Satellite TV Review: Shaw Direct - 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 #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 2006-12-08, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 47,716
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.

We welcome the input and opinions of all members whether they are good or bad, however, please note that this thread is NOT for rants. Whether you had a good or bad experience with this vendor we want to hear about it but in an OBJECTIVE manner.

If you post a rant or childish comments like, these guys "suck" or they're all a "bunch of idiots", then your comments will be considered trolling and your post will be deleted.

When you post, please try to include the following information:
  • What product or service you purchased.
  • Approximate timeframe you ordered the product
  • What location you dealt with if it’s a company with many stores or service locations
  • Your overall level of satisfaction
  • If you had a positive experience, please explain what made it such a positive experience.
  • If you had a negative experience, please read our guidelines below.

Guidelines for Posting Negative Reviews

The truth is no retailer or service provider is perfect and occasionally even the best companies can disappoint. Our experience is that good companies have problems but they typically make every reasonable effort to resolve problems.

If you had a problem and are posting a negative review, then please note what efforts you made to resolve the problem and the feedback you received. If you think the efforts to resolve the problem were NOT reasonable then please explain why. Saying you phoned up and talked to some idiot, suggests the problem may lie with the consumer and NOT the company!

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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 2006-12-16, 10:35 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 279
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.

For example:

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.
Mr. Perfect is offline  
post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 2006-12-17, 02:36 AM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,190
I give them an A-

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.
ARR is offline  
post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 2006-12-17, 03:10 AM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 76
Have had StarChoice for the last year...

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.
bailey4363 is offline  
post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 2007-01-23, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Calgary, AB
Posts: 1,768
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.
PrimeBane is offline  
post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 2009-01-02, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 7
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.

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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-16, 12:34 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 439

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.
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-16, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Toronto
Posts: 47,716

This is NOT a discussion thread so please limit yourself to one post which includes your review.

hugh is offline  
post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-16, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New Brunswick - Shaw Direct
Posts: 3,150
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.
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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-16, 03:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 1,469
Somewhat satisfied

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).

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post #11 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-17, 12:11 PM
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 14
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.
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post #12 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-17, 09:56 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 61
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!
rickh1954 is offline  
post #13 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-18, 06:55 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 136
Somewhat disatisfied.

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.
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post #14 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-18, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 1,080
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.
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post #15 of 56 (permalink) Old 2010-04-18, 03:17 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 20
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.
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