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Old 08-04-2013, 11:54 AM
gandalf gandalf is offline
Sage Advanced User
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Posts: 76
Shaw migration to MP4

One of those quiet revolutions is underway with Shaw.

Currently, almost all their channels are transmitted as either analog (for the low numbered "basic cable" channels or as digital MPEG2 multiplexes.

For the digital stuff, since they refuse to transmit any clear QAM, you have no option but to use a Shaw STB. Usefully, they do sell them and they are available at low cost on the used stuff markets.

Most of us I expect have followed similar paths and have good working setups based on the tried and tested older Motorola boxes. In the main I use R5000 modified boxes.

Now, however, a new breed of channels has appeared - starting with Sportsnet World. These are transmitted in MP4 not MPEG2 and they cannot be resolved with any of the older STBs. I have had to purchase a Motorola DCX3200 and an HD PVR2 (which is not plain sailing - but the subject of a different thread).

This affects non SageTV users as well. Box renters simply get an upgraded STB for free. Purchasers have to buy new.

This will get worse because Shaw like the MP4 channels - they can fit more in. Hence they plan, though have not published a schedule yet, to migrate many more channels to MP4 - which will put them out of reach of our older kit.

The new breed of STBs, like the DCX3200 are not as "hack friendly". There is no R5000 upgrade option, nor is it likely that the firewire options will work as easily as they do with the 6000 series boxes.

Shaw is also taking the opportunity to "simplify" things for its mainstream users by removing all the HD channels and letting the box "intelligently" select an HD source when needed. This is supposed to make sense by allowing them to broadcast Discovery on 27 and have the box select the HD source when the setup can use it. With all other STBs we tune Discovery in HD on 272. However the DCX3200 will not tune channel 272. I have tried sugesting the allow either method but their ultimate aim is to migrate everyone to the dual mode system and recover the higher channel numbers.

So, put together these two plans will progressively render all the old STBs obsolete. Probably it will be several years before the change is complete but the current "dual standard" is going to cause progressively more pain for people like us. Already I have to manage two channel lineups to stop the old tuners trying to get MP4 channels and to stop the new tuner trying to get HD channels (even though it tunes an SD channel and actually gets an HD progam).

Be warned - and start planning ahead.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:46 AM
OneOfMany OneOfMany is offline
Sage Aficionado
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Winnipeg
Posts: 374
I am going through the same Shaw "revolution" as you. For years I ran 1x 6200 HD box and 3x PVR150s for analog, as most of the kids recording was sufficient using SD channels. Now I have purchased two of the new DCX3200-M P3 and a couple more HDPVRs as well as a USB-UIRT. The boxes work well, although I have been having some issues with consistent channel changing, so had to pull them offline until I have some time to sort them out.

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Old 08-07-2013, 10:50 PM
Comitizer Comitizer is offline
Sage Advanced User
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 174
I hate how they are doing this. It's one of the reasons I moved off cable to OTA and Netflix. Yes, I don't get all the programming I want right when I want it but I'm not paying them $100/mth either.

There should be a law that forces clear QAM for every channel. There should be no hard requirement for a cable box. They're just implemented to screw people over.

You want extra features, get the box, you want "basic" cable (no VOD, etc) you plug it into your TV and be done with it. Like the analog TVs of old.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:44 PM
wayner wayner is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Toronto, ON
Posts: 6,907
The CRTC has never had any balls to force cable companies in Canada to be consumer friendly - examples are CableCard, unencrypted QAM, working firewire ports, etc.

Now I hate the Cable Companies as much as anyone but I do understand the switch to MPEG-4 as it allows them to fit more channels over the same bandwidth.

I do also understand no unencrypted QAM as that stops cable theft - without it there will be people who tap into their neighbours' cable as has always happened with analog cable. But it would be nice to not need a cable box which was the original idea behind CableCard.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:55 PM
Yalbik Yalbik is offline
Sage User
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Calgary, Canada
Posts: 63
Why did you need to buy the hd-pvr?

If you had the older Motorola boxes working (I assume over firewire), why not just use firewire on the DCX3200

Just curious as I currently use 2 Motorola 6200's and I'll need to know my options if they start to mpeg4 channels I watch....
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:38 AM
jorton jorton is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,273
I use three Shaw DCX3400's and one DCX3200 with USB UIRT IR channel changing with no problems. Both support MPG4. All running through HDPVRs.

What do you mean by "they blocked out ir broadcast so you can't get the codes"? I think Shaw Motorola boxes all use the same codes even with different remotes/boxes.
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