Skip to main content

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.

MPEG-4 satellite receivers

To continue watching channels that have been upgraded to MPEG-4, you will need an MPEG-4 compatible satellite receiver.

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.

If you don’t have an MPEG-4 compatible satellite receiver, there are plenty of upgrade options available. Please contact us to discuss upgrading your current hardware for MPEG-4 compatibility.

What happens if I don't upgrade?

The MPEG-4 HD network upgrade is designed to be as gradual as possible. The conversion schedule article outlines when each channel will be upgraded.

When an HD channel is upgraded, the SD version may still be available in MPEG-2, so you won't be without your channels until you have upgraded to an MPEG-4 compatible receiver.

Once a channel has been upgraded to MPEG-4, the channel can only be viewed on an MPEG-4 compatible satellite receiver. You will see a message in your Guide indicating that particular channel has been upgraded, and a blank screen if you tune to that channel's MPEG-4 feed from an MPEG-2 receiver.

If you already have an MPEG-4 compatible satellite receiver (compatible models are listed above), you won’t experience any impact or notice any difference when a channel is upgraded from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4.

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.