Digital conversion causing Shaw confusion
Television stations, including CTV, will switch from broadcasting in analog to digital on Aug. 31. But with those changes has come a lot of cable confusion, as Shaw simultaneously does a technical upgrade of its own.
Shaw customers are being told they now need a digital box to watch their favorite specialty channels. The company is undergoing the tech upgrade at the same time as the government mandated switch to digital TV takes place this week and that has some customers confused.
Here's why it's confusing. If all you subscribe to is basic cable, you will not be affected by the government mandated changes.
But Shaw is simultaneously in the process of moving channels 29 to 58 from the analog system to digital and that means if you want to watch those channels in the near future, you'll need a digital box. Shaw is providing customers with free lifetime box rentals at one per household.
But some Shaw customers argue the company is trying to slide these new changes through at the same time as the government switch.
Shaw says the digital moves are not connected. It acknowledges the confusion but maintains that Shaw is simply trying to "enhance" customer service.
"We're trying to be as consumer friendly as possible," said Shaw President Peter Bissonnette. "This is not motivated by anything other than trying to give customers more and faster internet services and high definition programming."
So who exactly is affected by the government mandated digital conversion? People who get their TV signal from outdoor antennae or rabbit ears.
"We'll be turning on digital channels and you will need to change your older TV set to receive those digital channels – you will have to get a digital box," said CTV engineer Ron Neufeglise.
No digital box means no picture. If you get your signal from satellite or Telus TV, you will not be affected.
The CBC is having trouble meeting the deadline for the mandated switch, arguing that replacing its analog transmitters across Canada would cost $10 million and is not economically feasible in some regions. The CRTC has given CBC an extra year to turn off its analog signal in certain markets.
As for when the Shaw digital conversion will come to your neighborhood? Shaw is doing the switch neighborhood by neighborhood and says the conversion will be complete by the fall of 2012.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Lynda Steele