: Satellite TV Review: Shaw Direct
The purpose of this thread is for Digital Home members to review and relay their experience with Shaw Direct (aka Star Choice)
This is NOT a discussion thread so please limit yourself to one post which includes your review.
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2006-12-16, 10:35 AM
I selected "somewhat satisified"
I appreciate being able to get a live person whenever I call. The "Call Back" feature is really first rate.
My dissatisfication is with Shaw Broadcast Services ( formerly Cancom). There really needs to be new quality control processes put in place there. Their lack of attention to signal problems is appalling.
The audio problems on BBC World still has not been fixed 3 weeks after I called SC about it. 1 of the SC CSRs got on the phone to SBS while I was on the phone. Another issue is with the snapping of audio/video with WNED. I know that SC told SBS about this but once again no action by SBS.
And whatever happened to the switching to WGRZ-DT when WDIV-DT dropouts get excessive.
It's like nobody is minding the store at SBS or nobody cares there. Time for some down attention from JR himself.
I think for the most part they provide a reasonable prduct and service comparable to many others.
Their service and picture quality appears to be a notch higher than others I've experienced.
Where I feel a little let down is their inability to makes reasonable steps to keep the pace of new technology and HD content.
I do recognise they do quite well given the purse strings they have to pull.
They seem to have embarked into new areas with product development and as it is new for a Television Service provider, the growing pains are quite noticable.
And finaly, their ability to communicate with any acuracy, their plans to resolve major problems or enhancements is quite frustrating.
2006-12-17, 03:10 AM
Have had StarChoice for the last year, now also now have BEV, so I can compare side by side. I can watch the same HD show and then compare different receivers from different companies at the same time.
My set-up in DVI/HDMI with a DSR505 with Star, and a HDMI on a 9200 with BEV. Both cables came from Monoprice.
Content, BEV is superior IMHO.
Picture, again BEV is superior IMHO.
Guide, again BEV, more options, easier setup to change the favorites, and to get into it, faster response.
Customer Service, goes to StarChoice, 24 hour, although Montreal is weaker than Calgary, IMHO
Technical Service, both 24 hours Bev is good, so is StarChoices, I have had nimrods from both companies, overall a tie.
I`am actually surprised that the BEV picture is noticeably better. I have heard all the arguments about both services, I have both and have seen and live the differences. I have large programing packages on both. I will be dropping the StarChoice service because of the above information.
2007-01-23, 03:48 PM
I've had *C for a little over 3 years myself and enjoyed it at my parents since my dad had it installed in '97.
Overall I've been pretty pleased with their product and service over the years. I started out with 2 SD receivers (1 basic, 1 a step up, sorry I don't remember the model numbers) and now I use a 505 and a 505a.
The legacy guide can be very slow at times which can be frustrating (I believe these are being phased out soon, so this shouldn't be a problem for new subs).
Beware using the move program (ie new dish at new house). I had major trouble with my move and it took 3 phone calls to be resolved. I tried the online booking first and that royally messed up (booked 6 months later than I wanted). My first phone call didn't go much better. Finally things did sort themselves out in the end... give them LOTS of heads up time for a move if you can.
I'm very happy with the HD offerings. There is no signal subbing (yet) for any of the HD (at least in Alberta) so I can watch the orginal broadcasts of every show from the US. The lack of Global HD and Citytv HD helps that situation as well.
2009-01-02, 03:45 PM
I purchased a Star Choice receiver in 2001. We bought it when we went to an isolated community with no TV service. The picture from day one was pixelated. Based on several conversations we had with SC reps we thought it was because of the location we were in. We had a change of employment and moved to a bigger center and hooked up the dish. Same pixelated image. I phoned Star Choice and (although there was some arguing for about a week because they didn't have any record of our previous calls) they agreed to send out a refurbished lower model receiver to replace ours. A month passed and no receiver. I phoned SC (not very happy by this time) and told them the whole story over again and 2 days later I had a brand new higher model receiver delivered.
Somewhat satisfied - To SC credit I had the first receiver for over 2 years before we realized it was something to do with the receiver and not location.
2010-04-16, 12:34 PM
I've had this provider since April 2009. I'll agree with the general consensus that the HD picture quality is good, but not great, and that the receivers aren't great (slow remote control response and general slowness/cheesy guide/menus). I don't have/want a PVR nor an HDMI repeating AVR so I can't comment there.
The price of the service and receivers is low, and I appreciate not being bound to a contract. I have never had to deal with signal substitutions and rarely miss the Canadian HD locals. I make use of the RF outputs and UHF remote of the 505 receivers.
I find the HD channel selection adequate. I watch Speed HD, which is not available on their competitor. I'd like to see CBC Vancouver HD added.
I would be extremely satisfied with this provider if they were able to improve the PQ/bitrate of the HD channels. There is macroblocking at their 13mb/s 1080i.
My one billing mix-up was handled quickly and politely. My only other two calls were to add programming and add a receiver, and in both cases hold times were short and I was able to confirm the changes while on the line.
This is NOT a discussion thread so please limit yourself to one post which includes your review.
2010-04-16, 02:22 PM
I voted somewhat satisfied, but in all reality I am extremely satisfied if I was to compare to Rogers (which is only analogue here) and Bell. So here is my review
I got Shaw Direct in late 2008 (just before Christmas I think), switching from Rogers. Got DSR317s at a very good price and the install went well, despite the fact that it was freezing raining.
Pricing/Channels - I love that TSN and Sportsnet are both included in the essentials. Both Silver Choice and the Digital Favourites are good deals. Raptors TV is a great deal at $1. I would like to see Raptors TV HD and CBC Vancouver HD added, but otherwise I get every channel I want. On the other hand I can get the channels that I want (except for Raptors HD and CBC Vancouver HD obviously) for a much cheaper price than I could with Bell. Digital Basic is also a very good package for someone who can't pick up OTA (or HD OTA).
The picture quality is good. I have never seen Bell or Rogers HD, so I can't really compare though. The only problem is that the picture goes out when it rains or snows, and HD is usually the first to go.
Oh and I wanted to say this is a very good idea for a thread. Should help new subscribers choose what service they want better.
2010-04-16, 03:33 PM
Customer since 2001
Great customer service. Fast and helpful.
Offerings and lineup suit my needs. Extra Value package is great. There might be a couple channels I think I might be missing ie not offered but I have far more TV choices than I can watch.
Waiting before investing in a PVR my DVD recorder solution although a little clumsy at times works ok for now.
Although the legacy guide is somewhat dated and slow you can lock out the channels you don't watch or don't subscribe to. The newer guide is ok and I would like it to go out further (waiting for promised update).
2010-04-17, 12:11 PM
I went somewhat satisfied.
Been with StarChoice/ShawDirect since they first had a signal.
Customer service is great.
Signal for the most part also has been great.
The only complaint has been there promises and timelines given that never seem to happen or happen months to years later. The new receiver firmware being one. More new receivers would also be great to get.
Programming and picture quality for me have been fine. Have used every receiver that they ever had and have now three 505's, one 530, one 500 and one 401. Watching the signal on a 60 samsung plasma, 42 inch Panny Plasma, 42 inch Sony Lcd, 30 inch Samsung Lcd, 24 inch toshiba crt and 20 inch toshiba crt. Am using a hdmi to dvi and svideo on non hd.
The 60 inch Samsung is my main tv and HD and SD are great.
2010-04-17, 09:56 PM
I'm somewhat satisfied.
I'd be extremely satisfied if they would get their PVR problem solved. I'm a patient person and it's only TV, BUT!
2010-04-18, 06:55 AM
Reasonable service, becoming overpriced considering the age of their technology. Their competitors have newer equipment that consumers are now looking for.
I believe that if you are going to continue to raise prices you need to offer something new otherwise your customers (rightfully) will ask why? Programming changes alone cannot justify the last few increases.
2010-04-18, 10:26 AM
I am somewhat dissatisfied. To me SD is the least worse of a bad lot vs Bell and Rogers.
Shaw has acted for years like they are not going to be in the satellite business tomorrow. It is incomprehensible to me anyone in the business 4 or 5 years ago would act like HD was just a passing fancy. Yet Jim Shaw has done exactly this.
He passed on Anik F3 - now has to pay for 2 Extended Ku band satellites (G1 already announced + the Industry Canada approved G2) to get the same bandwidth.
He had the DSR500 designed for HD WITHOUT 8PSK and MPEG4 capability.
He jumped onto the Voom 550/580 development for the 505/530. At the same time, DirecTV was designing new MPEG4 receivers. When asked why they were using the MPEG4 chip at a time when they did not uplink anything in MPEG4 because the encoders ran hot and were unreliable and the MPEG4 chip cost 10X the cost of a MPEG2 chip, DTV engineers stated:
A) they did not want to obsolete their HD customers in the future
B) the cost of the MPEG4 chip would approach that of the MPEG2 chip over time
C) the encoder chip issue would be corrected over time.
It is obvious that Shaw does not employ or listen to anyone with an engineering degree.
Customer service is more than having the best CSR service + bill paying options. Customer service also means correcting faults in a timely fashion. The 530 fiasco shows that Jim Shaw's dedication to customer service is nowhere near the top of his agenda and indicates an attitude at the top only found in government circles and in government protected oligopolies.
2010-04-18, 03:17 PM
I am somewhat globally on the satisfied side.
Was with BEV before and was extremely dissatisfied especially with their customer service and general attitude toward clients.
Very satisfied with SD great customer service.
SD picture quality OK.
Guide, very dissatisfying. 5 years behind BEV.
PVR, very dissatisfied. Again 5 years behind BEV.
Usatisfied with HD channels. I am French speaking. BEV was a little better. Videotron or Cogeco are way ahead.
As far as pricing is concerned. everything is always too expensive! But let's say that compared to other providers as far as equipment and HD channels are concerned, SD is too expensive.
Very dissatisfied with SD communications. We don't know where they are going (do they know?) and they always let understand that changes are comming soon but nothing ever happens. They should be straight forward, clear and precise.
2010-04-21, 03:38 PM
I am somewhat satisfied. I have the digital favourites package. I like the HD offerings but would prefer more choice such as Vancouver HD. With the PVR this is moot but it still means recording when I might just watch and it pushes the 530 capacity.
I have two 505s and watch them in the kitchen and bedroom. I also have two 315s which I use in Vancouver. I am only aware of the 530 limitations because of this forum. It has bene solid for me.
One of the 505s has trouble recovering from a power outage (common in Mexico). I have adapted to setting up repetitive recordings on the guide.
I had Shaw Cable so the offerings are very familiar.
One problem is that I experience audio compression on HD channels infrequently. It is like the PC when playing a video and lacking memory. It usually goes away after 5 minutes or less.
I would like all the new features of the 530 software but I am glad they are getting the bugs out first. I can wait and I prefer a bug-free download.
I have four flat panel HDTVs and two legacy tube TVs.
2010-04-24, 03:23 PM
I'll go with somewhat satisfied.
I've been with the company since 199something. Don't remember exactly what year I started.
I originally went with the company because the picture quality and equipment were considered the best at the time.
I had no problem with the move program when I moved five years ago, and I've never had many problems or issues that haven't been handled quickly.
That being said, they are dropping the ball in regards to today's technology. The fiasco that was the 500 to 505 switch, the 530 that no-one speaks well of, and the threat of a new line of receivers to come.
I'm not going anywhere - although there is a Bell dish on my roof from the previous owners- but I'd like to see them wake up and address their tech issues. They're only going to get worse.
2010-04-24, 06:54 PM
I was extremely satisfied until I bought a 530. Regardless that the firmware is so far behind, this unit has not worked properly since day one. A big disappointment.
2010-04-27, 10:16 AM
My sentiments match most others here, I am fairly satisfied with the service itself and customer support.
My only issues with them is, for some reason they sent me a 421C to replace a 411, which I was somewhat cheezed about, and the current "new" software doesn't handle lockouts/guide/channel flipping like the legacy receivers do, which is one of the reasons I am keeping my 315 for my TiVo, as long as I can.
I have been with them since 2001, and currently have an LCD HDTV with the 505, a 315 on my TiVo (distributed throughout the house, connected directly to the HDTV with S-video/audio), a 421C on a CRT, and a 421C as a spare, and a dual stacked dish, split to two 2x2 switches.
I am a week old Shaw customer and I am very Satisified.
The installation was done on time as scheduled and the installer was very courteous and accomodating to our needs. Clean mess free installation and activation of the receivers.
Called customer service and they were the friendiest I have ever come across, our line disconnected and they even called us back instantly. I am happy and satified that I switched to Shaw Direct.