Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby jon » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:44 am

tuned wrote:The CRTC ... Even when they try to do something for consumers ...

It probably was a waste of breath, but I did submit a response to the CRTC's recent request for input on their cell phone policies.

I pointed out that, for people like me, who actually use the same mobile phone for 3 years or more, the CRTC ban on three year contracts is costing us a bundle.

Now, with a 2 year contract, the minimum monthly plan you can get with a new phone is $20-$30 more than what it was with 3 year contracts. That's $480-$720 more I have to pay in the first two years: I could buy another high end smartphone for that.

But it doesn't stop there, as I doubt I'll be able to find a cheap plan for Year 3 without going to a minor player with rotten coverage, an older generation network and/or so little Data that I'll run into overcharges.
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby dmehus » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:00 pm

TELUS Fibre Optic is still my preferred choice - same price as Shaw but better network and consistently faster speeds. :)

That said, failing that, for Internet at least...what about Xplornet? TekSavvy looks interesting but not sure if it's worth it if there's extra "naked DSL" fees. :(

Cheers,
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby jon » Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:19 pm

dmehus wrote:what about Xplornet?

Cannot speak for your area, but here in Edmonton all that they offer is cellular network-based Internet with a maximum of 1Mbps upload speeds.

As I recall, their monthly network traffic limits were ridiculously low.
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby jon » Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:47 am

As for more interesting alternatives, at least for me, I found that $45 seems to be the price point for most competitors, both Cable and DSL, for Internet at 25-30 Mbps download, 2.5-5Mbps upload and 300GB to unlimited monthly traffic.

I was looking at Edmonton, but most seem to have similar offerings for Alberta.

Companies currently at that price point included TekSavvy, Lightspeed, vmedia, Yak and montreal-dsl.com.
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby dmehus » Sun Sep 25, 2016 8:50 pm

jon wrote:As I recall, their monthly network traffic limits were ridiculously low.


Yeah, I don't doubt their upload/download monthly network traffic limits would be low but I thought they were a satellite Internet service, not cellular Internet?

They send out monthly flyer "promos" in the mail here. My great-uncle and great-aunt have used Xplornet for years just outside of Lacombe - they have a farm - so I imagine it's popular with the rural country folk. ;)

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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby jon » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:14 pm

I mentioned VMedia in a previous post in this thread on cable TV alternatives.

Bell moves to stop VMedia's skinny basic TV app that bypasses cable companies
Media giant sends cease and desist letter to startup that's offering TV over internet via Roku app
By Aaron Saltzman
CBC News
Posted: Oct 03, 2016 3:00 PM ET

Bell Media has sent a cease and desist letter threatening legal action if VMedia, a small Canadian internet and IPTV provider, does not remove Bell's signals from a VMedia service that streams live TV over the internet.

"This is the real deal," VMedia's George Burger says. "They've threatened an injunction against us."

"Please be advised that Bell Media has not authorized and does not authorize the distribution or retransmission by [VMedia] of any of its broadcast signals or speciality services, including but not limited to the CTV and CTV TWO signals" Bell's letter to VMedia dated Sept. 29 reads.

"We therefore demand that VMedia immediately cease distributing or retransmitting any of Bell Media's broadcast signals, speciality services or copyrighted programs."

"If this is not done by done by 11:59 pm ET on September 30th, 2016, Bell intends to take further action," the letter says.

When asked for comment, spokeswoman for Bell said the company will seek a court injunction to stop VMedia.

"VMedia is distributing CTV and CTV Two signals outside of its licensed broadcast business and without Bell Media's consent," Emily Young Lee said. "It's a clear copyright violation, and we asked them to stop. They refused, so we're asking for a court injunction to end the copyright infringement."

'Skinny Basic' app

At issue is VMedia's new service which offers a so-called Skinny Basic cable package through a Roku app.

The Roku TV and streaming video player has been available in the U.S. and Canada for a while now. Much like Apple TV or Google's Chromecast, it allows users to stream content from the internet on their television.

Earlier this month, VMedia started offering its Skinny Basic cable package through a Roku app for a cost of $17.85 per month. The subscription does not require a specific VMedia internet subscription.

It means that anyone with a Roku player and their own internet subscription can have access to 20 live television channels, including CTV, CBC, Global, as well as U.S. networks ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and PBS.

In its letter to VMedia, Bell contends that because VMedia's service is offered over the internet — not a private managed network — and does not require a specific VMedia internet connection, the service falls outside of the scope of VMedia's license as a Broadcasting Distribution Undertaking (BDU).

BDUs like VMedia include cable and satellite services and are generally allowed to retransmit over-the-air and other signals.

"We're entitled under the Copyright Act to retransmit over the air signals for no cost because we're a licensed BDU." says Burger.

Bell disagrees with that assessment, saying in their letter that VMedia is not a "retransmitter" and therefore doesn't have the right to broadcast that material without the permission of the copyright holder.

Changing landscape

"ABC and Disney, the most important thing to them is to sell their content," Burger said.

"In the U.S people who have content are happy to provide that content to Sling. Which is essentially the same thing that we're talking about here."

Sling TV is a service that allows subscribers to watch cable TV channels on their TVs, computers or mobile devices. These are the same channels offered by a cable or satellite TV service, except they're delivered over the Internet.

The case raises interesting questions about the future of technology and how TV signals are accessed by consumers.

VMedia contends it shouldn't matter whether it offers these channels through a VMedia IPTV subscription or via a Roku player over the internet.

"The Copyright Act is technologically neutral. It shouldn't matter," Burger says

Long battle

Even if Bell Media doesn't manage to win any formal court rulings preventing VMedia from offering its skinny basic package through the Roku App, Bell may still win in the end, VMedia says.

"For us, the prospect of going through litigation like this is really cost prohibitive," Burger says

"Bell has untold millions of dollars that it can afford to spend on litigation. We're a startup. We're trying to find our way to profitability."
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby Radioton » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:54 am

Hi there
Noticed no one spoke about Bell however their service is quite good and rates reasonable. I’m even combining my business services ( Network solutions ) with my residential needs and honestly prices are interesting. If you want to view by yourself Fibe Internet, even better in a bundle, just follow this link: http://www.bell.ca/Bell_Internet
Fibe TV + 25 Mbps Internet with Wi-Fi + Home phone = $109.85/mo.
Hope this helps
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby jon » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:26 am

I just checked out Bell and they only offer Cellular-based Internet and Satellite TV in B.C. and Alberta. And no Home Phone at all. At least, according to the link you provided.
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby kal » Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:35 pm

BTW, Roku's new media player, the Ultra, went on sale in Canada yesterday (for new exclusive to Best Buy). It was sold out across the land by noon, although who knows what the actual in-stock numbers were. It sells here for $140, which, with exchange factored in, makes it cheaper than in the US.
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby kal » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:06 pm

Any Roku users here? I've been testing a Roku Ultra the past month. The first unit lasted a day. The company over-nighted a replacement, so that was good service.

The second unit has been solid. A few quirks I won't get into here. Canadian content is woefully poor. And of course many channels are geo-blocked. However today I learned about private channels XTV and ChannelPEAR. These are very interesting. I presume them to be of the here-today, gone-tomorrow variety but they do have a large number of channels. I've been able to add Global BC (and a number of other Global properties), CNN, CNNi, BBC, MSNBC, France 24 (an outstanding news channel) and many others.

I am closing in on the moment when I will cut the cable cord entirely ... for now I have cutback from full TV and Internet (ca. $160), to basic TV with upgrade 150 Internet at $100 (taxes in for both).

Streaming is far from a seamless experience, requiring typically many more clicks to get to a given channel than on a stable cable TV service. Frame dropout and "jitter" is pretty much common to all the streaming services, something you jut don't experience with regular cable.

The Roku Ultra is a fine platform. I haven't tested its 4K and HDR capabilities as my TV set does not have those features.

I'd be interested to hear from others on their streaming solution experiences.
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby groundskeeper willy » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:11 pm

Gassed cable many years ago, have been using a digital antenna (to catch local news on the OTA signals) & a Roku. Have found most content available via the Roku can be rather disappointing, but there are some gems that make it extremely worthwhile. A friend enlightened me about FilmOn quite a a while back, there's the official site (Roku channel code: NMEVA) and then a version somebody's created that has an tremendously useful channel guide (Roku channel code: arteseafon). Content is the same on both, with the channel guide version being much more user friendly. Very nice having live streaming of the various BBC, Channel 4 & ITV channels (BBC4 is amazing!!). Much like Netflix, you do need a minimum download speed or you will experience picture degradation and/or freezing, and bandwidth use runs about 1GB per hour of streaming. If you don't have the speed or the available bandwidth, your streaming experience may not be an enjoyable one.

Currently running a package from Lightspeed Internet that gives 15Mbps download & 325GB monthly usage for $40, which provides access to more content than I could ever watch in a lifetime.

The big caveat to cutting your cable used to be to how much of a sports fan you were, as TSN / SportsNet controlled all the sports content. Now that you can make use of the various NHL, NFL, MLB, etc, streaming services online, you do not need cable anymore. Unless you like paying for the Shaw & Telus executives grotesque bonuses.
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby kal » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:47 pm

Thanks for those suggestions.

Today I discovered XTV and channelPEAR private channels for the Roku. Presently I'm watching Global BC through XTV. Outstanding quality. Also have SportsNet Pacific running through channelPEAR. Again, superb quality. So far, no CBC, no PBS. Also running MSNBC, and if you want the Shopping Channel in HD (Shaw only offers it in SD), it's there as well.

As with all streaming solutions, your mileage may vary. You need many more clicks to get to a channel than on a standard TV feed. Audio level will vary widely from feed to feed. And the streaming feeds tend to run a minute behind their real-time feeds. That's annoying if you like to catch the top story at the top of the hour, exactly.

No decent CNN feed so far. Several low-quality feeds. Very low quality. No CTV Vancouver feed.

We watch some Italian feeds in my home. The SkyTG24 feed from Milano is excellent.
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby kal » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:17 am

The pace of cord-cutting and never-cording may be slowing in Canada. Final numbers aren't in for 2016 but there may be a slowing down, possibly due to the introduction of skinny/basic TV packages.

Here's a Financial Post article that may be of interest:

http://business.financialpost.com/fp-tech-desk/cord-cutting-escalates-for-canada-tv-subscribers-in-first-three-quarters-of-2016?__lsa=6f69-563d
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Re: Alternatives to Shaw and TELUS

Postby kal » Sun Jan 01, 2017 11:42 am

Here is one of the many Android TV units gaining some traction here in Canada. This is a recent model that supports the Kodi platform.

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01NBH4Q7I/ref=twister_B01N7EQJB1?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

It is these sorts of units that a recent court ruling says cannot be advertised as "fully programmed", i.e. in a ready-to-go state. Streaming TV leaves a lot to be desired. Boxes such as this, and the Roku platform, are about as good as it gets for now.
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