set up a special website for consumers to provide their feedback.

"The TV industry is being transformed like never before," Scott Hutton, the regulator's executive director of broadcasting, said in a video on the special CRTC website asking for consumer comments.

"The government of Canada has asked the CRTC to prepare a report on the impact this might have on consumers and the broadcasting industry," Hutton said.

The CRTC's hearings are set to begin next week in Gatineau, Que.,

and Canadians have until Dec. 21 to comment online at

The federal government has ordered the federal broadcast regulator to hold new hearings and file a formal report on the request by TV networks to charge cable and satellite companies for using their local signals.

The networks, hard hit by falling ad revenues, want to collect millions of dollars from companies that deliver their signals to subscribers by cable or satellite.

The cable and satellite firms don't want to eat the fees themselves, but are loath to pass them on to subscribers.

They say customers don't want to pay for signals that can be pulled in free over the airwaves. The networks say people will pay because they appreciate local TV.