February 9th was my first day with Telus and here is a recap of my experience with Optik TV, Optik TV High Speed and Home Phone so far.
Two technicians arrived for the install within the scheduled window and spent 90 minutes running cables and setting everything up. The two TV’s I had hooked up were in rooms with a pre-existing coaxial and telephone drop but they still replaced a few lines. They were able to pull a phone line to my entertainment unit downstairs so the modem would sit where the previous one did. The technicians were friendly and helpful for any questions I had.
After everything was up and running I was given a quick run through the PVR functions, the Actiontec router interface and a few other tips on the service. They left me feeling confident in the tools and I didn’t feel that they rushed anything.
I am sure this is a feature with Shaw, but having never used their PVR services (I used digital cable for several years) having the name and telephone number of an incoming call appear on your TV is incredible. I called the house several times just to see “SEAN GURSKY” appear in the top left corner (). We have to cover the length of the house to reach the nearest phone and if we were able to see who was calling we could determine if it was worth getting up or not.
The second biggest wow is being able to pause live TV. By no means is this feature exclusive to Telus, but I never really had the chance to play with this ability and it’s incredible. I never thought I would benefit from having a PVR but now I wonder how I lived so long without one. We will still continue to download shows but now we can fill up the PVR with shows that aren’t widely available or things we don’t follow episode to episode and enjoying watching when we have the time.
Telus has an iPhone app to browse the program grid, view your recordings and schedule a recording. The app is convenient and I could see myself using it frequently.
I did have two problems with the HD PVR but they were both solved by doing a system reboot.
The first was being unable to create a new account for Remote Recording. I was given an “Error 500: Service Unavailable” and every time I tried I got the same message. The next issue was not having any audio on HD channels over my HDMI connection. The video would come in fine, and audio on SD channels worked but just not on HD. I restarted the system and both went away and my question list for Telus support went from two to zero.
With the move from Shaw to Telus we downgraded phone features. With Shaw we had caller ID, voice mail, call waiting and probably a few other ones that added to our monthly bill. A part of why the Telus bundle is so cheap is that the telephone is bare bones with one feature. We opted to have caller ID, as our phones have a built in answering machine and call waiting is not something we used that often.
Although, there is a semi-solution for call waiting with Optik TV. If our land line is occupied and someone is calling us they would receive a busy signal but on the television we would see who attempted to call us (the same way we do now in the top left corner of the screen). It’s not an exact solution for call waiting but it’s a nice alternative for the rare times we have two people wanting to speak to us at once.
I have similar download and upload speeds to when I was on Shaw High Speed Extreme. According to speedtest.net my download speed is nearly 15MB and upload is 0.8MB. If anything my upload speed is lower than with Shaw, but as I am no longer relying on torrents this is not a concern.
I have been using DD-WRT custom firmware on my Linksys router for over a year and I got accustomed to the features it gave me. Now with the modem/router combination of the Actiontec V1000H I’m finding myself a little restricted. There are plenty of administration features on the Actiontec, but it’s not what I was used to or I don’t fully understand how to recreate what I had on the Actiontec.
I had a hurdle trying to figure out how I could administer my SABnzbd install remotely. This wasn’t a problem before so it was a frustrating issue. Previously I set the proper “Port from” and “Port to” for port forwarding on the Linksys DD-WRT and it worked fine. With the Actiontec I wasn’t sure if I have the port forwarding information correct, if Telus was restricting a web server from running or something else. As simple as the Actiontec interface is I wasn’t sure what the optional part of the port forwarding information I had to set up. Ultimately I changed my SAbnzbd install https:// listening port to match the one I would connect to from http://my.ip:port and it worked.
The current issue I am having is signal strength from the downstairs Actiontec to the upstairs Playstation 3. With the Linksys I increased the strength of the wireless signal (TX power) and added Windsurfer parabolas on the antennas. This allowed me to stream SD content without an issue and even 720p across the house.
Currently the Playstation 3 has a 50% signal but it occasionally buffers on SD content. I transferred the Windsurfer parabolas on to the Actiontec but I’m not able to increase the wireless rate to anything above 100% () so I’m at a loss for what to do. I have a few things in mind to resolve the problem but they involve time and money. Currently I’m thinking of:
- Putting the DD-WRT powered Linksys in between the Actiontec and my home server ethernet connection and use the Linksys to boost the signal to upstairs
- Upgrade the network card in my server from the current D-Link 530TX to Gigabit Ethernet card
- Piggy back on the coax cable running upstairs to either transfer the signal from coax to Cat5 or use the coax cable as a lead to run Cat5 up to the living room
With that said, this is my problem and not one that was caused by the Telus service or installation. I need to upgrade my network and I just have to determine the best way to do that. My PS3 Media Server will send 93MB/s to the wired PS3 and 8MB/s to the wireless one (), thus filling a 100MB connection and could account for why it sometimes has issues and sometimes doesn’t.
At the end of the day the Internet connection is reliable, I have solid speeds and while watching Optik TV I never noticed my Internet speed to decrease.
So far my experience with the Telus package has been great. With Usage Based Billing taking a back seat my move may have been premature but I am enjoying life where grass is greener. I may still be in the honeymoon phase of everything so I will write another post in a few weeks to see how I am finding the services then and if there are any issues that have appeared.