Originally Posted by Shaw Guru
I would not see HD channels in clear QAM happening in the near future. It just doesn't make much fuinancial sense to do so unfortunately.
Please explain. Unless selling STB hardware is a major profit center for Shaw (and I don't think it is), why wouldn't they want people to be able to buy their service and plug it into a TV, a Tivo, or a HTPC?
Smart companies commoditize their complements. To quote Joel Spolsky
Every product in the marketplace has substitutes and complements. A substitute is another product you might buy if the first product is too expensive. Chicken is a substitute for beef. If you're a chicken farmer and the price of beef goes up, the people will want more chicken, and you will sell more.
A complement is a product that you usually buy together with another product. Gas and cars are complements. Computer hardware is a classic complement of computer operating systems. And babysitters are a complement of dinner at fine restaurants. In a small town, when the local five star restaurant has a two-for-one Valentine's day special, the local babysitters double their rates. (Actually, the nine-year-olds get roped into early service.)
All else being equal, demand for a product increases when the prices of its complements decrease.
So, smart companies want the complements to their product to be a commodity (read: inexpensive). Car companies want gas to be cheap. Apple wants iOS apps to be cheap.
The complement for selling TV signals
is tuners and TVs. During the era of analog TV tuner hardware was standard and ubiquitous. The encryption added to the QAM signal makes the ability to receive Shaw's primary product (a TV signal) much less of a commodity because it adds a financial barrier to entry that previously did not exist.
It would be in Shaw's best interest to provide a device that terminates the encryption layer on entry to the residential premises and then allows the TV signals to be accessed by any QAM tuner. You know, the ones that are in practically every HDTV sold. The price of Shaw's complements go down (become QAM tuners are a commodity), so the price of Shaw's TV signal can go up. Simple microeconomics.
is why clear QAM makes financial sense.