Shaw Direct is a direct broadcast satellite television distributor in Canada. Known for their direct broadcasting by satellite distribution, it is majority-owned by cable TV operator Shaw Communications Inc. As of 2010, Shaw Direct had over 900,000 subscribers. It broadcasts on Ku band from three communications satellites, Anik F1R and Anik G1 at 107.3°W, and Anik F2 at 111.1°W; these satellites are owned by Telesat Canada and otherwise are used primarily to distribute programming to various Canadian cable TV companies. The company was formerly known as Star Choice until April 15, 2009.
A full list of channels carried by these three satellites is available from satellite-related sites such as Lyngsat. Anik F1 carries most mainstream English-language programming; Anik F2 programming includes French-language and HDTV broadcasts. A third planned satellite, Anik G1, was launched on April 15, 2013, and then later reached orbit on May 29, 2013. This new satellite provides Shaw Direct customers with access to over 210 HD channels.
Shaw Direct began in Lincoln, New Brunswick, but is now based in Calgary, Alberta. Its broadcast centre is in Mississauga, Ontario, and has call centres in Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal.
- August 1996: Awarded broadcasting licence.
- March 1997: Opened first customer care centre.
- March 1997: Activated their first customer, Archie Gray, who purchased a receiver for $999 with 100 digital channels when he purchased $400 worth of programming.
- September 1997: Added PPV to their lineup.
- September 1999: Added 60 new channels to their lineup.
Logo used while under the name Star Choice
- January 2000: Launched HDTV programming with the broadcast of Super Bowl XXXIV, the first High Definition TV broadcast in Canada.
- August 2000: Privatized by Shaw Communications Inc. through its acquisition of Cancom.
- April 2001: Activated both Anik F1 and Anik E2 satellites, becoming the first Canadian provider to broadcast services from two satellites simultaneously.
- March 2002: Moved its head office from Lincoln, New Brunswick to Calgary, Alberta.
- May 2002: Sold its one millionth receiver.
- August 2003: Launched its first fully integrated High Definition receiver, the Motorola DSR500 HD.
- September 2003: WTSN was dropped from lineup because of the channel's demise.
- February 2004: Added 16 additional standard-definition channels to their lineup, which is also including 2 high-definition ones.
- July 2004: Announced the expansion of new channels as a result of the launch of the Anik F2 satellite.
- May 2005: Launched the dual tuner High Definition Digital Video Recorder.
- November 2005: TCM (Turner Classic Movies) is introduced to the Canadian market for the first time.
- September 1, 2006: AMC (American Movie Classics) was debuted.
- October 2006: A&E HD, Discovery HD and SRC HD (Montréal) launch on October 12, 2006. Super Écran HD launches October 30, 2006, bringing the total amount of free HD channels to 15.
- December 2006: Showcase HD and National Geographic Channel HD launch on December 19, 2006 bringing the total amount of free HD channels to 17.
- January 2007: Launched the DSR317 receiver, featuring a faster processor than previous Standard Definition receivers, and picture-in-guide. Super station WGN (found in the Super Stations theme pack) was swapped for the local Chicago feed on January 17, 2007.
- February 2007: Launched the DSR207 receiver, featuring a faster processor than previous Standard Definition receivers, and picture-in-guide.
- March 2007: Star Choice announces the addition of GOL-TV, WFN, WGN HD and HD Net.
- March 2007: Star Choice celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary.
- June 2007: Séries+ HD and Vie HD launch on May 31, 2007. Much Music and TLN move to essentials and PunchMuch is removed. Casino and Gaming Television was added on June 5, 2007 to the essentials package.
- July/August 2007: A new interactive program guide was deployed to all DSR505's and DVR530's. The new interactive program guide introduced new features such as instant on capability (Guide will load within 3 minutes after power failure), support for Open TV and support for 8PSK modulation.
- September 2007: PPV HD, MMore HD, Movie Central 2 HD, Canal Z and ABC West HD were added to the line-up.
- October 2007: Added NHL Centre Ice package to the line-up
- December 2007: Teletoon Retro English was added to the line-up. Viewer's Choice and Canal Indigo PPV was dropped in favour of Shaw PPV.
- February 2008: Speed Channel HD, NASCAR Hot Pass and Wild TV were added to the line-up.
- March 2008: Port Cinema, Port Food, Port Kids, Port Select and Port World are dropped from the lineup because of the demise of the channels.
- May 2008: Sun TV Toronto, City TV Winnipeg, Global Maritimes, and CBC Saskatchewan are dropped from the lineup.
- August 2008: TFO was dropped from the line-up.
- September 2008: TSN2 and TSN2 HD was added to the line-up.
- October 2008: HBO Canada 1, HBO Canada 1 HD, HBO Canada 2, HBO Canada 2 HD and The FRAME HD were added to the line-up. Also, X-Treme Sports is dropped from the lineup because of the demise of the channel.
- December 2008: Star Choice launched the DSR209 receiver. Big Ten Network and Big Ten Network HD was added to the line-up. Also, CMT and YTV move to Essentials package.
- January 2009: Star Choice celebrates the sale of its 2 millionth receiver. Also, The Accessible Channel launches.
- February 2009: Star Choice launched the DSR319 receiver.
- April 15, 2009: Star Choice officially becomes Shaw Direct.
- April 30, 2009: Shaw Direct drops the Buffalo, New York TV stations NBC Buffalo, WIVB-TV and WKBW-TV, and the Detroit Fox station WJBK-TV.
- July 2009: TV Land Canada, Court TV Canada and BBC Kids are dropped from the lineup. However, rival Bell TV continues to use these channels.
- October 2009: The Score HD launched, and DIY Network launched to replace Fine Living Canada.
- November 2009: Nickelodeon Canada launched to replace Discovery Kids Canada.
- March 1, 2010: Sex TV and Drive-In Classics will be removed from the Shaw Direct lineup. They will be replaced by W Movies on channel 634/216 and Sundance on channel 635/217. This was decided by the broadcaster. OASIS HD launches and is included in the HD Extra Bundle. In addition, YOOPA launches, as Yoopa makes the first satellite TV debut solely on Shaw Direct since Big Ten in December 2008, and the first TV channel to debut under the Shaw Direct name but not on rival Bell TV.
- August 2010: Shaw Direct launched a more advanced dual tuner High Definition Digital Video Recorder (HDPVR630), their first receiver to be MPEG4 compatible.
- October 2010: Sportsnet One added to the lineup.
- November 2010: Shaw Direct launched a new advanced High Definition receiver- HDDSR605
- November 4, 2010: Shaw Direct adds NBA League Pass, AUX, Bite and The Pet Network to the lineup.
- January 31, 2011: Global Maritimes is re-added to the lineup, following Shaw's acquisition of Canwest Global's broadcasting arm.
- April 18, 2011: Port Network was dropped from the lineup Because of the channel's demise.
- July 4, 2011: Shaw Direct launched a new compact, essential High Definition receiver- HDDSR600
- September 2011: RDS2, Teletoon Retro French, Mlle and TVA Sports added to the lineup.
- October 6, 2011: A software error knocks out Anik F2, one of the two satellites serving Shaw Direct customers, for approximately one day.
- February 2012: Shaw Direct began implementing simultaneous substitution for the Global HD station (ch. 256) for all of its customers, a practice they had previously only applied to areas where they were legally required.
- March 2012: HD Net dropped in favour of Space HD and ABC Spark launched to replace Dusk.
- October 11, 2012: FX Canada HD and Disney Junior's English service are added to the lineup.
- April 15, 2013: Shaw Direct launched their 3rd satellite, Anik G1. New HD channels will launch later in the Spring of 2013.
- May 30, 2013: Shaw Direct launches new '2nd Home Program' and charges existing customers an additional 50% of their home Shaw Direct bill for using their service at customers 2nd home. This '2nd home program' replaces the 'home away from home program' that customers have enjoyed at no cost for years. (Shawdirect.ca)
- May 29, 2013: 90+ high definition channels are launched including various locals and speciality channels.
- April 1, 2015: Shaw Direct removed Fox Sports Racing.
- August 2015: Bite TV was renamed Makeful.
- September 1, 2015: Disney Channel Canada launched, and Cartoon Network Canada started to replace Teletoon Retro.
- September 18, 2015: Disney XD HD launched, and Family Jr. and Télémagino launched to replace Disney Junior.
- October 9, 2016: Family Chrgd launched to replace Disney XD.
- October 29, 2015: Cartoon Network HD, TV5 HD and ARTV HD launched.
- November 17, 2015: E! HD and CTV News Channel HD were launched, and TCM was moved before the launch of the new Disney XD HD and Disney Junior channels.
- November 24, 2015: English Holiday Favourites, French Holiday Favourites and the Shaw Firelog Channel are launched just in time for the Holidays.
- December 1, 2015: The new Disney XD HD and Disney Junior channels are launched.
- February 29, 2016: The Biography Channel relaunches into Viceland.
- March 1, 2016: Shaw Direct adds the Pick and Pay option and Skinny package as per CRTC Requirements. Also, Movie Central relaunches into The Movie Network and Encore Avenue relaunches into TMN Encore.
- July 2, 2016: Argent and Pet Network are removed from the lineup and Télémagino and BBC Kids take their places.
- July 13, 2016: Added Family Chrgd to the lineup at channel 526/186 in the Fun Stuff bundle.
- August 15, 2016: CHNU-DT (aka Joytv) launched to replace ichannel.
- September 1, 2016: Gusto TV launched to replace M3.
- December 1, 2016: Treehouse TV HD, CMT HD, DTOUR HD, GSN HD, CCTV-Documentary, CCTV-News, CTV Two HD, Prise 2 HD, and Deutsche Welle are added to the lineup.
- January 1, 2017: Shaw Direct announces the addition of CIIT-DT (aka Hope TV), CablePulse24 HD, BNN HD, Disney XD Canada SD, Disney Junior Canada HD, FXX Canada HD, Silver Screen Classics and FYI HD
- March 1, 2017: Spike was added to the lineup.
- July 10, 2017: Shaw Direct launched a new High Definition receiver (HDDSR800) and a new Dual Tuner High Definition Digital Video Recorder (HDPVR830) to replace their previous 600 and 630 models. Both new models include built-in Wi-Fi for accessing on-demand content, as well as the ability to order PPV movies via remote. The HDPVR830 has a 1 TB internal hard drive, allowing for up to 300 hours of HD recordings.
- March 1, 2018: Sundance has been removed from the lineup.
- April 1, 2018: Viceland is removed after Rogers & Vice terminated their relationship.
A Shaw Direct 45x60cm dish, with new triple satellite LNB compatible with Anik F1, Anik F2 and Anik G1
The system requires an elliptical antenna of at least 45x60cm in size with a special LNB pair built as one unit to accommodate the narrow 3.8° spacing between satellites; the receiver uses the Motorola-proprietary Digicipher II system which has so far been virtually free of the problems with pirate decryption that have plagued other providers such as rival Bell TV. The standard 18" DBS antennas used by other providers are not compatible with this system as the signals differ in both frequency and polarization. Shaw Direct is relayed via FSS satellites, Anik F1R, G1 and F2.
Services and pricing
Shaw Direct currently features over 760 channels including all major Canadian and American networks, popular specialty services, PPV, sports packages and over 30 High Definition channels. Key services include:
The monthly packages range from $30 for the basic service, up to $107.99 for specialty and movie channels. Individual premium and specialty channels can also be purchased. The receivers range from $99 for a basic system to $399 for a high-definition personal video recorder.
In addition, Shaw Direct provides specialty services
- 2nd Home: Allows for programming at a secondary location
- Seasonal Break: Allows you to temporarily suspend programming anywhere from 14 days and up to 180 days, with an automatic reconnect date
- Refer-A-Friend: When referring new customers to the service, you are eligible to receive up to a month of free programming
Since 2011, Shaw Direct offered a free satellite dish, receiver, installation and a handful of channels to Canadians who lost their over-the-air (OTA) access to television as a result of Canada's digital television transition. The offer was part of Shaw's little known Local Television Satellite Solution (LTSS) program  approved by the CRTC as part of Shaw's purchase of Canwest Global. The period to apply to the program ended August 31, 2014, three months earlier than the original extended application deadline of November 30, 2014.