As of last July, 2017, Shaw Direct upgraded their signals to a higher level of compression (MPEG-2 to MPEG-4). This meant Shaw customers have been gradually no longer able to see some HD channels on their older 500 series receivers. These old 500 series customers needed to upgrade to a 600 series receiver.
In Canada & the northern USA, Shaw clients had been getting their channels from three different satellites. Shaw’s third satellite was launched in 2013 and has a much tighter beam footprint (wasting less signal with better focused beams that service only Canada with strong signals). This means the HD signals from Shaw’s newer 2013 Satellite (ANIK G1) CAN NOT BE RECEIVED in Mexico.
Until recently, people in Mexico (illegally) filching Shaw signals got their Shaw Direct signals from the two older satellites (2004 & 2005 … Anik F2 & F1R). These 2 old satellites unintentionally bled (leaked) signal all the way through Mexico and just into northern Central America. That’s changing now as Shaw upgrades their service to meet Canadian law, gradually moving more HD channels to the new ANIK G1 satellite.
**Even if you have a 600 series receiver, note that as Shaw upgrades channels, Shaw is moving them to their newer satellite that CAN NOT be received in Mexico.
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Old Dish Network Changes:
The changeover from Echostar 7 to Echostar 14 at the 119W satellite position has whacked some US Dish Network clients with a big stick, eliminating access to many channels across much of Mexico. There is nothing people in Mexico can do.**
After moving Echostar 14 satellite into position to replace the old Echostar 7 at 119W, last week Dish Network started tightening up their broadcast coverage, allowing less signal to bleed south into Mexico from their “new” 119W satellite. Reliable sources report that Dish Network will continue to make significant adjustments and changes to their signal for the next 2 weeks or so. Dish Network will continue adjusting and changing the footprints of their 119W its signals transponder by transponder (adjusting signal strengths and coverage areas), which changes signal strengths almost daily this past week.
When they have finished tweaking coverage maps, they’ll also change formats of their Forward Error Correction (FEC from 5/6 to 7/8), which will limit receiver’s future ability to lock on weak signals.
As a result of these changes, reliable sources report that dishes receiving signals from the new Echostar 14 at 119W will see varying performance and varying signal strengths for the next few weeks. June 16 is the projected completion date for changes, so, any changes you make now may not work in 3 weeks.
If you are a Dish Network customer, depending on where you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you may find that you will either continue to get good service from 119W, or you will need to change equipment, or change satellites, or change providers.
Dish Network USA Users in Guadalajara, Jalisco, & Lake Chapala area report that 1.8 m dishes are currently working with much weaker signals in some locations, but that 1.8 m dishes lose some transponders after 11:00 at night due to too weak of signals. Users with smaller dishes in these areas are reporting total loss of signals.
While no one can accurately predict the future all the time, it appears that 2.4m or larger dishes in those areas will likely be able to continue to receive Dish Network’s 119W CONUS beamed signals.
Dish Network customers in Yucatan w/ 1.8 meter dish report full signal strength (35% – 40%) on 119W transponders with valuable channels like the Jewelry Channels, Weight Loss Gimmicks, Fads ‘R Us, et al, while transponders with unimportant channels like ESPN, Discovery, Animal Planet, TVLand, etc have no usable signals even with a well-peaked 1.8 m dish.
Some folks are giving up on 119W and going to 110W or 129W, though it takes a 2.4 m dish in much of Mexico and HD service to receive many of the CONUS beam channels on 129W. See CONUS beamed channels on 129W at http://www.lyngsat.com/packages/dish129.html . Note that it takes a different LNB to get HD programming: either the Dish Pro or Eagle Aspen LNBs work for receiving Dish Network’s HD signals, and you have to have an mpeg4 receiver like the Dish Network VIP series to support HD signals, where the old mepg2 receivers like 311’s & 322’s, 6000’s, & 811’s offer only Standard Definition (SD) signals.
As before, 110W continues to supply consistent strong CONUS beamed signals for lots of SD programming and some HD programming, and some people report that well peaked 1.1m dishes are sufficient to receive decent signal strengths SOB (40% and higher). Sidelight: 62W has some Dish HD programming, but they are phasing out the 62W HD broadcasts.
For purely scientific reasons, we’d love for people from around North America report their locations, dish size, and 119W signal strengths by transponder number as things change over the next few weeks.
Reader feedback about Shaw Direct?
What a great hobby!
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© Steven M. Fry
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