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Shaw Cable Blocks IEEE1394 (Firewire) on Set-top Cable Boxes (Again)…

with 68 comments

***UPDATE*** We’ve contact Novus to determine if they enable the 0x02 flag. Here’s their response:

We’ve tested your instructions on most of our channel line ups and they all seemed to have 0X00 for their CCI category. So please call our Call Center to speak with a representative for assistance in creating a Novus account to set you up with our services, thank you.

Chris Somera
Customer Care / Technical Support Specialist

We’ll be switching to Novus’ fiber optic offering today.

*****

A year and a half ago, Canada’s Shaw Cable began encrypting channels with the “0x02″ flag. This flag has the effect of making the IEEE1394 (firewire) output useless to customers who use third party PVRs (such as the excellent MythTV, for example). After complaints to the CRTC and Industry Canada about this practice, the encryption flag was dropped on most channels and the firewire connection again functioned.

Until last night, that is. Once again, Shaw Cable has implemented “0x02″ encryption. No reason was given for the change, and an inquiry requesting an explanation received the response contained in the letter to below.

Unlike the US, Canada does not yet mandate that firewire ports must remain functional.

Herewith, a copy of our letter to the Minister of Industry (with copies to the Minister of Culture, the CRTC, and Shaw):

To: The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry

Please see below for prior correspondence – this issue surrounds Shaw Cable’s implementation of “0x02″ encryption on cable television signals, which renders IEEE1394 (aka “firewire”) ports useless on set-top cable boxes owned by Shaw’s customers. As of yesterday, this issue has once again appeared: Shaw is encrypting channels customers have paid for (including the CBC) from at least 3 – 60 (except (oddly) channels 36, 46 and 60). There are, no doubt more channels encrypted; I simply stopped checking at channel 60.

Here’s why this is an issue for Industry Canada (as previously outlined below): in order to use a PVR other than Shaw’s to record programs (and, specifically, HD programs), the IEEE1394 output is required. When Shaw remotely disables this function via 0x02 encryption, only Shaw’s proprietary PVRs can be used. This not only eliminates any competition and stifles innovation in the PVR market, in the process it creates a monopoly for Shaw’s PVR products.

There’s another issue here: disabling the functionality of something a customer owns is akin to a Shaw representative physically taking a hammer to the IEEE1394 output plug – it has an identical effect, in that in both instances, something a customer owns and has paid good money for has been functionally impaired by Shaw.

Lastly, it should not be incumbent upon Shaw to determine the particular connection a customer uses to view channels a customer has paid to enjoy – Shaw should be indifferent as to whether a customer chooses to use a coaxial cable, component cables, HDMI or IEEE1394. In the US, blocking the IEEE1394 output is not permitted – here’s the salient portion of the text of the FCC’s so-called “Plug and Play” Order of September 2003:

“(4) Cable operators shall:

(i) Effective April 1, 2004, upon request of a customer, replace any leased high definition set-top box, which does not include a functional IEEE 1394 interface, with one that includes a functional IEEE 1394 interface or upgrade the customer’s set-top box by download or other means to ensure that the IEEE 1394 interface is functional.”

The US legislators have keenly understood the need to keep the competitive landscape open for third party PVRs and other technological innovations.

As much as I’m philosophically opposed to regulatory interference in trade, I’m more strongly opposed to monopolistic trade practices, and that is what we have here.

I alerted Shaw to this issue and inquired as to why they have again implemented 0x02 encryption. Their response was:

“As per our previous emails, we do not provide any support for the use of the Firewire port on any of our digital tuners.

Jason (4211) / Shaw Technical Service Representative /Shaw Cablesystems G.P.

This delightfully sidesteps the issue entirely: it is not “support” for firewire that’s necessary. Rather what the issue is about is not actively impairing firewire signals. There’s no “support” necessary – by default, the set-top boxes allow the signal to pass unimpeded through the firewire output. It is a feature customers (like me) specifically bought these units for.

Many thanks in advance for your help, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

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Written by westcoastsuccess

August 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Politix, Technology

68 Responses

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  1. Not only this, but we should be able to use 3rd party set top boxes, and be able to freely subscribe to any broadcast delivery service.

    T. Geezy

    August 9, 2009 at 5:55 pm

  2. You should leave the technicians name out of this. You will likely give him quite a bit of negative attention within the company.

    James

    August 9, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    • He deserves it. Whatever flak he gets in the company is for being willing to tow the company line.

      Dan

      August 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm

      • He deserves… getting in shit with his boss… for doing what his boss says? HUH?

        You figure instead that he should have what, impotently conspired with “westcoastsuccess” to bring Shaw to its knees?

        You figure that somehow this tech menial has any control whatsoever – or for that matter any information?

        So if someone gets a paycheque from a company they clearly condone (and know about) all of the actions of that company – otherwise they’d quit, right? Right. In an economy with a rising unemployment rate, someone would quit a decent job for something less than war crimes.

        Whipping Boy

        August 9, 2009 at 7:37 pm

      • Whipping Boy: Either the tech is only following orders, in which case there is no way that his actions can be taken against him, or he’s not following orders in which case he deserves the attention. Either way, you’re off base.

        nobody important

        August 10, 2009 at 2:31 am

      • BTW, it’s “toe the company line”. Look it up if you want to know why.

        Nick

        August 10, 2009 at 8:47 am

    • If you work for a comapny and you blindly carry out the bosses orders then it is painfully obvious that you aggree with said bosses stance so therefore should accetp the same hostile responses , I know someone is going to turn around and say jobs are scarce these days but sorry that dont wash at all

      Pete N

      August 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm

      • Your making a poor assumption that the tech has any clue about this at all. They were given an answer and what they should be saying and that is what he did. It isn’t his fault. It’s Shaw’s. If he didn’t do what his boss said, he’d be out of work. As long as what he did isn’t illegal he is simply another grunt doing as he is told.

        iguy

        August 22, 2009 at 7:59 pm

  3. No you most certainly should NOT leave out identifying information for your discussion with the Shaw representative, how else are they supposed to corroborate your story if you don’t provide accurate and correct information?
    If the Shaw representative was following Shaw policy then he has nothing to fear, if he was not following policy then clearly he should be disciplined.

    I don’t understand why you people say “Oh you shouldn’t publish the customer service rep’s name”. This is a cut and dry case, if he was doing his job he has nothing to fear, if he wasn’t he shouldn’t be working there.

    This is outrageous of Shaw. I don’t have cable, I download my TV (not the legal way), but if I did I would certainly be canceling my Shaw service over this.

    click170

    August 9, 2009 at 6:58 pm

  4. The Shaw representative’s name was included for precisely the reasons outlined in click170’s post above.

    We take him to be speaking on behalf of Shaw, and, as click170 mentions, if that’s the case, he should have nothing to fear personally.

    What’s really quite astonishing is how alien good customer service is to Shaw – we suspect it’s a hangover from their monopoly days.

    westcoastsuccess

    August 9, 2009 at 7:05 pm

  5. What the author may not understand is that it is not up to Shaw to publish content in an open, unencrypted form, rather the content owners *demand* this media to be encrypted. Without the content owners consent, there is no license, and there is no content. (No disrespect) – but it’s more complicated than a faceless organization blocking the end consumer media. Shaw really would like us to all continue to watch the media in the way we choose.

    For an example of mindnumbingly annoying policies, try visiting fox, abc, nbc, cnbc, netflix, hulu, etc, online. These aren’t our own ISPs mandating this.

    Honestly, we can be lucky we even get to watch the US content online in the first place.

    JP Senior

    August 9, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    • I think perhaps what _you_ don’t understand is that we are discussing here cable tv, _not_ online content. Specifically, cable tv content legally purchased and subsequently blocked by the seller on a particular output port of a set-top box.

      It’s not an ISP issue.

      westcoastsuccess

      August 9, 2009 at 7:56 pm

      • The ISP example was another easy to digest parallel to the problem – the root issue here is with the content owners and NOT the carriers.

        Regards,
        JP

        JP Senior

        August 9, 2009 at 8:02 pm

      • Non sequitor. In the US the FCC has mandated that all set top boxes have firewire ports and this has not led the copyright holders to drop all their shows. Similarly there is no “broadcast flag” on DTV transmissions, and despite the MAFIAA lawyer threatening that they would drop all their transmissions over broadcast DTV if there was no flag, this has not happened. Remember all this content is legal–look at the Betamax case in the US for example.

        The MAFIAA wants veto power on innovation. Open competition helps users, and MAFIAA and other copyright holders have shown that it is certainly not a impediment to doing business, even as an entrenched interest.

        shawn

        August 10, 2009 at 3:43 am

  6. So you called tech support for an issue that was a matter of corporate policy? And expected the agent could/would do anything about it?

    “As per our previous emails, we do not provide any support for the use of the Firewire port on any of our digital tuners.
    Jason (4211) / Shaw Technical Service Representative /Shaw Cablesystems G.P.“

    When technical support agents say “we do not provide support” they mean “we, the technical support people, aren’t going to help you with this.” Just because you bought or rented a PVR from them doesn’t mean they’re willing to take on the burden of getting your anti-virus laden, firewall ridden 1998 Dell to receive data over firewire.

    Tech support are the wrong guys to be bothering with this stuff. Sure, they can probably email or otherwise notify a higher-up, but depending on the caller’s demeanour, they might not bother.

    In short, you were calling the wrong person. He can offer technical support – but NOT for the firewire interface on Shaw’s boxes nor anyone elses. If you want to discuss corporate policy, call the front office.

    Whipping Boy

    August 9, 2009 at 7:27 pm

  7. Whipping Boy, I think you miss the point on a couple of fronts:

    – no “support” was requested for getting “…anti-virus laden [sic], firewall ridden 1998 Dell to receive data over firewire”. There _is_ no issue other than Shaw blocking the IEEE1394 port. As an aside, lol re: “1998 Dell” – it’s actually a custom built AMD 6400+ running linux, which has for over three years worked just fine as a PVR via the firewire connection (among other things), except when Shaw encrypts their signal.

    – I’m not sure what kind of work you do, but in non-government/non-monopoly enterprises, that attitude (“…depending on the caller’s demeanour, they might not bother.”) doesn’t cut it, and is indicative of a dysfunctional corporate culture. Employees, of all sorts, exist because customers exist. That in and of itself should motivate employees to lose the attitude and be “customer-centric”, particularly in this economy. Good customer service should not be, as you describe above, at a particular employee’s whim. Were I an executive at Shaw, I would certainly like to hear a customer’s concerns before they abandon the company, when at least there’s a chance to redeem the revenue stream the customer represents.

    In any case, if a “front office” issue results in technical problems, the techs should expect to hear about it, and should be expected to escalate customer (and their) concerns.

    westcoastsuccess

    August 9, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    • Polite and reasonable people get better support than jerks. Plain, simple, unavoidable truth. In fact, mistreatment of employees by the customers is very expensive, causing high turnover rates, medical leaves, and other expenses.

      Whipping Boy

      August 9, 2009 at 11:09 pm

  8. JP Senior: that’s not a correct analogy (ISP): in order for that to be similar, the ISP would have to intentionally prevent using a particular plug to receive their services. Additionally, the analogy breaks down in that it is _possible_ to download content which you have not paid for, whereas in this case, the sole purpose is to view content which is paid for (in advance, as a matter of fact – that’s how Shaw’s billing cycle works) – the firewire output always did block channels to which one hasn’t subscribed (or, to put it properly, the tuner in the cable box doesn’t tune in those station not subscribed to).

    What if you bought an ipod and, after 3 years, the company effected a change to it remotely whereby you could no longer use the headphone jack? But you _could_ keep using it, if only you purchased their special headphones, of far worse quality and functionality, at a very substantial price? And if you don’t, your ipod is useless. Still think it’s like an ISP censoring content on behalf of copyright holders?

    If it wasn’t for sports, I think at this point I’d abandon cable entirely and simply find what I want online.

    westcoastsuccess

    August 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    • “If it wasn’t for sports, I think at this point I’d abandon cable entirely and simply find what I want online.”

      Already done. In fact you can even find your sports online. I just more wisely choose to not bother and get highlights from TSN.ca.

      I found that my valuable time was not worth wasting on paying for Shaw’s terrible cable plan. You might find you have more free time once you break the chain. That is the only way Shaw will eventually wake up.

      Frigginwillie

      August 10, 2009 at 10:04 am

  9. Another practice by shaw: The set-top PVR we own has been disabled by shaw remotely in such a way that it cannot be used for ANYTHING, due to non-payment of the bill. The PVR is not owned or leased by Shaw. The equipment remains the property of my roommate, whose name is on the bill. Due to this disabling, we are unable to watch any programs previously recorded or use any features of the PVR. It is completely disabled. (It has Firewire also, but I’ve never been able to get it to work.)

    Why should Shaw be able to disable any functionality of any equipment they do not own? Subscriptions and service should be terminated upon non-payment or request of the customer, but equipment needs to remain the property of the person who owns it.

    Gallomimia

    August 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    • Gallomimia, you can re-enable disabled Motorola STBs. Once done you need to disable the updates and “call home” function of the STB. Each model is different (clip capacitor leg, modified firmware, etc.)

      I have 3 such boxes in my house I bought on eBay.

      Anonymous

      August 10, 2009 at 6:49 am

  10. So far, in Calgary, as of Sunday night my mythtv recording via firewire is still working.

    xciton

    August 9, 2009 at 8:50 pm

  11. JP Senior wrote:

    > What the author may not understand is that it is not
    > up to Shaw to publish content in an open,
    > unencrypted form, rather the content owners
    > *demand* this media to be encrypted.

    Then why are the unencrypted analog outputs still enabled? Image the outrage when Ma & Pa can’t watch ANYTHING on their analog only TV set?

    Slippery slope and Shaw & the CRTC will no doubt hear about it. Removing functionality from a consumer owned set isn’t going to win Shaw any bonus points with the CRTC.

    xciton

    August 9, 2009 at 9:02 pm

  12. Dang. Didn’t notice they’d done this until reading the referring article in slashdot. Just checked and can confirm my MythTV setup can no longer record from the firewire connected DCT-6200. Being able to use MythTV reliably with Shaw was the ONLY reason I stayed with Shaw. I am one seriously irate Shaw Vancouver customer.

    Jim R

    August 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

  13. I started with Shaw cable service a month ago in Vancouver and have been using my DCT-6200 with MythTV. At first, the HD channels would work fine with MythTV, but very few of the non-HD digital channels did — probably only the ones you mentioned above. I checked some of the other ones and they did have the 0x02 CCwhatever flag set (I checked in the DCT-6200 menus). I called to complain, and they told me that the FireWire isn’t supported, but when I specifically mentioned the CCwhatever flag, they said “Oh, you must be on the digital only network.” They then switched me over to another network (I think they called it the analog/digital network) and reset my HD box; now all of my SD channels come in analog, and MythTV works OK with them. The HD channels are still digital, and still fine.

    Anyway, it affected me as long as a month ago, so it wasn’t just the other day that it happened. If you make any progress on getting the digital SD channels un-restricted, that would be great — the analog picture is fine but the digital was better.

    Dickolas Wang

    August 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    • That’s some great info – much appreciated! We’ll look into this.

      westcoastsuccess

      August 9, 2009 at 11:34 pm

      • Update: I just checked and it appears I’ve been switched back to the digital-only network, as my SD channels are once again coming in digitally and with the 0x02 CCI flag set. This could have happened any time in the last couple of days, as I didn’t watch any TV yesterday. I’m going to try calling them again tomorrow to see if anything has changed, and if I can switch back to getting analog SD channels.

        The little research I did online before I got started with Shaw indicated that this sometimes happens; Shaw has been known to toggle the CCI flag on and off occasionally, and usually temporarily. Maybe this is their way of doing it to me. Very annoying!

        Dickolas Wang

        August 9, 2009 at 11:54 pm

  14. I’m with Whipping Boy on name disclosure. You can state that “communication has been received” without identifying the exact individual. That data can always be provided to government and regulator without identificaton and would still be valid – the company surely will be able to check its own mail stream and ticketing system.

    The anwer you have is, until you hear otherwise, the “sanctioned” company answer – the tech has no option but to give you the official party line. Now it’s up to the company to correct, with or without the help of regulators.

    Something to consider: unless the firewire port has been specifically excluded in your contract as delivery route you are not getting the service you pay for – so it’s time to wonder why you should pay the bill as there appears to be a breach in contract..

    IANAL, but money speaks loudest..

    ghost

    August 9, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    • Like mentioned above, if the tech was just giving the “sanctioned” company answer, then he/she will not be “getting in shit with the boss”. It should also be noted that the identification given is just the tech’s first name, or quite possibly a working alias that is completely different from his real first name.

      If his full name was given, which made him identifiable by the general public, I might disagree with disclosing it right along with you. I certainly would not want an angry Shaw customer that might recognize the name to harass the poor tech. After all, he/she is most likely just some working class citizen working a 9-5 to pay their bills. But since there is no way to identify the tech from a single name and internal company number, and because you didn’t give any reasons for your stance, I really don’t understand why Whipping Boy and yourself have a problem with this.

      Milo

      August 10, 2009 at 1:36 am

  15. Please stop using the term “encryption”; This is just a simple flag.

    Martin

    August 9, 2009 at 11:01 pm

  16. Okay, I don’t really see the problem with having the support agent’s name in there, but being belligerent to the tech support people really isn’t going to help you there.

    I’m a contracted support agent for a major US ISP/Cable provider, and we all have to follow a set of support guidelines that the company lays out. If you expect the tech support group to be able to “escalate issues causing customer concern,” you’re quite honestly living in a fantasy world. Tech support has no say whatsoever in billing or customer service decisions that a company makes. Simply, they make the policies, and we have to deal with whatever rolls down hill from it; be the issue technical (such as this) or not.

    Having said that, I completely agree with you that this is a ridiculous issue. However, if you want to do something about it, it’s going to have to be taken care of from the business office side of things, not from the technical people.

    Alaphic

    August 10, 2009 at 12:16 am

  17. This is why I cancelled my shaw cable tv. If I can’t receive basic HD channels unencrypted through my TV’s QAM tuner, and if I need to use a box to receive digital channels, plus have to pay for all basic cable channels I don’t want, well screw it. I can buy things on DVD and blu-ray with the money I save and stream shows online if I really need to watch them. Which I usually don’t anyways. Good timing though with this Shaw, now with the copyright consultations charade going on right now involving the industry minister.

    Former Shaw Customer

    August 10, 2009 at 12:18 am

  18. There is always satellite. Oh wait, Dish Network only lets you use their external devices too.

    Eric Kimminau

    August 10, 2009 at 6:10 am

    • And Star Choice here in Canada is now 100% owned by Shaw.
      And to top it off my m&d have it and have started complaining to me about intermittent loss of service the last two weeks. (i look after their ‘digital’ needs)
      Coincidence maybe but I’m a little more suspicious than that where Shaw is concerned.

      Face it: our choices are really limited here in canada.

      Frigginwillie

      August 10, 2009 at 10:13 am

    • Not true. You can use cardsharing and DVB-S modules to tune your legitimate Dishnetwork subscription via say.. MythTV.

      Karm

      August 10, 2009 at 10:35 am

  19. Gallomimia, you can re-enable disabled Motorola STBs. Once done you need to disable the updates and “call home” function of the STB. Each model is different (clip capacitor leg, modified firmware, etc.)

    I have 3 such boxes in my house I bought on eBay.

    Terry

    August 10, 2009 at 6:50 am

  20. For those of you using Myth setups…why would you not try using an ATSC-based tuner off the HD box to record in High-Def via the coaxial port instead of firewire?

    Would the coaxial output of the box not be carrying unencrypted HD?

    LS

    August 10, 2009 at 8:16 am

    • I believe only component and DVI/HDMI outputs of a Shaw box will deliver HD. So something other than an ATSC tuner would be needed. More likely a Hauppauge HD-PVR for recording off of component, or the also not inexpensive HD-Fury for recording off of HDMI (and DVI?).

      FWIW, I already use ATSC tuners for OTA recording of CBC, CTV, and Global. Usually much better quality than Shaw’s compressed HD.

      Jim R

      August 10, 2009 at 12:16 pm

  21. I believe only component and DVI/HDMI outputs of a Shaw box will deliver HD. So something other than an ATSC tuner would be needed. More likely a Hauppauge HD-PVR for recording off of component, or the also not inexpensive HD-Fury for recording off of HDMI (and DVI?).

    Having said that, I am wondering if there is a relatively inexpensive option for recording off of the DCT-6200’s DVI output. If the DVI output does not use HDCP this might be possible. Unfortunately, an IR blaster would likely be needed for channel changing.

    FWIW, I already use ATSC tuners for OTA recording of CBC, CTV, and Global. Usually much better quality than Shaw’s compressed HD.

    Jim R

    August 10, 2009 at 12:25 pm

  22. [...] Shaw has once again blocked Firewire on cable boxes (therefore rendering outside PVRs obsolete). You can read the full story here. [...]

  23. TV tuner card?

    XJRacerik

    August 10, 2009 at 4:36 pm

  24. Shouldn’t MythTV be able to work around a simple problem like this? Surely there’s a patch in the works …

    Hugh Caley

    August 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm

  25. Um, thinking about it, maybe not. NVM.

    Hugh Caley

    August 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm

  26. anyone ever heard of copyright infringement? there’s a reason you can only record on your settop box and not output to your pc and put on the net to share with your friends, you think CBC or movie central would like that much that they buy the rights to broadcast content only to have cable or sat subscribers share it for free?

    joe

    August 10, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    • Wow, just wow.

      You sure are drawing a lot of erroneous conclusions as to what I will be doing the firewire.

      Just because you ‘could’ do something illegal doesn’t mean society should make that the whole thing illegal. You’ve been drinking too much cool-aid from the CRIA, RIAA, and MPAA.

      Many things in life can be abused (think: cars, knives, VCRs, CD writing, photocopiers). How much restriction to the use of those are you willing to put up with?

      Fair use.

      Xciton

      August 11, 2009 at 8:09 am

      • I think you misunderstand me. I agree wholeheartedly with what you’re saying. Copyrights/patents/etc. are all simply a legal fiction to artificially create a revenue stream where otherwise one wouldn’t exist. There’s nothing “natural” about them. I was just following the logic you proposed in saying the content providers are trying to protect their content.

        westcoastsuccess

        August 11, 2009 at 10:26 am

  27. I agree with giving up the techs name.. If you are just regurgitating the “company script” then you have nothing to worry about… now if you are not giving the “company scripted” answer then you should worry because you have obviously done something wrong. I have worked in technical support for 10 years… The choice of who gets good support and who doesn’t is not up to the tech its up to the company and everyone should always receive equal support. However the squeaky wheel gets the oil…Never do anything or say anything that could come back to bite you in the butt.

    Mark

    August 11, 2009 at 9:23 am

  28. Asking a Technical Service Representative a question about such a niche issue is laughable. Another example would be: “Why doesn’t the RJ45 port work for internet on my digital phone modem as well as my regular modem? If I have two modems shouldn’t it work out of both?” A valid question, but you’re asking the wrong department.

    Seeing you get upset about his answer is even more entertaining.

    Someone else said it best – his answer reflected his stance on the question you asked, not Shaw’s stance on the specific issue. Support technicians aren’t trained to deal with “Why is this feature that Shaw doesn’t advertise not working?” It’s similar to calling in and asking him “Why doesn’t my PVR toast my bread?”

    His answer loosely translated to “We don’t answer questions for the firewire feature on any of our set top boxes” although I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now.

    If you have an issue with a policy that Shaw has put in place, call the legal department or public relations – technical support is not going to help you and it’s almost entirely unlikely to be escalated by that group unless a large portion of the public are complaining about the same thing to them.

    I understand it’s a feature you were whole-heartedly interested in, however don’t let your emotions get in the way of rational thinking. Your article was fine up until you made it personal for the technician too. Posting his information was meant to make it targeted towards him. “As per our previous emails” obviously shows that more than just that one technician had told you this in the past and yet you neglected to mention them as well, so there must be a reason that you wanted to make it personal for this guy in particular.

    Relax, talk to the right department and you will get your answers. Getting upset and slandering a technical support rep that generally spends his day answering menial questions is pretty pointless.

    CJ

    August 11, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    • “As per our previous emails” refers to the emails which were exchanged the prior time this occurred (perhaps a year and a half ago), which lasted a week until Shaw dropped the 0x02 flag.

      I don’t have anything personally against the tech and I assume he’s doing his job in the way he’s been instructed to do it. I also certainly don’t see how on earth I’ve “slandered [sic - assume you mean libelled]” the tech!

      Also, I am not “upset” at his answer; his answer simply evades the question, which related specifically to the implementation of the 0x02 flag.

      If I’m following your logic, it isn’t meaningful to advise the tech department of such an issue because it will not be escalated unless “a large portion of the public are complaining about the same thing”, yet if every member of that “large portion of the public” followed your guidance not a single complaint would be received…

      westcoastsuccess

      August 11, 2009 at 9:46 pm

  29. PS: You even bolded his information, it’s obvious that it’s more of an attack than information to aid your case.

    CJ

    August 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    • The tech bolded his info, which was copied and pasted into the email.

      westcoastsuccess

      August 11, 2009 at 9:47 pm

  30. @westcoastsuccess: “Copyrights/patents/etc. are all simply a legal fiction to artificially create a revenue stream where otherwise one wouldn’t exist. There’s nothing “natural” about them.”

    So, in your ideal world, art and artists exist purely on a voluntary basis with no chance of compensation for creation? Wow. That sounds like such a viable system for maintaining and promoting cultural works.

    Except, wait, no. The opposite of that. Seriously, do you honestly believe all content should be open-source and free to all? Sorry, but the world doesn’t work that way. We have this thing called “currency”, which, should you possess it, allows you the ability to exchange it for goods and services. And how do you obtain said “currency”? By creating/providing a good and/or service.

    There’s nothing unnatural about compensation.

    JCM

    August 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    • I didn’t say copyrights etc. were a _bad_ legal fiction, I just said they are a legal fiction which serve a particular group’s interests (in the same way a “corporation” creates a fictional entity for the purposes of avoiding liability).

      If the RIAA/MPAA represented publishers, both photocopiers and libraries (which, wouldn’t you agree, “maintain and promote cultural works”?) would be illegal…

      westcoastsuccess

      August 11, 2009 at 9:34 pm

  31. Just got off the line from Customer Service in Nanaimo – they say it was a firmware update and the reason is “there is no use for the port” and “it is unsupported”.

    Poo.

    2507601999

    August 12, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    • They implied from the firmware update that it was from the manufacturer.

      2507601999

      August 12, 2009 at 4:21 pm

      • Their response is kinda fuzzy. It doesn’t explain what has actually happened.

        It’s a flag that has changed, not the capability of a feature due to new firmware our your STB. They have reconfigured their datastream.

        Obviously, I would keep prodding them.

        At some point, this will probably need to go back to the CRTC as they have removed functionality of an item you purchased and own (advertised feature or not). As much as I dislike the CRTC (and gov’t involvement in general), maybe they can work to the consumer’s benefit this time.

        To what level is Shaw allowed to re-purpose your STB? I don’t have the answer.

        xciton

        August 12, 2009 at 9:36 pm

  32. This is rather interesting. I can see where the point of view is coming from (me me me). That’s rather normal of a customer with any company, and I can see the arguement of disabling features of equipment you own. Fair enough. However, the feature of firewire serves one purpose. To transfer information decrpyted from shaw based on the channels your subscribed to. Don’t you as a entity sending information to someone, feel your datastream you’re sending can stop where you want it to, not where everyone else does? There’s a few, a VERY select few who may use this for a legitimate purpose, but be realistic people, your numbers are very small. This is the same as people who complain about torrent throttling in the USA. The only people who notice it are people using it for illegal reasons, I promise. Everyone likes to believe they’re doing nothing wrong as nothing was physically removed when they infringe on copyrights, and argue as if they don’t.

    Someone else mentioend not harassing technical support. I agree, usually they’re pretty nice, and the level of support you receive WILL vary if you’re nice or not. These are human beings, if you call in and you’re rude and abusive, you will get the support the company offers, and nothing else(They only get paid to do so much). Being polite will probably get you questions answered that they do not support and don’t have to answer. That’ll be more informative for you and be more pleasent over all.

    It does suck that the majority of people who like to distrubte content they don’t have the rights too wreck it for the rest of us, I know I suffer too. But get mad next time your neighbor tells you about all the torrenting, tv, game downloads etc he’s done. Report it, if people didn’t do this there wouldn’t be any interest in anti-piracy methods.

    Last but not least, you do have a right if you don’t like a way a company is handling it’s equipment and so fourth to voice your complain. Do it in a way that matters, contact their head office and let them know you’re not happy with their policies. When technical support tells you “We don’t support this” It means /technical support/ does not support you if it works, was working, stopped working, started working again recently, or was turned off in the name of evil. The head office supports the rest, talk to them, it’s not a technical problem.

    Mike

    August 13, 2009 at 12:22 am

    • > There’s a few, a VERY select few who may use this
      > for a legitimate purpose, but be realistic people,
      > your numbers are very small. This is the same as
      > people who complain about torrent throttling in the
      > USA. The only people who notice it are people using
      > it for illegal reasons, I promise.

      So you’ve labeled me a criminal now. Good going, you don’t even know me.

      Ever heard of Mythtv ? Look it up, while your at it, look at a few other PVR replacements that can utilize firewire connections.

      As I said before, just because you “could” do something illegal with a tool, doesn’t mean the tool should be removed from usage.

      Xciton

      August 13, 2009 at 6:46 am

      • Indeed. I have MythTV and I have *never* made any of my recordings public. I use MythTV because it is a far superior PVR than what is offered by the service providers.

        If Shaw does not reverse this move I will eventually get a Hauppauge HD-PVR. However, at that point I will no longer be tied to Shaw as the HD-PVR works with anything with component outputs; and since you can often get a real sweet deal to switch providers, the rest is obvious.

        Jim R

        August 13, 2009 at 8:09 pm

      • I think he said a “VERY select few who may use this for legitimate purposes.” He didn’t call you a criminal. Can’t you use MythTV via HDMI, Component, S-Vid, or RCA to connect to the STB?

        Chris

        August 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm

      • > He didn’t call you a criminal.

        Re-read the passage Chris, you can’t just use one sentence and ignore the next two or three in the same paragraph.

        > Can’t you use MythTV via HDMI, Component, S-Vid, or RCA to
        > connect to the STB?

        To my knowledge, there are no HDMI capture cards on the market.
        Yes, you can capture with Component, S-Video, or Composite; But you’re doing that in the analog domain … Quality will be a issue.

        Component capture card (Hauppage HD-PVR) would be the only way to get HD, but as above, it’s in analog.

        In the end, if Firewire is removed and it doesn’t get turned back on, I will leave Shaw. My money will go elsewhere, to another corporation, and perhaps the other services Shaw currently provides me will be looked at as well.

        xciton

        August 20, 2009 at 7:05 pm

  33. Funny, I read all of these comments and saw most were directed at the whole customer service rep thingy, and not what Shaw is (was?) doing. It’s 2010 as i write this. When a rep receives training they are taught something very important – Never take anything personal, and always escalate when you cannot assist the customer yourself – If they don’t then they are risking their jobs. When i take a call and have to escalate i always check to see what happened by way of resolving the custos prob. If the tech i escalated to is some d—head who could care less i take the next obvious step to get the custo the help they require, and do all i can to avoid escalating to that same d—head tech again. I am human and i get as irritated at a cranky custo as anyone else but i always do my job because it is MY job. This i believe is what way too many “workers” out there have forgotten. Keep up the good fight west coast!

    louis

    May 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    • Exactly. People sure get sidetracked…similar to enjoying gossip.
      The point is, Shaw was/is blocking customers from using the firewire port. I know where I stand on that. I don’t care that the employee was identified by his first name and some number in the process. But people have the right to get off topic and get high and mighty. Best to ignore it imho.

      barry

      December 26, 2010 at 11:47 am

  34. Does anyone know if Shaw is still blocking the firewire port? I was thinking about building a mythtv box…although I suppose I could get around this by using the Hauppauge HD-PVR. Also, anyone from Calgary have any experience with mythtv?

    Alicel

    January 30, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    • Shaw Calgary firewire is still working, except for 3-4 channels.

      Anonymous

      January 31, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    • Not sure (but presume) Shaw is still blocking. I’m with Bell IPTV (fibre optic TV) and the Bell box doesn’t even have a FireWire port.

      Instead, I’m using the HD-PVR you mentioned, and if I’d known about this sooner I’d have been using it since day one, because you needn’t worry about blocked channels.

      If you decide to go the HD-PVR route, let us know if you encounter any problems with the IR Blaster – I never did get it working on HD-PVR, and ended up buying a separate USB IR Blaster (USB-UIRT).

      Good luck!

      westcoastsuccess

      February 2, 2011 at 1:05 am

    • Shaw Vancouver is fine with standard HD channels and most HD Plus (or whatever it’s called) with notable exception of AMC.

      Using MythTV 0.24 and DCT-6200

      Jim R

      April 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm

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