Under the plan, Bell will replace an estimated 240, 000 High Definition satellite television receivers in 193, 000 homes across the company.
The satellite receiver exchange program began October 23rd and, due to the large number of receivers to be exchanged, is not expected to be completed until the end of July 2012.
Customers will be notified of the exchange by mail. An information station (Channel 1935) has also been created to provide customers with additional details.
The satellite receivers being replaced are the Bell 6100 and Bell 9200 receivers. Standard definition receivers such as the Model 3100 and 4100 will not be replaced.
Customers with the 6100 receiver will receive a model 6131 receiver. Customers with a 9200 will receive either a model 9241 or 9242 receivers. Once the 9242 stock is exhausted, a 9241 + 5900 will be shipped to customers with a 9200 two room solution. Since the number of 9242 receivers is limited, Digital Home urges readers with a 9200 receiver contact Bell immediately to request the superior 9242 receiver rather than the more limited 9241 receiver.
Once the swap is complete, Bell will switch the encoding of all of its high definition channels programming to MPEG-4, which offers greater video compression than MPEG-2.
MPEG-4 compression will enable Bell to free up satellite capacity which will be used to comply with a recent CRTC ruling in May requiring Bell to add 43 local standard definition channels to its line-up by August 31, 2012. The same ruling is requiring Shaw Direct, Canada’s second largest DTH broadcaster to add an additional 80 standard definition channels to its line-up by January 1, 2013.