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I must be in the area of town that gets mail first :) Letter from MTS today announcing new TV Channels as well as re-packaging.

The Good: Free HD will now include bold HD, Weather HD, Family HD, Playhouse Disney HD and Setana HD.

The Bad: National Geographic HD and Showcase HD will move from Free HD to a new HD Variety theme group.

The Ugly: HD Discovery will now be comprised of Discovery World HD and Wild HD (new channel). History HD will move to the new HD Variety theme group. It will still be $4 per month.

Variety HD will be available for $3 per month and include National Geographic HD, Showcase HD, MovieTime HD (new channel), HGTV HD (new channel) and History HD.

All HD channels require you to have the digital (SD) version.

These channel changes will take effect November 4, 2010.
 

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The letters seem to be customized. The letter I got yesterday didn't mention Wild HD, but it did say "As a subscriber to the Entertainment Theme Group...". Altogether it looks like they're adding 8 new HD channels.
 

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WOW, 8 new HD channels..... since I am now almost exclusively a HD snob (refusing to watch anything not in HD) I am thrilled with this news. For me I don't subscribe to Setana, so it it really 7 new channels.

I haven't got my letter yet (or wifey tossed it before I saw it) none-the-less $3 for 7 more HD channels is a bargain in my eyes.

The only downside I see is that with Playhouse and Family now in HD, my son now has a reason to use one of my HD streams for his own shows..... Maybe I won't tell him :)
 

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This is somewhat disappointing, as they are doing what they used to campaign against Shaw for in their old ads - packaging channels in awkward and expensive ways. I would much rather pay $10 for the entire HD package then have these little bit packages that change every year.

What's next? HD Fantasy package? HD Daylight? HD Humans? HD HD?

I'm also a bit peeved that they bumped some channels out of the "Free HD" to make room for Family channels, which I have absolutely no interest in. That should be a package right there instead.
 

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I haven't got my letter yet (or wifey tossed it before I saw it) none-the-less $3 for 7 more HD channels is a bargain in my eyes.
Guess it is all in how you view it - I feel more like they are moving things around and I am really only getting HGTV HD and Movietime HD for the extra 3 bucks, because NG HD, Showtime HD were in Free and History was part of Discovery....
 

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Im all for more HD channels and Im willing to pay a reasonable amount for them but why do Shaw, MTS, Telus etc force us to subscribe to the digital version that are usually contained in packages that we have not subscribed to??????
Dont they get it ??????
The HD channel shows exactly the same shows regardless of if the programme is in HD or SD. I never ever watch the SD channel i.e the digital only I watch the HD channel even if the programme is in SD only.
Oh sure we now have X amount of HD channels but you have to subscribe to the digital version unless its in a free HD package.
Argggggggh
 

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Vader: yah, I can understand your position if you do subscribe to certain packages it may not be as good of a deal.

SAS007: I seem to recall a post a while back about why the cable companies force you to take the SD version first. I wish I could remember where I saw it, since I recall it being a really well written post. Anyway if I remember correctly it has to do with the channel providers themselves, apparently they require a cable company to provide the SD version first, because they are afraid that otherwise a cable company would choose to sell just HD for a channel and the channel provider would get fewer customers..... While I might not be 100% correct in relaying what I read before, it had to do with the channel providers requirements.
 

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Im just looking over the letter I got from MTS and the MTS website.
Ive noted the following ;
There are no digital channels for the following Equator,Oasis,Rush and Treasure but these channels are offered in HD providing you subscribe to MTS Ultimate TV so that seems to contradict the must subscribe to the digital version.
The National Geographic and Showcase have digital equivalents and were in the Free HD but are now being moved to a new HD Variety Theme pack for $3.00 a month. They are also moving the History HD from the Discovery Theme group to the HD Variety Theme pack.
So to keep the National Geographic, Showcase and History HD channels for an extra $3.00 a month I now have to ensure that I have these digital equivalents that I may or may not have had. If I didnt have them then this would cost me more money.
If you have noticed you can only subscribe to 3, 6, 9 and 11 digital theme groups. If that missing channel is in a group I dont have then are they forcing me into buying 2 groups. I currently have 9 theme groups there is no option for 10 groups I believe so I would have to buy the 11 pack which would work out to an extra $5.99 a month for those 2 groups.
This is the sort of moving around channels that irks me and as someone pointed out they complained about Shaw doing this so they now do it themselves. A bit hypocritical if you ask me.
 

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About the number of theme groups, I think you can add just one and it gets prorated or whatever to half of the 5.99 for the extra two. Don't take my word for it, but I'm pretty sure I've heard them say this when I'm helping my customers modify their themes before I leave. I'm not required to do this (although the sales people seem to be telling customers that "the installer will set them up for you" ?!?!?!) but often as a courtesy I will call them in.

If you have MTS already, try doing a test run thru the online channel changing thing (without completing the order) and let us know. If I have time, I'll do it and report back.
 

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So to keep the National Geographic, Showcase and History HD channels for an extra $3.00 a month I now have to ensure that I have these digital equivalents that I may or may not have had. If I didnt have them then this would cost me more money.
You always had to have the digital equivalents if there were any. Obviously this doesn't apply for channels that are HD-only.
 

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I just got my letter. A quick bit of math tells me I have to pay for 4 more theme groups in order to get any of the new "free" HD channels. The bottom line is that it will cost about $13.00 plus tax for me to get anything new or else maintain my already very high price point and get less. I will have to seriously look at Shaw Direct. There is no value in this MTS change for me. Due to bundling etc, I may have to move all 3 of my MTS services.
 

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My initial reaction to this was disappointment, but after comparing with Bell Fibe and Telus Optik options I'm not sure we have it that bad.

I did a very quick and dirty comparison of the cost of PVR rental, basic, and the equivalent of 9 theme groups with their HD channels and this is what I found. Note that this was not an exhaustive comparison, just a rough check based on the websites. I tried to use non-bundle pricing but Bell doesn't seem to make that available. I also consider the themes to be roughly equivalent, I did not compare each and every channel included.

MTS Ultimate
PVR Rental: $5
Basic: $40.99
9 Themes: $20
HD: $13 (for Starter, Discovery, and Sports)
Total: $78.99

Bell Fibe:
PVR Rental: $20 (you can also purchase but that is not an option for MTS)
Choice (7 Themes): $62
Guess at 2 additional themes: $10
Total: $92

Telus Optik:
PVR Rental: $15 (I purposely did not count the free rental on 3 year term, since MTS has no terms)
Your Pick HD (9 themes): $75
Total: $90

So MTS is the cheapest, and still the cheapest if we need to add the new $4 HD theme.

I do find it annoying that you need to pick the HD themes separately and prefer the way Bell and Telus include the HD channels right in the theme, but that seems to come at a cost.
 

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Be sure to include the set-top rental for MTS as well, because most of us will be paying for the set-top box pretty soon as our "free" terms come up.
 

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MTS include the first STB at no charge (which is used as the PVR when activated). Additional STBs are only $3/month.

Telus $10/month for a STB
Bell Fibe TV $5/month for a STB

It's pretty difficult to make generalized comparisons among different providers since each situation is different: how the channels are packaged, which channels you want, if you use a PVR, how many STBs you need, etc.
 

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The first STB is included in the monthly package charge, so it's really not free. I get charged $3/mo for each of my STBs. If you look at the price between Classic TV and Ultimate TV, there's a $3 difference.
 
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