Shaw's yule log channel back on air

Shaw is adding its popular holiday television channel showing a crackling fireplace log to its Video on Demand service, where it can be viewed for a charitable donation.

Shaw is adding its popular holiday television channel showing a crackling fireplace to its Video on Demand service, where it can be viewed for a charitable donation.

However, the channel will also be provided free to Shaw cable subscribers through the holiday season — a move Shaw made after experiencing a flare-up of anger from customers opposed to the free feature being yanked.

Most of the outrage was released across the internet, on blogs and chatrooms and on feedback pages linked to the media stories about the new charge for the channel.

"When we heard how important it was to our customers, we immediately expanded our viewing options. In this age of social media and conversation, we were able to quickly hear the voice of our customers and have taken action," Shaw Communications president Peter Bissonnette said in a release issued shortly after the news stories appeared Friday.

The yule log channel, available 24 hours a day until Jan. 2, features the image of a natural, flickering fire, complete with crackling sounds — and the occasional hand coming into the image to add a new log.

It first aired in Edmonton over Christmas in 1986. Since then, it has been offered across the country for cable subscribers.

The option to access the Video on Demand (VoD) version is for viewers who want to make a donation. The payment of 99 cents will be matched by Shaw and donated to charity.

"Every year we hear wonderful stories from our viewers about our fire log and how it played a role in their holiday celebrations," Bissonnette stated in a news release in December 2009.

"For decades, families have opened their presents, hosted parties and even gotten engaged in front of our fire log. We're proud that this holiday classic has become a tradition in many homes."

In addition to the yule log, cable viewers can also watch a Christmas tree.

The Christmas tree channel, featuring a 15-metre Colorado Spruce decorated with more than 6,000 multi-coloured light bulbs and hundreds of festive ornaments, is another free service from Shaw.