If you live in BC, Alberta, or Quebec, I want to share a review and look at Telus TV which is now known as Telus Optik TV. I don’t have many negatives about the service since I’ve signed up. I started with the original Telus TV and later moved onto Optik TV which was made available where I live.
I’m not alone in my fondness for Telus TV. I have two other friends who have signed up and are technically competent and skeptical of most things. They are equally as happy so that should tell you something right there. If you can get Optik TV in your area then consider it.
One reason to consider Telus TV is because of saving money. If you’re willing to jump in with both feet it can save you real money. You might be leery of putting all your eggs in one basket but I think save money now and you likely won’t worry about the “what ifs”. For myself I had been tied into Shaw for half a lifetime it seemed before I even had the opportunity for a second choice. Why would I fear a 3-year contract or commitment with Telus especially when I could save money? What’s better is that for new customers who sign-up for a 3-year term for Telus Optik TV and Telus Internet, you get something real incentive freebies. Right now you can get either a free Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, a free LG 42-inch LED HDTV or a free HP Pavilion G6 laptop. You also get free HD PVR rental and 2 HD Digital boxes. If that wasn’t enough, you can also get $50 if you get a friend to sign-up for either Telus Optik TV or Telus Satellite TV.
You can bundle all your services including: internet, television, phone line, and mobile phone. If you put all those together you’re going to save money and so you should. I won’t break down the dollars and cents just yet but I will create a separate section below for that. I realize that bundling a mobile phone into the mix isn’t possible for a lot of people because you’re likely already tied into a contract. That said, you can look and see about either getting out of your existing plan or you can see about switching to Telus Mobility in the future. Not a massive savings when bundling your mobile phone into you package, but it’s something and honestly it’s only recently that they added that to bundle savings. Savings.
To be clear, not all areas in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec are able to support Optik TV. Telus is expanding as quickly as possible, but you should first check availability in your area. If you can’t get Optik, you should be able to get Telus Satellite which have many of the same freebies when you sign-up for a 3-year term.
Speaking in generalities, what I like most about Telus TV is that you can incorporate your devices. Telus TV On Demand is one example. Another is remote recording which you can do from smartphones, tablets or PCs. You can check your recordings, delete recordings, setup recordings and even adjust your channels via a remote device. Setting up a recording when you’re away from home is something that comes in handy more than you think. Even if I’m at home on the PC, I would rather setup a recording on my computer than turn on the TV and HD PVR. The convenience might sound minimal but the technology does make life simpler and less cumbersome.
I can’t really speak to how the HD PVR experience on Telus TV compares to Shaw, but I will say the software on the PVR is brilliant, easy to navigate and is updated on a regular basis with new and improved features. For example, up until about 6 months ago, if you wanted to find out the available storage space on your HD PVR you had to get through a number of menus. A pain it was. Now? It’s moved to a much quicker and simply location in the menus thanks to a software update.
Ask yourself, how many times when you were fast forwarding on a VCR or cassette tape did you overshoot the start of a show after a commercial? So of course you press rewind by a few seconds, then clunk, then the gears would engage and hopefully by then you aren’t too far back into the commercials you were just trying to avoid. Heck I bet your last HD PVR experience was the same. So how is the Optik TV HD PVR experience different or better? If you prefer the fast forward way of skimming through recorded shows as opposed to using the skip button, you will like this. I think of it as a smart fast forward/rewind. So if you are fast forwarding at 2x speed, when you click play to get back watching after skipping commercials, the PVR will go back a number of seconds. If you are fast forwarding at 3x speed, the PVR will go back even further. Same with 4x speed, the recording will reverse by even more because who the heck has such quick reflexes when the video is flying by so quick! Essentially this feature means you won’t cut into your show as much. It’s brilliant and you will enjoy it, believe me! It’s increases your enjoyment while watching television believe me. It’s so nice that I do wonder what the future is for television commercials. Is it worth watching a show live anymore? Record it and start watching it after about 20 minutes and you will watch a one hour long show in about 40 minutes. Good for us, but bad for them. Oh well.
I know one feature that Shaw folks might enjoy that is available on the Optik TV PVR is a very simple recording system. Go into your guide, see the show, click the record button once and you just record it that one time. Click the record button twice in a row, and you’ve just set up a schedule to record that show whenever it’s one around the same time. If make a mistake and accidentally make it a scheduled recording as opposed to a single recording, simply push the record button once and it will remove the recording all together. The PVR will notify you of conflicts which then puts you into another menu where you can easily choose which of the 3 shows you want to record. It makes it very simple and user friendly to fix conflicts.
On the Negative Side of Telus Optik TV
There has to be some bad aspects to Optik TV right? Sure, there are a few minor quibbles.
Right off the top, I will speak to the fact that the billing is an absolute head scratcher. If you happen upon some special pricing, it’s not going to be easy to figure out if your bill has been adjusted correctly. When bundled, the bill becomes a mad scramble.
On the TV experience side, I find the apps to be sluggish and painful. Most people are used to quick processors, but the Telus PVR is like using a computer from yesteryear when it comes to loading apps. Because of this, I almost find them as a gimmick because you are wiser to whip out your smartphone and tablet and complete the task on those devices in the blink of an eye.
I also find the Telus Optik TV Record app to be unreliable. It’s difficult to navigate and what’s worse, is at the time of writing this, the app doesn’t comprehend conflicts. In other words, the app won’t record your show if there happens to be a conflict. In fact the app won’t even notify you of a conflict. I found this to be the case on the Android version of the app. On the PC, I have no issues setting up recordings and dealing with conflicts. I should contact Telus, but I haven’t bothered. Overall I just don’t like the feel and design of the app. Hopefully that sees a major overhaul in the next while.
There are times that I find the PVR to be sluggish. Delays can be frustrating when you talking about pressing a button on the remote and not seeing something happen on the screen. A delay often causes a double press, which then takes you to a different channel than what you really wanted. If you treat this like a PC, it helps. That means a restart once in a while does help. If possible, also try not to max out the storage. Like a PC hard drive, when it’s near full, things just seem to slow down a bit.
Collection of Telus Optik TV Tips and Tricks
- How to clear off space on your PVR? Great question. The obvious answer is to delete old programs. Let me put it into perspective with a real example. I had 22% free space on my PVR. I decided to delete 56 Standard Definition show with a duration of 1 hour each. In the blink of an eye, I went to 41% free space! I doubt I’ve seen that much space on my PVR aside from the first week it was in my house. I hope that example gives you some perspective.
- Use your PVR to see your phone Call History – If you have the long black slender remote, there is not a direct button that will take you into your telephone call history. If you have the gray chubby remote, there is a “caller ID” button that takes you right into the app. The point here is that you can get an easy to follow call history into your home. Your usage may vary, but if you’re getting annoying phone calls, this is a quick and easy way to see when and what time those calls came in.
- Fast Forward vs. Skip – I’ve had this debate with friends. People seem to have their own preferences and it did seem quite clear that my friend wasn’t going to stop using the “skip” button even though I was recommending the fast forward. Here is my explanation. Fast forward is more forgiving. It might take you slightly longer to get to where you need to get to, but it’s far more forgiving. Although “skip” is speedy, if you overshoot your stopping point, it can be a major pain to skip back. What I don’t like about skip is that you might jump 5 seconds at a time, but to skip back, it seems to go back only 1 second at a time. Those times are off, but that’s about how irritating it can be. I find fast forward to be far more precise and a time saver at the end of the day.