Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM
"After years (and years) of waiting it's no surprise to see the Xbox 360 finally sliding into the role of IPTV set-top box, but we couldn't have seen Canada's Telus being the first in North America to offer the option. It only switched customers over to the Microsoft Mediaroom platform (also used by AT&T's U-Verse, where the feature should appear soon) powering its Optik TV package earlier this year, enabling this new multiroom setup."
A quick history lesson on Telus: they used to be AGT (Alberta Government Telephone), the monopoly for phone service here in Alberta. Over the years they've privatized, changed their name, acquired many companies, moved into mobile and Internet (DSL) access, grown to cover much of Canada, and lately gone into the TV business. I've been a Telus customer off and on in my life, and have generally disliked the company - from a customer's point of view, they've seemed to be highly dysfunctional, with customer service being an afterthought. I was incredibly happy when I was finally able to get my wife's phone off Telus, thus severing my last and only connection with them. I currently have my home phone, Internet, and cable TV service with Shaw, the cable company out here, and both mobile phones with Rogers.
That may change though: I've been learning more about Telus' OptikTV lately, and I'm quite impressed. While I'm fairly happy with Shaw for my Internet access (though it's expensive and slow), the TV experience leaves much to be desired. Shaw hasn't advanced their TV technology in years; we're still using these awful Motorola and PACE PVR boxes with a user interface straight out of 2002. Shaw's "whole home" solution? Buy a damn PVR for every TV in the house. They're stuck in the stone ages, and when I look at what Telus is able to offer by leveraging Microsoft's MediaRoom technology, I'm really impressed. So impressed that I'm seriously considering switching - the rub is that apparently fibre optic Internet access isn't available on my street yet - though even if it was, Telus is bafflingly only offering 15mbps down and 1mbps up...exactly the same speed as their high-speed DSL option. Huh? So what exactly is the advantage of fibre if it's the same speeds as DSL? It blows my mind to such a degree that I wonder if they left a zero off each number.
So, for now, I wait - but Telus has certainly got my attention.