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Learn more about the HD network upgrade

We want you to enjoy high definition at its best, so we’re making major upgrades to our network to expand our HD capabilities. When completed, nearly all of your available channels will be offered in HD.

Introduction to the HD network upgrade

Shaw Direct broadcasts the video for TV channels using two different formats, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. MPEG-2 is an older last-generation format and MPEG-4 is the newer, more efficient, alternative.


From April 2017 to January 2020, we will be upgrading all of our channels to MPEG-4. By the end of the upgrade, due to the increased efficiency of MPEG-4, we will be able to offer all available English and French channels in high definition.


In order to view channels that have been upgraded to MPEG-4, you will need an MPEG-4 compatible satellite receiver.

MPEG-4 satellite receivers

All Shaw Direct satellite receivers available since 2011 are MPEG-4 compatible. This includes the following models:

  • Essential HD Receiver (HDDSR 600, HDDSR 800)
  • Advanced HD Receiver (HDDSR 605)
  • Advanced HDPVR (HDPVR 630, HDPVR 830)

For reference, all of the above satellite receivers display the model number physically printed on the left corner of the front panel of the receiver.

To find out if your receiver is MPEG-4 compatible, with both receiver and TV on – press 988 on your remote. Repeat this for each TV and note how many upgrades you’ll require.

If you need an upgrade, there are many options available. Please contact us to discuss upgrading your current hardware.

What happens if I don't upgrade?

Throughout 2017 & 2018 we have gradually converted HD channels from MPEG2 to MPEG4. As of October 2018, all HD channels are now available in MPEG4 only. The SD version of those channels may still be available in MPEG-2, but the 2019 conversion schedule outlines when each channel will be upgraded to MPEG4.

Similar to the HD channels, once an SD channel has been upgraded to MPEG-4, the channel can only be viewed on an MPEG-4 compatible satellite receiver. If a channel has been upgraded, you will either see a message in your Guide or you’ll see a blank screen. If you experience any of these, contact us to learn about upgrade offers.

If you already have an MPEG-4 compatible satellite receiver (compatible models are listed above), you won’t experience any impact on your channels.

Other benefits

When you upgrade to an MPEG-4 compatible satellite receiver, you will also enjoy an enhanced experience, including the following benefits:

  • Up to 14 days of Guide data, including detailed descriptions, episode titles, and an indication of new versus repeat airings.
  • Unsubscribed channels are automatically shown in grey, with the option to hide them completely.
  • Full search capability, including title, actor, description, and more.
  • Enhanced parental control features, including the ability to hide locked program titles.
  • A brand new, easy to use remote control.
  • With a connection to your high-speed Internet service, an MPEG-4 receiver allows access to thousands of titles available on Shaw Direct On Demand. The on-demand library includes TV shows and movies from channels that you subscribe to, as well as movies available to rent at any time.