Satellite TV Review: Shaw Direct - Page 2 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
View Poll Results: How satisfied are you with this service provider?
Extremely Satisfied 70 35.53%
Somewhat Satisfied 89 45.18%
Somewhat Dissatisfied 26 13.20%
Extremely Dissatisfied 12 6.09%
Voters: 197. You may not vote on this poll

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post #16 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-21, 03:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: VancouverBC/PV Shaw Sat 600-630 Cable Internet, Telus Landline, Rogers PayGo, Bell Mobility, Netflix
Posts: 468
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.
kcowan is offline  
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post #17 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-24, 03:23 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Cornwall, PEI
Posts: 76
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.
brigort is offline  
post #18 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-24, 06:54 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Sask.
Posts: 134
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.
Mike P. is offline  
post #19 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-27, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Kincardine ON.
Posts: 4,453
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.
classicsat is offline  
post #20 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-28, 02:59 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 8

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.
rana is offline  
post #21 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-05-15, 07:41 PM
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 3
Very satisfied with Shaw Direct

I've been a Shaw Direct customer since 2003, migrating from a basic receiver to the 530. Their picture quality on HD channels is outstanding, the SD channels are OK. I have had no problems with the 530 (knock on wood) with the exception of having to do a hard shut down/reboot on occasion. I do wish that Shaw would become more competitive when it comes to HD selection. We have a home in northern California where we have cable and more than 60 channels are available in HD in the basic package. More than 80 HD channels are available is you subscribe to expanded movie/sports packages. But overall, I'm not complaining. The few times I have had to contact them, customer service has been very good and responsive.
1Norcalman is offline  
post #22 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-08-01, 06:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 41 least there's picture and sound...

Might as well chime in. WARNING! This could be a long one.

I started with SD in 1998 because they were the only locally-available alternative to analog cable.

Pre-HD Era (1998-2005) -- 400 series receiver
Initially, I was very impressed. The video quality on most channels seemed to be on par with DVD, especially the animation on channels like Teletoon and YTV. Over the years though, they've been adding more and more channels with few (if any) upgrades to bandwidth. As result, macro-blocking and other compression artifacts have increased substantially. Most non-HD channels now remind me of the horrible analog cable I had before. SD's much-touted 5.1 surround sound was also non-existent.

The program guide was also a disappointment. Remember, I signed up back when the only alternative was those huge program guide magazines. There were no TV guide web sites on the internet yet, either. So I thought with the company automatically updating the guide, it would be hyper-accurate. When a show is shuffled around or had an extra-long episode, the guide would be updated right away with the changes. What a joke! I was lucky if the changes happened before the show actually aired! Other providers include info such as the episode name and whether or not the show is a repeat. Shaw direct has none of this information. Its show descriptions are often incomplete, generic, or missing altogether.

HD-Era (2005-present) -- 500 series HDPVR
Now the real funs begins. Lock-ups, crashes, dropped audio, corrupted programs, molasses-like navigation. These are just some of the features the SD HDPVR offers. These were all very annoying to be sure, but each could usually be fixed with a hard reset or an hour or two on the phone with tech support.

However, the true pièce de résistance came in fall of 2008 with the now infamous F2 firmware update. This update implemented High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) over the receiver's high-end digital (DVI) connection. It effectively disabled this connection for any customer unlucky enough to have a non-HDCP-compliant monitor. This was just the tip of the iceberg though. A fault in the way the HDCP was implemented caused the protection to trip any time a "DVI repeater" was used. The most common form of home repeater is the A/V Receiver. So now people who used receivers as an interface between various devices in their home theater (like me) could not use SD boxes with a digital connection at all, regardless of whether their A/V receiver was HDCP-compliant or not!

While this was a major screw-up by SD (and their design partner Motorola), it was nothing compared to their reaction to the issue; which was to totally deny it! Disgruntled customers calling for help were greeted by confused level 1 techs who had "not even heard of the issue" for months after it first appeared. Gradually, SD would acknowledge the issue when pushed, but then promptly deny any responsibility for it. They blamed receiver manufacturers who, in turn, blamed them. They even tried to claim that they were under no obligation to provide a working DVI connection just because it was on their hardware! Customers calling tech support now received a different story every time they called. Management couldn't seem to understand what the big fuss was about and instructed their receptionists to push customers to use an analog connection to get around the problem. Fixing it, seemingly, was never on their minds. Was this because they were privy to exactly what the nature of the problem was and were aware that nothing could be done? We may never truly know.

The advice to use component (analog) connections revealed several major problems with the mindset at SD:
1) It was an avoidance of the issue, not a fix.
2) It showed complete ignorance of the fact that most of their customers who would be utilizing the DVI connection also had custom-installed setups that could not simply be altered in this way without incurring significant expenses of time and/or money.
3) These same customers likely subscribed to SD's most high-end programming packages. Customers you would think SD would not go out of their way to offend.

SD to this day has still not made a formal acknowledgment of the HDCP issue, much less apologized to customers. Now they're parading around their new 600 series like they expect all the people they f*cked over with the 500 series to eat it up. God in heaven.

Customer Service

As you may have guessed, SD customer service is a mixed bag at best. At times, they seem almost deliberately dense and obstructionist, as if they've been given a list of a few scripted answers they can provide and are forbidden to deviate from without trying every one of them at least three times. Despite their insistence that they keep an issues file on every customer, the new representative you get on your second call rarely knows anything about what you discussed with the previous one. No less than six times I've called complaining that they have my timezone set wrong, so when daylight savings time comes or goes, my clock is always an hour out (this screws up all my DVR timers). They happily fix the problem and assure me they've made a note in my file about the timezone. Yet, they next time DST comes around BOOM!....screwed up time.....again. Wait times are often over an hour as well.

It's not all bad though. As far as I am aware, you can still talk to a person.....from this continent.....when you call, and they are usually quite pleasant to talk to; even if it's always about the same issues over and over. If they ever go to one of those voice-navigation tech support systems that Bell has (where you say the word instead of punching the number), that will be the final straw and I'll cut them loose for good. I can find a better use for $120/month.

UPSHOT -- Very dissatisfied. They should diagnose me with Stockholm Syndrome for still being in such an abusive relationship.

Good night, folks.
Mayhemm is offline  
post #23 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-08-02, 10:11 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 42
I've had two 530's for over 2 years now, and have never had to return one. I get the very occasional hiccup, but nothing as infuriating as dealing with Bells customer service...
martinstraka828 is offline  
post #24 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-09-23, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ontario
Posts: 109
With SD for over 10 years a little disappointed that they have not kept up with the competition as far as content. PQ is a big plus and customer service has been good so I have and will continue to stay with then specially with the new 630.

The no bandwidth issue is a concern they need to solve.
Momorider is offline  
post #25 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-09-27, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Kincardine ON.
Posts: 4,453
And they will be, next year when enough HD owners have 6xx receivers, and SD owners have 8PSK receivers.

HD will move to the 6xx compatible DVB-S2, and premium SD channels to 8PSK, requiring a 209/319/5xx/6xx receiver. Most new channels they will add at that point will need one of the newer receivers.
classicsat is offline  
post #26 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-09-27, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,161
Has anyone confirmed that the 6xx series are DVB-S2 capable? On the spec sheet there is no mention of it.
QCK is offline  
post #27 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-09-27, 03:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Coquitlam BC
Posts: 783
I have been waiting to see the answer to that question as well. That and waiting for the problems with the 630 to settle down before commiting to upgrading my 530's to 630's...hopefully before they stop offering deals to existing 530 owners....
ae_collector is offline  
post #28 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-09-27, 10:37 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 11
Been a Star Choice subscriber for over 4 years I have noticed the
Standard Definition Local Channels have been slowly getting worst.
The more HD channels they offer the more the Standard Definition channels
picture quality goes down.
There using so much compression on my Local CTV/Global/CBC there
unwatchable now.
RomanyStew is offline  
post #29 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-09-28, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,161
Originally Posted by RomanyStew View Post
Been a Star Choice subscriber for over 4 years I have noticed the
Standard Definition Local Channels have been slowly getting worst.
The more HD channels they offer the more the Standard Definition channels
picture quality goes down.
There using so much compression on my Local CTV/Global/CBC there
unwatchable now.
Sorry but something is wrong with your TV or or eyes, the SD picture quality is about as good as it gets IMO.
QCK is offline  
post #30 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-09-28, 10:05 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 11
Shaw Direct are using more digital compression to get more channels out of there
The Marco Blocking has increased over the years on there less watched channels.
People just get use to sub standard Brodcasts and how often do we watch local channels.
The news and that's about it,you would watch the network HD brodcast of a program over a local SD brodcast.
RomanyStew is offline  

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