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Old 2008-11-05, 03:43 PM   #76
Mr Crumb
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Default Starchoice vs. Shaw Cable HD

Getting into the HD era. I'll be purchasing the tv in the next month or so. Am currently doing some research into which provider will provide me the better value (money, HD PQ, and reliability).

I've read a bit in the forumns, and ALOT of people dont like Bell EXV. I do realize their PVR is the best, but I am primarily most interested in PQ. Is *C the way to go?

How does Shaw figure in this? How is there HD service and PVR in comparison? Reason I wanted to post is alot of people are talking about bandwidth and compressibility? Does Shaw compress their feeds dramatically? Is there PQ worse off than *C? How is their PVR in comparison to *C or Bell?

I've am currently with Shaw for basic cable bundled with internet, and would like to bundle my future HD service with internet for convienience and slight savings, but not at the expense of HD quality signals and reliability of that signal.

Anyone know the major differences between Shaw and *C outside of programming and pricing (which I have already deduced from their websites)?

Any help/advice would be great!

Thx.
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Old 2008-11-05, 03:55 PM   #77
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My dad has Starchoice and I have Shaw, so I have been able to compare the two.

Not counting OTA (Bunny Ear HDTV), Starchoice is the least compressed picture in HD out there. Shaw does compress their signal more, however is not susceptible to weather outages.

The channel lineups are nearly identical in HD. Except for Starchoice has HBO Canada East, PBS is from Detroit, and French Channels are available. NHL Centre Ice plus Sunday Ticket is more affordable with Starchoice.

If you have more than one TV you'll need a starchoice box for each.

Both HD boxes are susceptible to audio drops, although my Shaw box seems to behaving better these days.

IMHO, Picture Quality issues can be qualled if you size your TV to your viewing distance. I use the 1" of TV to 2" of viewing distance rule and my eyes can't see the difference. When you first get your HD, you start looking for "the mistakes in the picture quality", but after 4 years of having HDTV, I don't bother anymore and just watch TV.
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Old 2008-11-05, 04:08 PM   #78
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Thanks for the reply.

I'll be buying a 52" Samsung 550 series pretty soon here. I'll be sitting back about 8-10 feet back from the tv at most...maybe a tad closer. Will the extra compression that Shaw does make that much of a difference? Since you have seen the two in comparison magnet, will it be that noticeable? For me, PQ is the highest priority, but I only really want to go to Satellite if its a real night and day difference. If its pretty minor...it would come down to price and reliability.

That is good that Shaw isnt that affected by weather outages, which is a plus.

In terms of channel lineups, I am just looking for the major networks anyways plus TSN and Sportsnet to get HD...Discovery Channel and National Geographic I would be interested in as well. Outside of that...I dont need "extra" channels like Movie Channels or CNN HD or whatever.

I have 3 tvs in the house, one of which will be replaced by the new HDTV I will be buying. I obviously dont need HD signals for the other 2 tvs. If I go with Shaw, am I correct in saying that I just need the one HDPVR box? Can I still get analogue signals to the other 2 tvs? If I went with *C, I wont get analogue signals to the other tvs then or will I for free without need of an additional receiver?
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Old 2008-11-05, 04:10 PM   #79
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It also depends on if Shaw is fully digital in your area. I had Shaw service at the same time as Starchoice a couple of years ago and while there wasn't a discernible difference on the digital channels, on the analogue SD channels, there was a huge difference. Blow that up on a big screen tv and it'll be even worse. i know you're primarily interested in HD, but there will be times you watch SD. As far as storm outages, in 10+ years with starchoice, the only time we've had problems is when there's been snow on the dish.
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Old 2008-11-05, 04:21 PM   #80
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8 feet equals 96" / 2 equals 48". For SD pictures on shaw, you will say "This picture is crap!". Compression of SD channels will be very noticable from that distance. If you get the 3416 PVR, the picture quality of all non-HD channels will look bad. HD will be fine.

I suggest you go with the Starchoice. The picture quality is much better for non -HD channels. You will have to get an additional non- HD box for each TV. If you are not going for the PVR, Starchoice is a lot more affordable for HD. If you are going for the HD PVR, then Shaw would be cheaper for the initial outlay of recievers.

If I didn't already have 2 Shaw PVRs, and 2 additional SD boxes, I would choose Starchoice, based on picture quality, and have a back up set of bunny ears for those snowy nights .
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Old 2008-11-05, 06:13 PM   #81
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Thanks for the help guys!

My only concern about SC is the extra costs of the receivers, which I really dont like.

For tv watching, the shows we will be watching the most will be on the major networks in HD, TSN/Sportsnet in HD, plus Discovery/National Geo in HD.

The SD channels will just go to the other tvs as per usual. Will the SD signals going to the other tvs be the same as I am currently getting with basic cable with Shaw?...or will it be far worse?

If thats the case...shaw may be the way to go for me, as the upfront costs are a bit cheaper, and I can bundle my internet with it for some savings.

I guess the final thing for me to consider is the PVR. How is Shaw's PVR in comparison to *C's? I know Bell's HDPVR is the best, but I prob am not going with Bell anyways. I heard that *C's PVR 530 can be problematic. Is Shaw's PVR better or worse?

Thanks again guys for all the help....you'd be surprised as to how much I keep switching my mind on the service provider.
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Old 2008-11-05, 06:20 PM   #82
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BCScott, I live in Calgary...snow is heavy from Nov through March sometimes. I would be putting this dish on the roof as I live in a "tightly spaced" neighbourhood. If I have to clean the dish through the winter months...not sure if *C or Bell is the right answer for me.

magnet, I noticed you live in Calgary as well...is snow on dish a big problem if you have no access to the dish to clean it? I am not prepared to go on my roof every few days to clear it off. If my signal strength will weaken when I want to watch it the most (when hockey is on), a dish might not be right for me.

What do you guys think?
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Old 2008-11-05, 06:42 PM   #83
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I've had Bell installed on my house since I moved here in 2006. I have never had any problem with snow and I live in the far NW which tends to get the most snow in Calgary.
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Old 2008-11-05, 07:07 PM   #84
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Hi supergenius,

Does the signal weaken at all though? I am not talking about cutting out entirely, but does the picture look as good, less audio dropouts, etc etc during the winter months?
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Old 2008-11-06, 12:15 PM   #85
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My Dad lives in the interior of BC and has lost the signal due to heavy, wet snow (unlike the freeze-dried stuff we get in Calgary). However, his dish is easily reachable by a broom.

His power goes out more than the dish.
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Old 2008-11-06, 12:29 PM   #86
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My Dad has bell in Calgary and has only lost signal a handfull of times in the last 9 years and it was only during intense hail storms. He said that snow storms do not have an effect on his reception.
I have Shaw and probably lose signal about 6 times a year for about 6 hours each time.
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Old 2008-11-14, 10:32 AM   #87
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Quote:
If you get the 3416 PVR, the picture quality of all non-HD channels will look bad. HD will be fine.
I disagree with this statement. I just got the 3416 and the PQ of the SD channels is a quite a bit better than my 6412 III box. In fact the quality of all my channels have improved on the 3416 box.

My mom has *C and the PQ of the SD channels is about the same as the SD channels on my 6412 box, and worse than my 3416 box. She watches *C on a 56" LCD. My 3416 is hooked up to a 50" plasma, and my 6412 is hooked up to a 56" DLP.
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Old 2008-11-15, 11:36 PM   #88
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Default New to HD TV, need advise

Hey,

I am getting a new HDTV in the next week, and am wondering if I should go with Shaw or Starchoice?

I have been in the Shaw threads and have read lots of complaints on PQ and audio dropouts.

I know Starchoice is having a decent deal these days with their HDPVR, but I still would prefer Shaw to bundle my internet with...makes it easier and saves a bit of money. I also prefer the channels Shaw would provide me...more variety IMO than Starchoice for similar value.

BUt for me it comes down to PQ and also reliability and consistency of the signal. Is Starchoices PQ all that better? I know Shaw compresses their signal somewhat...how about Starchoice? Is the difference that noticeable?

Thanks for any advice!

Last edited by 57; 2008-11-16 at 01:35 AM. Reason: Post moved to existing thread, please read earlier posts.
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Old 2008-11-17, 10:33 AM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Crumb View Post
Hey,

I am getting a new HDTV in the next week, and am wondering if I should go with Shaw or Starchoice?

I have been in the Shaw threads and have read lots of complaints on PQ and audio dropouts.

I know Starchoice is having a decent deal these days with their HDPVR, but I still would prefer Shaw to bundle my internet with...makes it easier and saves a bit of money. I also prefer the channels Shaw would provide me...more variety IMO than Starchoice for similar value.

BUt for me it comes down to PQ and also reliability and consistency of the signal. Is Starchoices PQ all that better? I know Shaw compresses their signal somewhat...how about Starchoice? Is the difference that noticeable?

Thanks for any advice!
umm, did you read the posts above? There are mutiple answers to your question. You have also posted this same question in multiple threads. I think you should go with the adivce as one of the other poster made to you. Rent a Shaw HD PVR for a month or two and see if you like it. If you don't then try out *C.
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Old 2008-11-24, 03:23 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeH View Post
I took advantage of the satellite winback promo after three years with Bell. For the previous seven years I was with Shaw. Here are my early thoughts.

Cons

- Channel mapping is messy
- CTVHD, DSCHD and A&EHD are unwatchable. Massive amounts of stuttering and pixelation
- Favorite lists could be so much better utilized
- Can't find a button/method to stretch 4:3 on the HD channels

Pros

- I got a free HDPVR
- Except for the 3 channels mentioned above HD looks better to my eyes
- Can have tv in every room without need for a box
- Should save a few $ once I pick a package
- The difference in SD picture quality (compared to Bell) was not as significant as I expected

Not bad so far and so much better than when I previously left Shaw.
Does Shaw still offer this program ? Ive been thinking of switching but not sure. If I get a good deal I might
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