Dear Minister Moore,
Ever tried channel surfing in a one TV channel town?
It’s doable but not much fun.
You just end up back at the same channel.
Channel surfing hasn’t been the same at my parents’ place in Denbigh, Ontario since Canada’s digital television transition last year.
After close to 40 years of receiving a robust total of five TV channels over-the-air (OTA) in Denbigh, the selection of OTA TV channels available in the area was reduced to just one after August 31, 2011.
While my parents were thankful for the lone analogue Global TV station that remained beaming at them from a distant but visible transmitter tower down the road in Vennachar, they missed the local content and variety provided by the other channels they were able to receive in the past.
Seven months of one TV channel surfing and a whole bunch of VHS and DVD watching later, my parents’ free slate of television stations surged to a staggering 7 (Canadian) channels yesterday morning.
This return to multi-station bliss was care of Shaw Direct and their Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) program.
In short, Shaw told the CRTC back in 2010 that as part of their request to purchase Global TV, they would to provide Canadians who lost OTA TV stations as a result of the digital television transition with a free satellite receiver, a free dish, free installation and a free selection of basic channels.
The LTSS program was originally scheduled to end in November, 2011 but Shaw received an extension for the program by the CRTC until November, 2012 since Shaw had failed to pay out the benefits associated with their approved Global TV purchase.
After being told a number of times in 2011 that he was ineligible for the LTSS program, my Dad was told in Winter 2012 that he was indeed eligible. Go figure.
Shaw first sent the satellite receiver.
While Shaw did courier the receiver free of charge, when my Dad opened the box he discovered an old, scuffed Star Choice receiver (Star Choice was the previous name for Shaw Direct).
It ain’t pretty and it doesn’t have an HDMI output but hey, it’s free. Hopefully it lasts for a few more years. Not sure about the LTSS replacement receiver policy.
Dad advised Shaw that he had the receiver and they then booked an installer 2.5 hours away in Kingston to install the dish.
The installer arrived around 10:30 AM yesterday morning and quickly got to work.
Satellite dishes need line of sight to lock a signal so Dad suggested placing the dish at the top of the property near the road.
The installer was worried about a few trees blocking the signal. Dad brought out his gas chainsaw and cut them down and Bro hauled them away.
There could still be signal problems once the trees leaf-out in the coming months but hopefully not.
Using a small unit that emitted a CF-18ish missile-locking beep, the installer found the best position for the dish and screwed it into the side of a hefty maple tree.
After a few phone calls to Shaw and some other tweaks, my parents had six English stations and one French station.
Part 2 to follow soon…