Shaw Direct is laying claim to being the first direct-to-home provider in Canada to use adaptive streaming technology to deliver video-on-demand content directly to subscribers’ set-top boxes.

Video-on-demand has traditionally been the Achilles’ heel for satellite providers, but Shaw Direct, the DBS division of Shaw Communications, first launched its Online Video On Demand last year. The service was provisioned through an online VOD library.

With the latest upgrade, on-demand content is available directly to customers' TVs through Shaw Direct satellite receivers, giving customers access to more than 1,500 standard- and high-definition movies and TV titles.

Shaw Direct customers who own an “Essential” or “Advanced” HD Receiver (HDDSR 600 or HDDSR 605) or an “Advanced” HDPVR Receiver (HDPVR 630) automatically receive a free software update that enables the VOD services to be connected. The technology provides customers in both urban and rural locations with access to the latest titles through their Shaw Direct receivers.

To view the new VOD offerings, customers will need to connect their satellite receivers to a high-speed Internet connection.

"Streaming Video On Demand is the next step in giving our customers access to Shaw Direct's exceptional programming when they want, wherever they want," said Shaw Communications President Peter Bissonnette. "Offering online and set-top video-on-demand is just the beginning of big things for our customers this year – and it's part of our commitment as technical leaders in satellite technology."

In addition to the set-top box VOD streaming services, Shaw Direct has other enhancements on the drawing board, including the rollout of a new HD onscreen guide, external hard drive compatibility and the launch of its new Anik G1 satellite later this year.

With the capacity to carry well over 100 new HD channels, Shaw Direct said the Anik G1 satellite will give its customers more satellite capacity than is available from any other company in Canada.