Shaw unveils new mobile unit

Covering community events like parades and Muskie sports will be a lot easier for Shaw Cablesystems now thanks to a new mobile unit it unveiled Friday afternoon.
The unveiling of the large van, which will serve as a television production unit on wheels, was held in conjunction with a farewell gathering at the Shaw office on First Street East for community programmer Chuck Croker.
Croker is leaving next week to take a job with Shaw in Winnipeg.
The acquired mobile unit is expected to save crews hours of preparation time when used on location. It also will allow them to adjust audio and add graphics on the spot, cutting down time spent on post-production.
In related news, Shaw previously believed it would offer digital cable television here by this month, as reported back in December, but the company now is saying it’s much more likely that April will be the launch month.
“Our position right now is we’ve rebuilt the system. We’re very anxious to get it going,” said David Inglis, regional system manager for Shaw.
“We did have a few issues regarding the programming lineup, and got held up a bit,” he added. “We wanted to keep some relative consistency between channel lineup in Fort Frances and ones in Manitoba and Alberta.”
While this has been sorted out, Shaw now has to wait 60 days for the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to approve it.
“We’re definitely a ‘go’ and we wish we were there with digital already. I’m going to safely say early April,” remarked Inglis.
Digital cable will provide viewers with a wider selection of channels (purchased in packages like they are with the current cable service) that are similar to those available through a Canadian satellite dish subscriber.
To get digital service, the customer must purchase or rent a digital cable terminal—a box which sits on top of the television and receives the signals.
“We haven’t sorted out the prices for next year yet. but it should be close to what you pay now for your cable,” said Inglis. “But typically, we have a launch special.”
He noted the primary difference between standard cable and digital, from a consumer’s perspective, is more movie channels, specialty channels, and pay-per-view capabilities currently not offered by Shaw.
“There’s also the interactive system guide,” Inglis said, adding it’s a much more advanced version of the scrolling guide currently broadcast on Channel 9.
There also are customizable searches so you can filter for particular programs or types of programs (e.g. sports, comedy, etc.) easily.