Shaw Direct's Local Television Satellite Solution - Free TV

It hasn't been publicized very well, but Shaw Direct has an interesting offer for people looking for a way to receive local TV without having to deal with antennas or living in places where there is very little available over the air.


When there's a big media merger or acquisition in Canada, one of the conditions often imposed by the government regulators is that the companies set aside a chunk of money to be used for the benefit of Canadian artists, rural communities, etc.

Shaw is apparently (with the permission of the CRTC) using the money set aside during their purchase of Canwest Global to provide local Canadian TV stations via satellite to consumers affected by the transition from analog broadcasting to digital.

The best part: it's free... forever. They'll provide you with a dish and a standard definition receiver, and in some cases even install everything for you. You get a package of standard definition local channels based on your geographic area. Naturally they're hoping you'll eventually become a paying Shaw Direct customer, but you're certainly not obliged to.

Details are at http://shawdirect.ca/dtv for anyone who's curious. You can read all about another blogger's experience with it at Free Television with Shaw Canada LTSS.

You'll certainly get a better (HD) picture if you're willing to put up an antenna, but Shaw's service will most likely contain more channels than you'll be able to pull in with an antenna, so it's up to you to decide if the extra channels are worth missing out on HD.

Reports on various forums indicate that it's easy to qualify for the service: call their 888-number, fill out the required paperwork, and wait for the installer or the self-install kit to show up.
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