Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums banner

Can I get Clear QAM channels in Vancouver on Shaw?

14242 Views 12 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  jayce
Hi all!

Despite reading for a few weeks, I’m still very low-tech & just learning the concepts. Moving from a 15 year old CRT 26” tv to an LG 32LC7D, preparing for its arrival in a few weeks.

Currently I have the regular full cable (Tier 3) package from Shaw. I figured I’d do one thing at a time, to see differences better, e.g. just hook up the new set & see how SD looks first – then get the digital box from Shaw + pay 2 bucks a month more for digital channels, see how (or if) they affect the PQ (this stands for picture quality, right?). I figured I’d hold off on the HD box mainly because the majority of my viewing is old movies (Turner classic variety) & figured HD doesn’t make any difference for those, might even make them worse?

My question is, I had heard with the QAM tuner the new set has, one can sometimes get a few channels in “HD format” when you get the digital box. My understanding from Shaw is: you need their HD box to get anything in HD. Have read a few threads where folks in Vancouver had varied results with digital, some getting CBC HD, some not. I guess this also depends if your set has a QAM tuner or not? Can anyone clarify this for me? I think it has to do with the policy of your cable co., if they have things unencrypted or not? But am pretty vague on this, as I really don’t understand how it works. Thanks for any enlightenment!
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
If the channel is encrypted, you cannot get it with a QAM tuner. See the following thread. I believe Shaw encrypts all their channels now (SD & HD) so you need their STB (SD or HD if you want HD).

Then see:
Ya i used to be able to get some HD channels that was a year ago now, its all blocked. Only think avail is the audio channels
57 --- Thanks so much! I began reading on a U.S. AV forum, then got steered here; found a 2005 thread on the subject, but wondered if they might be receivable by now. I did read some of the FAQs in sections, but missed yours on QAM in my search! Bonus, a list of what all the acronyms mean! been looking up a lot of them lately. :)

I'm still wrestling with the decision to get HD or not...but got lots of time. Just learning about the new t.v. will likely keep me occupied for weeks! Your current info & links much appreciated…
Hi merve04,

Thanks for the input - that's what I was seeing, following some or 2 HD channels might come in, then disappear...seemed kinda random. Guess they've caught up on the encryption for awhile now. It's good to have it clarified, so if anything new comes in, I'll know it's a preview or something...once I get as far as digital. :)
I was on Vancouver Island recently and the hotel room had Shaw analog cable. The TV was a new Toshiba flat screen with QAM and ATSC tuner so I did a scan for any Clear-QAM channels. The previous posters are correct. There were about 30 audio channels. I also found The Shopping Channel and the Shaw promotional channel. IIRC the audio channels were in the 55-57 channel range.
If your tv has an atsc tuner and you can see Mt. Seymour you might try getting a UHF antenna (many areas just need a silver sensor clone) and see if you can get CBC HD and CTV HD over the air.
Thanks, Jake! As someone who doesn’t understand how the technology works in the first place, it was good to find out, just in case there was something I should do, to possibly look for a channel or 2 that way. But, yes, sounds like things have tightened up and no QAM is making its way through anymore, aside from what you mentioned.
Hi s40 - Yes, I do have ATSC, a direct line to Mt. Seymour & I’m a bit elevated above the downtown area if that helps. I don’t know anywhere near what I ought to know yet, but looks like there’s a terrific section on the subject here. Once I get past the basics, I’ll check it out. I’d love for this to be a feasible location for an indoor antenna or sensor to work. Down the road, I hope!
Our bedroom HD set has both a ATSC and a QAM tuner. We live in a condo on the 12th floor south-west corner in Burnaby and have a clear view of Mt. Seymour. Using an amplified Philips indoor antenna, I can pickup CBC HD and CTV HD very clearly (better than cable) plus all the local VHF stations. I bought the antenna at Wal-Mart for approximately $26.00. When you plug it in, a blue LED comes on that matches perfectly the blue LED on the Samsung.
As an experiment, I carried the set and antenna to the south facing balcony and was able to pick-up Seattle's Fox HD very clearly but none of the other Seattle stations. I also received several digital and VHF stations on it. (You could check Stampeder's posts re: receiving over-the-air transmissions and antennas as he is very knowledgeable about the subject.)
As to the QAM, I can only get Fox HD on channel 85-7 (plus many music channels) as Shaw Cable encrypts just about all of the video they carry. Apparently, in the U.S., cable companies have to carry local HD stations un-scrambled. Too bad we don't have the same regulations here, then our cableco's wouldn't be able to charge us for set-top boxes.
See less See more
It dont matter how weak or strong the signal is, if its enough to be decoded by the TV, the picture will always look the same. Its not like analogue tv where your picture could get snowy, ghost or anything like that, with OTA you get it or you dont.
Yes, I was aware of that but thanks anyway. I was just responding to jayce's query as to what was available OTA using an antenna and also what you could pickup on a QAM tuner in this area.:)
Hi MAXAM! I really appreciate all the detailed info you passed on, including the brand that works for you, & cost. Your experiment gave me a much better sense of the sensitivity involved, & specifics to be considered - thanks!

Yes, I started my education reading posts on a U.S. forum, so initially I was mighty impressed with what my new t.v. might be capable of! But good to know the score, & great to find this forum with such a wealth of knowledge, location-specific. Stampeder’s OTA section is amazing – much of the info here is beyond my understanding, but each time I re-read, a little more gets clarified. Examples like yours help a lot. :)

One thing I found disappointing with Shaw was the apparent problem activating boxes not purchased from them? Maybe there are tech difficulties involved if boxes don’t meet their standard, but…choice is good! This makes me more inclined to explore the antenna possibility when I get more up to speed. Even though I’m getting ahead of myself (the LCD hasn’t even arrived yet!) the info I’ve received here has made me reconsider my initial plan to purchase the digital box right away. I’m actually finding it easier to learn about very basic connections than to understand what channels you get with a given Shaw package. Sure is good to get feedback & hear the pros & cons!
See less See more
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.