Shaw Cable’s “migration” to Digital

It’s the little things in life that are the most annoying. It’s not the first time, but right now I am really annoyed with Shaw Cable. This time it is over the “migration” of cable channels to their digital operation.

Shaw is my cable television supplier and when they added The Golf Channel to their lineup I purchased the package that included it. I did not watch it to the exclusion of everything else, but I certainly watched it for a large percentage of my television time. I got to watch tournaments that weren’t picked up anywhere else as well as commentary, instruction and interviews. I even had it on when I wasn’t watching because it is a “quiet and green” channel. (Not environmentalist green, but golf course green).

Then when I wasn’t looking Shaw took it away. They moved it over to their digital programming just as they had done with CNBC (which ticked off another group of TV watchers). So they took away a channel that I wanted and was paying for and replaced with another channel that gave me a bunch of old movies.  And they never even asked.

Then they had to nerve to tell me that I could get The Golf Channel back if I bought a digital box for $300 and paid an additional monthly fee to maintain their digital feed. I had the distinct feeling that they were holding The Golf Channel hostage and they were looking for ransom money.

Now I might have purchased their bloody digital box until I discovered that it only works on one TV set. If you have more than one TV you would have to buy a box for each individual unit. That left me in the position of paying $300 and a monthly fee and getting reduced service in the process. Which pretty much led me to the conclusion that Shaw really doesn’t give much of a damn for their customers’ needs but are simply looking for a way to push people into their digital programing packages.

It seems obvious to me that they are trying to do this by “migrating” the channels that have dedicated viewers. They started with CNBC and then “migrated” The Golf Channel as well. It will be interesting to see if any other specialized channels go the same route.

What to do? Well, not much I can do. They have a monopoly in the area. I could go to satellite but there is the same problem as with digital. You need a receiver for each TV. Fine for the one TV family but not really an option for some of us. 

It was suggested to me that I make a complaint to the CRTC. That sounded interesting and I did just that. I received back a nice email along with a bunch of information about hearings between the cable companies and the CRTC (Which is where the “migration” term came from). But there was little talk about the customer anywhere in those discussions and the CRTC said they didn’t have any input into how the cable companies allocated their programming anyway. It was educational but, of course, futile.

No happy ending. No Golf Channel. No digital. Just frustration and a lot annoyance. I may have to start watching hockey.

5 Responses to “Shaw Cable’s “migration” to Digital”

  1. Jim Says:

    Interesting comments -mine are similiar – I signed up for an HD package (Premium – I had purchased the HD digital box) which in 2004 included the 301 to 30? channels. I have just found out that they have cut off many of the HD channels and if I want to continue them I will have to pay an extra premium. Seems to me that he who has the monoply can screw the consummer. I have sent an e-mail to CRTC as well and I have contacted CTV’s “Olson On Your Side”. I have just realized that I have also lost CTV’s HD programming. So I will look at trying to raise some of these issues with them. If you have any other suggestions for pursuing this issue let me know and I will be glad to do what I can

  2. totalrecoil Says:

    I heard a discussion on a radio talk show a few days ago about subscribers’ experiences with Shaw’s HD. The same game that they played with digital. Good luck on your endeavours with the CRTC. They sent me a bunch of info which basically told me that the cable company could do pretty much what they pleased. What I found interesting in reading through the hearings was that I can recall nowhere that the customer was mentioned. I don’t think that the CRTC has any concerns for how the cable companies deal with their subscribers.
    Like you say: when you deal with a monopoly you have no protection agains getting screwed.

  3. packages dish network Says:

    Ah, This is awesome! Clears up
    some contradictions I’ve read

  4. Brian Says:

    Yup Shaw just did it again with WTVS-detroit. Gone no more on my second tv. No consultation just the usual customers are too stupid and have no say in what we need other than to keep raising our rates. let me know when I can purchase my internet and tv from the USA and I will. I have had enough of Canadian cable oligopolies. All this to protect Canadian culture but not to protect Canadian consumers. And the CRTC can go too…

  5. Greg Says:

    The bigest issue I have is about privacy, Now! they know how many TV’s you have and wil they try to charge you for more than one TV connection. Each box you get at 58.00 dollars you have to activate with them.

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