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Shaw Cable analogue to digital migration

195875 Views 490 Replies 123 Participants Last post by  Dr.Dave
I received a notice from my apartment building, who bundles basic cable into my rent, and was told that Shaw needs to install digital boxes to remain receiving basic cable. Makes no difference to me since I already have a HD PVR, an HD box (awaiting a new TV to hook it up to as it is a rental) and a SD box. But here in Lloydminster are they phasing out analog cable altogether or did my apartment building make this decision?

If so, does this mean that Lloydminster will finally receive all the channels Shaw offers elsewhere such as Canadian Timeshifting and Superchannel? I would assume this would be a solution to the finite capacity issue as I understand that digital has a higher capacity (possibly infinite like IPTV) and could carry all of these channels without a capacity issue.
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1. Eventually, everyone will be digital only.

2. There is no set date and each provider is different.

3. Most cable providers (Canada and US) still provide some analogue cable, however, the trend is towards digital with fewer analogue channels available, eventually none. Some (usually small) providers are all digital in certain areas. Here's the thread on the topic:
roughly 10 SD and 4 HD digital stations
I'm pretty sure that for HD stations it's either 2 uncompressed or 3 compressed HD channels per QAM.
Lloydminster had gone all digital...
Note that many areas of Shaw have all channels available digitally (all channels digital, while still offering analogue channels in parallel). That is totally different from digital only - the topic of this thread. Many service providers are reducing the number of analogue channels available with more going to the digital tier (this year and next). Eventually all channels will be digital to free up the maximum bandwidth. Again, please do not confuse all channels digital with digital only.
I'm pretty sure that businesses (hotels, hospitals, etc) can put appropriate equipment at the demarcation point and some sort of analogue distributor to simulate what they had before, if that's what they want to do.

Something similar is done for apartments, hotels, etc that have satellite which has always been digital.
This thread is about the digital migration. Several off-topic posts have been deleted. Discussion of OTA, Shaw packages, etc have their own threads.
For those needing to use a VCR or DVD recorder here's the FAQ which can help. It's not easy, but it does work...
Please let's stay on topic. This thread is not for discussing CableCARD. CableCARD has been discussed extensively in other threads - a search will easily find those. Example:

why doesn't Shaw offer this voluntarily?
Here are some reasons taken from another thread, but still applicable
jericho & JamesK You mean as indicated in post 79? ;)
I do not believe that information to be correct. One of the main reasons for a digital service is to preclude truck runs and filters. The only time a filter would be required is when someone wishes internet only service, then a filter is required to block the analogue channels. Since the only channels left on analogue will be "basic" there is no need to block analogue otherwise since all the appropriate other channels will be encrypted to be either allowed or not allowed by the STB.

During the transition there may be some channels outside of basic that may still be available on analogue, or perhaps on unencrypted QAM for say free previews.

Please do not allow my mention of unencrypted QAM to start that discussion in this thread since there are other threads to discuss that topic. I merely mentioned it to explain why some channels other than analogue may be appearing on TV tuners.
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It makes sense because there are a fair number of basic analogue customers out there, therefore the first step is to get all the customers beyond basic onto the digital service and then take care of the basic analogue customers in the next "round".
A bit OT, but Rogers (Ontario) will be going digital for all channels but basic (2-29 or so, depending on location), so it's essentially the same as Shaw.

They are not doing it all at once because it would alienate some customers and it would mean a huge number of STBs or DTAs (Digital Adaptors) in a short period of time. You can only accomplish so much in a year.
Well, as stated in post 315, it is possible that they will provide a free STB/DTA to digital customers if they have (and pay for) analogue outlets to other TVs without a STB/DTA currently. Most providers will do this. Looks like some Shaw customers are luckier than others, or perhaps different regions have different rules, or perhaps it comes down to the luck of the draw with which CSR you talk to.
Did you get the STB activated? Call Shaw?
Just realize that not all areas are affected at the same time, in the same way. We have an extensive thread (much like this one) on Rogers' Analogue to Digital Migration.

Some areas still have 20 to 30 channels, although channels are being dropped all the time.
Some areas are recently totally digital (and may have 1 or 2 channels for "sub-carrier (signal) measurement")
Some MDU (Apartments, Condos, etc) have been all digital for years.
You should be able to "block" the signal on both STBs so that the IR doesn't interfere with another STB. Simply angling the STB a bit should work if they're that far apart. Or a small piece of electrical or similar tape covering part of the IR "eye" on the STB. Here's a thread on the topic: Post 2 has several different ideas.

Please don't take this thread off the topic of the migration. Thanks.
...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.
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As mentioned by bigoranget, many MDUs now feed the security signal into the cable connection to be tuned by the STB. Usually it's a channel like channel 998, or whatever the provider/MDU select.

Switching inputs if your MDU doesn't have this, is easily accomplished with a programmable remote like a Harmony, which of course has the additional advantage that it can be programmed to handle many devices with the one remote. On sale they're only about $50.
If analogue goes away, you will not get anything with your TV's tuner because the signals will be encrypted. You will need a STB supplied by Shaw to decrypt the channels you pay for.
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