Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shaw Direct

Peter told me in a comment that there is an active discussion on the IRV2 Forum on receiving a Shaw Direct signal down south. It is a fact that SD no longer supports receivers taken outside of Canada but since they have not replaced the two old "Birds" (107 & 111), there is no reason we cannot still get a signal.

The discussion there suggests that the software/firmware update they did on receivers this summer will somehow prevent them from seeing the signal below the border. Here is my response to that discussion:

"I spend the winters in the south USA and Mexico, traveling around in the RV. My Shaw Direct has worked well for years all the way down to the Belize and Guatemala borders. I have the dual LNB on the larger dish.

I am now being told here on this thread that the software/firmware update to the receiver that was made this summer will somehow block me from receiving a signal south of the Canadian border.

Your receiver may have been turned off all summer and will not have received the update. However, as soon as you connect it down south it will automatically update itself. You have no control over this. You can press the "Download" button and download it right away or you can leave it to update itself on it's own. Either way, as long as it sees sufficient signal of 5.5dB it will update.

The receiver is a one way device so even if they programmed something into the receiver that determined my location without a built-in GPS, there is no way for them to get this information back to the Mother Ship. The only way for Shaw Direct to know where I am is if I tell them, either by phoning them and telling them or by ordering a PPV by phone so they can see where I am calling from by looking at my area code. If they do not know you are parked down south they cannot make changes to your account (ie. cancel it).

They have not made physical changes to the 107 and 111 birds so the footprint pattern is the same as it was last year. Certainly the new bird has it's own footprint and I am sure they have centered it on Canada only but as long as you have the old 2 LNB dish and are not looking at the new bird, I cannot see how they could stop me from receiving signals from 107 and 111 with my old dish, same as I always have. If I can see the signal in Canada, I cannot see how I could not see it down south as long as I am in the footprint.

People are starting to head south soon so I am sure there will be some real life reports coming in shortly."

15 comments:

  1. I agree with your theory. Looking forward to hearing the reports.

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  2. I dug into this issue last winter when there was a scare about Shaw dropping the snowbirds. Folks at Shaw told me that they valued their snowbird customers and there were no plans to change the footprint of the two older "birds". However the new "bird" has a footprint that only drops down into the Dakota's and will be unavailable south of that. They were supposedly populating that "bird" with new local HD channels so those of us who migrate back and forth may see some of our newer channels are missing as we head south.

    Now if I know one thing about Shaw it is that they can change their story at the drop of a hat so I, like you, will be anxiously awaiting reports from the early birds as to what is happening in the Sunbelt with our Shaw service.

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    1. Thanks John, I have actually been hesitant about talking to SD about this. I think as long as we do not update our dish to the new three LNB version, we will continue to be able to receive everything on the 107 and 111 birds. Like you say though, we will loose the HD channels that they migrate over to the new bird.

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  3. Sounds good to me too, don't think it will be a problem at all, only time will tell.
    We have been using ours for year and hope that it will stay that way. I am not telling them.

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  4. Croft, we have two dishes, both dishes have one LNB, the one for the RV is not HD, the LNB at the house was changed to HD last year, do you figure the one that we have for the RV will work down south? We don't care if we get HD or not, we just watch hockey and the news.

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    1. Probably but the only way to know for sure is to set it up and test it before you go. Let me know.

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  5. I guess the only way we'll know for sure is to wait for the first report of an actual SD subscriber to setup his dish down south. That shouldn't take too long. My guess is that it will work just fine with the 2 existing satellites.

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    1. I am pretty sure this is how it will work out.

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  6. Email comment from Al:

    As usual I'm sending you an E-mail response.

    I have the 630 PVR with the new 3 sat LNB on both the dishes at home and on the road. I had no problems down south last winter with the new LNB and I don't expect any this winter either. The new guide has been troublesome however, I've been on the phone twice with Shaw and they have re-installed the new guide each time, the problem has been that the guide has only gone out a max of 24 hours compared to 2 weeks on the old guide and the guide re-loaded from scratch each time I turned on the 630 in spite of the fact that the power was left connected. Each phone call took about an hour, so it's good if you do it before leaving home.

    Shaw are having lot of issues with the new guide, there have been a number of updates. The wait for a tech is about an hour or so, the tech recommended that the best time to call is 8:00 am eastern when techs are waiting for calls. Also, I'm offered a replacement 630 as a result of the problems which I may take them up on, although I believe it's a firmware issue, not the 630 itself. Replacement 630 means a loss of all the recorded programs on the PVR.

    I also asked if they could put back the old guide (lots of folks have asked them!), it's not possible because the new guide and firmware works in their favour for some reason or other.

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    1. A follow up from Al:

      In answer to the other person's query about mixing old and new LNB's, don't do it. I had a new LNB on the 630 at home and an old LNB on the RV, there was no reception in the RV with the 630. The programming for the new LNB is different (at least on the 630). If you have an older receiver in the RV then there should be no problem, but if you move a newer receiver from home to the RV then it is an issue.

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    2. To Al:

      So you have actually used the new three LNB dish along with the receiver that has been modified to work with it down south? Were you able to receive any of the programs from the new satellite? Or only the programs from the old 107 and 111 birds?

      And Al's reply:

      No, I didn't receive any signals from the new sat when we were in Arizona/southern California, and I confess that I didn't look in detail farther north as the existing 2 sats gave the programs I was looking for.. This year we have the Winegard auto dish with the smaller size (old tripod was 3/4 meter), it will be interesting to see if I lose some channels. Worst comes to worst I can use the old tripod as I set it up for Hughes internet as well when we are parked for a while.

      Al.

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  7. We set up our dish from the RV and refreshed our old 209 st def receiver ..only got ch 299 everything else was HD, so we phoned shaw and they talked us through resetting the receiver to the factory settings. I looked at the LNB and it is the two line one, the one for the house is a three line one. So we are good to go.. I hope. It worked last year.

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    1. You are good to go now! It is good you tested the system, it would have been awkward and expensive in phone calls to have to do it from "down there". I tested mine yesterday as well and it started working with no refresh so it is good to go as well. I have been using it on and off through the summer when we had overnight guests staying in the motorhome.

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  8. We have solved the phone number issue, we have a Magic Jack phone here at home that has a Canadian number and as part of it's package you are able to forward it (online) to any number in North America free of charge. We just leave Shaw a message with that number and they phone us back so they actually have no idea where we really are.

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