Digital vs Analog
To be able to deliver the amount of programming we demand, we have to be able to take a quality hit to be able to have the variety we enjoy.
This is the exact same difference between analog and digital cell phones. In the old days if you were at a special event where thousands of people were using their phones, you could not get a line. Now we all use these digital CMDA/GSM/TDMA phones which have crappy voice quaility, but allow several magnitudes of voice channels, and better call features.
Being knowledgable about RF and how it works, although cable companies can use lots of spectrum on closed coaxial cables, there is still a crunch to try to deliver as much as we see now. All of our signals are below 800Mhz. Satellites carry a huge advantage in spectrum, and this is why they can deliver more channels.
Dont expect to see timeshifting or any quality improvements until Shaw has a full rollout to 800 or 900 Mhz capable amplifiers and cable in all areas. I am sure it will be another "coming soon" for Shaw.
The current analog channels occupy several hundred digital channels worth of bandwidth. I dont know what the factor is, but I would imagine it is above 10.