Part II: Select LTSSers Required to Buy New Receiver to watch SRC


Image Source: Shaw Direct

Dear Minister Glover,

Called Shaw Direct again tonight about SRC Ottawa (704) with a great solution c/o of Dad.

Since he can no longer receive 704 due to changes to the ANIK F2 satellite, why doesn’t Shaw just send us SRC Montreal (701) instead? It won’t be as local as Ottawa but it’s closer than CBC Toronto.

Shaw declined to make the change under a LTSS subscription donc, Dad has to go without access to SRC.

Time to complain to the CRTC (again), I guess.





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Part I: Select LTSSers Required to Buy New Receiver to watch SRC


Dear Minister Glover,

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.

Writing with regards to a troubling development related to Shaw Direct’s Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) program.

My dad mentioned to me recently that he could no longer watch Télé de Radio-Canada (aka SRC) via his no-fee LTSS subscription.  I checked it out and sure enough, when you try to watch the station it rejects your request.

I tried re-flashing the signal and unplugging the receiver but no dice. Nothing would get back SRC Ottawa/Gatineau. I finally decided to call Shaw tonight (waiting until after Saturday night’s HNIC Leafs game via CBC via Rogers which still works just in case tech support’s efforts to restore SRC impacted CBC reception).

At first, I was told that SRC was not included under the LTSS program. I corrected the customer service rep and advised that the station had been part of my dad’s basic channels provided by the LTSS since it was first hooked up. I also mentioned that my understanding is that ANY BDU service in Canada, even the LTSS, must carry at least one CBC TV station and one Radio-Canada TV station.

After trying to remotely re-flash the receiver again and having me get on my hands and knees (no pun intended) to unplug it again, the rep put me on hold. The rep returned with the answer. Apparently (you always have to take anything a Shaw Direct rep tells a LTSSer with a grain of salt), the compression of some of the SRC stations on the ANIK F2 satellite has changed and a new receiver is required in order to receive Ottawa/Gatineau and Vancouver SRC. SRC Montreal and SRC Moncton are currently unaffected, I was told.

I asked why this had happened and the rep said that Shaw doesn’t own the satellite and that the owners made the change.

The receiver that is required to receive SRC Ottawa/Gatineau (704) and SRC Vancouver (702) is the Motorola DSR 600, I was told. As noted in the LTSS application, subscribers are given one receiver with the installation and after that subscribers have to pay for any replacement receivers. The rep said the new receiver normally costs $200 but is on sale by Shaw for $99. I believe you can also rent them from Shaw. While the DSR 600 is an HD receiver, the rep confirmed that the LTSS service will remain SD.

When I mentioned to the rep that the change was disappointing, the rep noted that my dad did have a rather old receiver. I agreed with the rep entirely and noted that the refurbished Star Choice receiver was sent by Shaw as part of the initial LTSS hook-up.

Is this the beginning of the end of Shaw’s LTSS? Who/what will replace the LTSS?



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Unlike Netflix, the CRTC has a duty to serve Canada


Chairman Blais becoming cross with Corie Wright’s Netflix at the Let’s Talk TV hearing. Source: CPAC.

We haven’t made any decisions, we are not leaning in any particular direction, but some parties in this proceeding have raised some issues and it’s our duty to examine those. And it’s a fact-based issue and in fact some of the facts we are requesting may actually support Netflix’ argument.  
- CRTC Chairman Blais, September 19, 2014 (Source: CRTC)

Dear Minister Glover,

I know how you like to comment on Netflix regulation so hopefully you will find this post of value.

The results of the CRTC vs. Netflix September Blowout at the Let’s Talk TV hearing a few weeks ago has left the Commission holding the regulatory bag. That sits just fine with me.

As the Chairman noted to Netflix’s Corie Wright on the 19th of September, the CRTC has a duty to ask Netflix the questions it asked and also to request the data sets that the Commission requested. If Netflix chooses not to answer or to provide information, that’s up to them.

I don’t feel that the CRTC did anything wrong in terms of dealing with Netflix at the hearing. They poked at Netflix to see what would ooze out.  That’s the CRTC’s duty.


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1 week left to apply to Shaw’s Local Television Satellite Solution

Beam image via Shaw Direct.

Dear Minister Glover,

A quick reminder that Canadians have one week left to apply to Shaw’s Local Television Satellite Solution.

Question is, was it worth it?


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The CRTC decides when the LTSS ends, not Shaw


This is when KvF told us interveners not to fret about diluted OTA coverage in 2011.

Dear Minister Glover,

Shaw announced this week that its Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) program will end on August 31, 2019.

Problem is, Shaw doesn’t have the authority to make such a decision. Only the CRTC does.

While it is true that the CRTC requires Shaw to offer the LTSS program until its next licence renewal of August 31, 2019, nowhere in the decision related to the program does it say that the LTSS will end on that date.

The CRTC may very well decide that Shaw should be required to continue offering the LTSS service to Canadians beyond August 31, 2019.



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Phase 3 of Let’s Talk TV: Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2014-190

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Look how hard the CRTC is workin’ for your TV! Photo credit: CRTC.

Dear Minister Glover,

Long time.

As part of Phase 3 of the CRTC’s “Talk TV” initiative, the Commission is asking Canadians about the value of OTA TV in Canada with respect to access to local TV stations and whether OTA is needed any longer.

The deadline to file a comment is June 25, 2014.

Here is the question they are asking about OTA:

“Q24. Is regulatory intervention necessary to maintain access to local television stations and, if so, how could this best be achieved? Given that the vast majority of Canadians receive television services through a cable or satellite subscription, are there compelling reasons to maintain and support OTA transmission? Would the discontinuation of OTA transmission allow local television stations to devote more resources to programming? If the Commission determines that OTA transmission should no longer be required, under what timeframe should this be implemented?”

Please encourage Canadians to comment here. I suggest OTA TV viewers include specific examples of how OTA TV personally helps them access local TV, and/or, how a lack of OTA TV restrains their access to local TV.



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The true value of Super Bowl broadcasts to Canadians


This is the best spot for my antenna to pick up 29.1 WUTV transmitting from Buffalo.

Dear Minister Glover,

Happy New Year.

The Super Bowl chatter on Twitter of late has prompted this post.

I’m not really an NFL fan though I did wear a Green Bay Packers jacket as a teen that my mom kindly bought for me.

I also don’t particularly enjoy the work of watching TV commercials (regular or Super Bowl).

The reason why I like the Super Bowl and its related live television broadcast (arguably the reason the game exists at all) is because it makes over-the-air television signals visible to Canadians and highlights their value.

The seeking out of live US broadcast signals by Canadians predates the formation of Canada’s own broadcast system. Today, most Canadians watch live American television programming (in addition to Canadian programming) via their cable or satellite subscriptions. However, if a Canadian broadcaster has the rights to air the same US show in Canada, Canadians can’t watch US commercials via their subscriptions thanks to Canadian simultaneous substitution rules. That seems just fine for Canadians most of the time but not when it comes to the Super Bowl broadcast. “It’s a price we pay for having a Canadian broadcast system” is what a CRTC Commissioner might explain.

That a minority of Canadians are able to magically watch American Super Bowl ads over-the-air in HD (legally, for no fee) using an antenna serves to perhaps cause the majority of Canadians who subscribe to cable or satellite to pause and consider their otherwise invisible electromagnetic radio spectrum.

If Canadians can leverage an alternative to locked-down cable, satellite, fixed broadband and/or wireless Internet services for access to ephemeral American Super Bowl television ads once a year, how might they be able to leverage their very own Canadian electromagnetic spectrum for improved access to foreign and domestic television content the rest of the year?


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