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Shaw Direct
Type Subsidiary of Star Choice Television Network Incorporated and Star Choice Satellite TV Inc.
Founded 1996
Headquarters Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Area served Canada
Key people J.R. Shaw (Chairman) Peter J. Bissonnette (President) Jim Cummins (VP Operations)
Industry Satellite television
Products Satellite TV
Owner(s) Shaw Communications
Website http://www.shawdirect.ca

Shaw Direct is a direct broadcast satellite television distributor in Canada which is majority-owned by cable TV operator Shaw Communications Inc. As of 2008, Shaw Direct had over 870,000 subscribers. It broadcasts on Ku band from two communications satellites, Anik F1R at 107.3°W and Anik F2 at 111.1°W; these satellites are owned by Telesat Canada and otherwise are used primarily to distribute programming to various Canadian cable TV companies. The company was formerly known as Star Choice until April 15, 2009.

A full list of channels carried by these two satellites is available from satellite-related sites such as Lyngsat: Anik F1 Anik F2. Anik F1 carries most mainstream English-language programming; Anik F2 programming includes French-language and HDTV broadcasts.

logo used while under the name Star Choice from 2001-2009.

Shaw Direct began in Lincoln, New Brunswick, but is now based in Calgary, Alberta. Its broadcast centre is in Mississauga, Ontario and has call centres in Montreal, Calgary and Mississauga.

Contents

History

  • August 1996: Awarded broadcasting licence.
  • March 1997: Opened first customer care centre.
  • March 1997: Activated their first customer, Archie Gray, who purchased a receiver for $999 with 100 digital channels when he purchased $400 worth of programming.
  • September 1997: Added Pay Per View to their lineup.
  • September 1999: Added 60 new channels to their lineup.
  • January 2000: Launched HDTV programming with the broadcast of Super Bowl XXXIV, the first High Definition TV broadcast in Canada.
  • August 2000: Privatized by Shaw Communications Inc. through its acquisition of Cancom.
  • April 2001: Activated both Anik F1 and Anik E2 satellites, becoming the first Canadian provider to broadcast services from two satellites simultaneously.
  • March 2002: Moved its head office from Lincoln, New Brunswick to Calgary, Alberta.
  • May 2002: Sold its one millionth receiver.
  • August 2003: Launched its first fully integrated High Definition receiver, the Motorola DSR500 HD.
  • September 2003: WTSN dropped from lineup due to the channel's demise.
  • February 2004: Added 18 additional channels including 2 high-definition ones.
  • July 2004: Announced the expansion of new channels as a result of the launch of the Anik F2 satellite.
  • May 2005: Launched the dual tuner High Definition Digital Video Recorder.
  • Nov 2005: TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is introduced to the Canadian market for the first time.
  • Sep 2006: AMC (American Movie Classics) is introduced to the Canadian market for the first time.
  • Oct 2006: A&E HD, Discovery HD and SRC HD (Montréal) launch on October 12, 2006. Super Écran HD launches October 30, 2006.
  • Dec 2006: Showcase HD and National Geographic HD launch on December 19, 2006 bringing the total amount of free HD channels to 17.
  • Jan 2007: Launched the DSR317 receiver, featuring a faster processor than previous Standard Definition receivers, and picture-in-guide. Superstation WGN was swapped for the local Chicago feed on January 17, 2007.
  • Feb 2007: Launched the DSR207 receiver, featuring a faster processor than previous Standard Definition receivers, and picture-in-guide.
  • Mar 2007: Star Choice announces the addition of GOL-TV, World Fishing Network, WGN-HD and HDNet.
  • Mar 2007: Star Choice celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary
  • Jun 2007: Séries+ HD and Canal Vie HD launch on May 31 2007. MuchMusic and TLN move to essentials and PunchMuch is removed. Casino and Gaming Television was added on June 5 2007 to the essentials package.
  • Jul/Aug 2007: A new interactive program guide was deployed to all DSR505's and DVR530's. The new interactive program guide introudced new features such as instant on capability (Guide will load within 3 minutes after power failure), support for Open TV and support for 8PSK modulation.
  • Sep 2007: PPV HD, MMore HD, Movie Central HD2, Canal Z, ABC West HD were added to the line-up
  • Oct 2007: Added NHL Centre Ice package to the line-up
  • Dec 2007: Teletoon Retro was added to the line-up. Viewer's Choice and Canal Indigo PPV was dropped in favour of Shaw PPV
  • Feb 2008: Speed Channel HD, Nascar Hot Pass and Wild TV was added to the line-up
  • May 2008: Sun TV Toronto, Citytv Winnipeg, Global Maritimes, and CBC Saskatchewan dropped from the lineup.
  • Aug 2008: TFO was dropped from the line-up
  • Sep 2008: TSN2 and TSN2 HD was added to the line-up
  • Oct 2008: HBO Canada, HBO Canada HD and The FRAME HD was added to the line-up. Also, Xtreme Sports dropped from the lineup due to the demise of the channel.
  • Dec 2008: Star Choice launched the DSR209 receiver. BigTen and BigTen HD was added to the line-up.
  • Jan 2009: Star Choice celebrates the sale of its 2 millionth receiver. Also, The Accessible Channel launches.
  • Feb 2009: Star Choice launched the DSR319 receiver.
  • April 15, 2009: Star Choice officially becomes Shaw Direct.
  • April 30, 2009: Shaw Direct drops Buffalo, New York TV stations WGRZ, WIVB-TV & WKBW-TV, and Detroit Fox station WJBK.
  • July 2009: TV Land Canada dropped from the lineup.
  • October 2009 The Score HD launched, and DIY Network launched to replace Fine Living Canada.
  • November 2009 Nickelodeon Canada launched to replace Discovery Kids.

Technical information

A 2005-07 Ford Focus wagon from Star Choice

The system requires an elliptical antenna of at least 45x60cm in size with a special LNB pair built as one unit to accommodate the narrow 3.8° spacing between satellites; the receiver uses the Motorola-proprietary Digicipher II system which has so far been virtually free of the problems with pirate decryption that have plagued other providers such as rival Bell TV. The standard 18" DBS antennas used by other providers are not compatible with this system as the signals differ in both frequency and polarization, due to Shaw Direct being relayed via FSS satellites, Anik F1 and F2 in this case.

Services and pricing

Shaw Direct currently features over 450 channels including all major Canadian & American networks, popular specialty services, PPV, sports packages and over 30 High Definition channels. Key services include:

The monthly packages range from $23 for the basic service, up to $95.99 for specialty and movie channels. Individual premium and specialty channels can also be purchased. Ultimate All-In which includes unlimited PPV and Ultimate All-In Adult which includes unlimited PPV and adult programming are $199 and $299 respectively. The receivers range from $99 for a basic system to $499 for a high-definition personal video recorder.

See also

External links

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