...I don't understand why people say removing analog channels from TV cable is Shaw moving forward with new technology.
1. The analogue channels take up far more bandwidth than digital HD channels. You can put 3 HD channels or 8-12 SD channels in the same space as one analogue channel. This bandwidth is required for the services that everyone wants (HD, internet, etc).
2. Analogue channels are subject to all kinds of interference which degrade picture quality. Analogue is not used for HD in North America.
3. TV tuners could (and can) receive QAM (digital) signals, however, these would have to be "in the clear" (unencrypted). No providers provide all the channels unencrypted because many people would then attempt to receive these for free (stealing cable). With digital and a STB you get the channels you pay for.
4. In the US they used CableCARD to decrypt channels, however, there were many issues with that approach and it was never implemented in Canada. CableCARD and Tru-2-Way are both dead and there's no reason to discuss them further. See the following post:
5. By encrypting the channels and using a STB to decrypt the channels you pay for, the customer can change their package at any time receiving or not receiving the channels they pay for. Previously with analogue a truck run (technician to your site) was required for each change. Also, the changes were only by groups of channels using a filter, not individual channels. People are changing their packages and channel lineup all the time these days and in future, there may be à-la-carte selection.
6. With digital most monitoring and issues can be assessed (troubleshooting) without going to site, again saving many truck runs, saving costs.
7. Satellite and IPTV has always required digital STBs, so now cable is no different.
There are several other reasons, but analogue is almost gone and there is no chance for unencrypted signals to be sent to your TV's tuner from a provider. In the US some select few (digital, QAM) "OTA-type" channels are sent to the TV via the cable companies, however, all of the other channels are encrypted.