Some general suggestions from a TV viewer

Zaneszoo
Resident

Since you did ask for suggestions....


I often made to wonder if the programmers behind Optik actually ever watch TV.  Although many things are done right, there are several annoyances that would drive any viewer crazy and appear to easily correctable.


I'll make all the suggestions at once while I think of them.  Obviously, I think they are all good points.  :-)


    On-screen guide takes up way too much screen space and is too opaque.  TV is a visual medium and we'd like to see what we're watching!
    It so opaque/large that you can not see what your are currently watching while you check what is coming on next or quickly schedule a recording--this can really annoy as spouse.
    I think on the competitor's service, they have some fine tuning options like how opaque the guide appears.  Maybe Telus could add a "More Experienced Users Only" sections in options?


    The guide is inundated with various section title headers/channels, preview/advertising channels.
    After you've used Optik for a couple of months, you get to know how the channels are divided (or if you only have a pretty basic package, you don't need to care so much about the divisions) so the headers just get in the way.
    Seriously, if you are just channel surfing by hitting Channel Up, and you get to 106 City, next you get 107 Shows on Demand (black screen), then 108 ??, then 111 Movie for $1, and then FINALLY 117 Knowledge. So, you're watching something on 106 and have to hit CH+ FOUR times before you see another program on a regular station.
    It is bad enough that these dummy channels take up so much of the on-screen guide about doubling the number of pages in the guide (so it takes 2x as long to find out what is on TV), but having to "surf" through them is unacceptable.  Maybe a Preference Setting could be created to toggle them on/off?


    The channel line up sequencing has some errors in it.
    CBC on 100 makes perfect sense.  Then should be other major Canada "normal" channels, then maybe Knowledge, then PBS (in my mind they are the same kind of stations/audience so go together), then the "normal" US stations.
    Weather and TSC should not be in the middle--viewers don't watch these like you'd watch CBC or Global or NBC.  If they are to be grouped in the 100's, they could be 197 and 198.
    A while ago, Joy TV seemed to become more religious and now there is CKCS I guess from Calgary (hopefully just a free preview) and these should not be grouped in the 100's--these should grouped near Vision.  Televangelists are, IMO, offensive and regular viewers should not have to surf past them everyday.  Interested viewers can seek them out.


    Monthly previews are very poorly featured/announced.
    Yes, the one station is repeated on Ch 4 but if there are others, you have to recognize them in the guide.  There is no email (I used to notice something in the newsletter but I haven't seen those in a long time and they came out in about the 3rd week of the preview so what was the point?) and even with all those info/header channels, CH5 is not a current (and up-coming) list of free preview channels.  That would be so helpful to go to CH5 and see which extra channels I get this month.


    When setting up favorites, it would also be nice if there was a toggle setting to include all free preview stations (and, no, not the PPV ones) or not.  That way, I can set up favorites without the header channels and all the music and 9000's but still know I won't be missing the free previews.


    Recording
    A) The provided STB with 1/2 to 1 TB of storage is too small and we should be able to add an expansion external drive like other providers allow.  Even if it was a proprietary device (that was very reasonably priced!).
    In the AVS Forums, someone said that building a media library with the PVR was not the point of Optik so basically just live with it.  Hopefully, he doesn't work on the help desk at Telus (if I remember, he was an employee but posting as a citizen like everyone else on those forums).
    With the ever greater need to have larger households/roommates, the need for more PVR space will also increase.  We have 2 couples in our house who have very different tastes in programs plus different amounts of time for each of us to catch up on watching our separate recordings.
    Further, we pay to watch TV 24/7 and record another 3 programs while we're watching the 4th, right?  And PVR features are a big selling point so artificially limiting the storage space is not forthright.


    B)  Another huge issue I have with the PVR is that it requires an internet connection back to Telus to allow you to watch any of your recordings.  This was obviously a considered decision--the program is recorded onto the built in hard drive, it is not being streamed, so there is not other reason to require a connection back to Telus to watch the program you've paid to see and to time shift it via PVR as advertised.  This means that if you cancel Optik, you won't be able to finish watching what you've paid for.  It also--and most annoyingly!--means that if your internet connection goes down you can't surf the internet, can't watch live TV, and can't watch your recordings!  It would be much less frustrating and infuriating for paying customers to pass the time watching recordings rather than "have nothing to do" while Telus makes repairs to the line.  I just think this is a short-sighted policy.


    C) It would be nice if, when setting up a recording, it was easy to pick SD over HD to save some HDD space.  If you have your favorites set up with none of the 9000 channels, that would be painful to set up the recordings on those SD stations.  For example, I record Colbert 5x/week and don't need that in SD.
    So, when selecting 104 to set up the recording, it would be great if in the recording pop-up allowed you to select 104 or 9104.
    It would be great if some symbol could be added to the guide to show that that program is being recorded even if it is on another channel or in the 9000's--maybe that red dot with the channel number or an "SD"?
    The new butcher knife style remotes are horrible.  I keep collecting the black (or even silver) rounded/figure-8 style remotes--much more comfortable in the hand, easier to feel the button layout, and must less likely to be used by the spouse to stab me!  :-)


    STB auto power off.
    A)  The STB goes to green screen after 4 hours (?) of inactivity.
    Unfortunately, it does this with no pre-warning!  My 87 year old father watches a lot of TCM or westerns and in the middle of the scene, the box just turns off!  No warning with a 30 second count down so you have a chance to hit "OK" to keep watching.  No waiting until the current program ends, or even just wait to the top of the hour.  Bloody rude!  Can't really kill the mood depending on what scene you were watching!
    B)  Also, the STB goes to a green screen with the option to hit OK to continue watching.  Great.  However, that means that the TV is always getting a signal so it can't know that you've fallen asleep and the STB is really inactive so the TV could go into energy saving standby mode.
    4 hours seems like a long time before the green screen turns on but the green screen only needs to be on for a few minutes while the viewer searches for the remote and then the STB should power down so that connected TVs can know that the device is no longer in use and can start their timer until shut down.


    Another huge pet peeve of mine with Telus in general is that they want another $3 to get a paper bill delivered if you also have Telus Internet.
    I fought with them about this but go no where.  Still ticks me off though.
    Providing a paper bill has always been the standard for on-going monthly services like Electricity, Gas, Water, Phone, Cable TV, etc.  Offering to plant $3 worth of tree seeds one time does not come close to charging $3/mo for the rest of the account's life which hopefully will be decades.
    I find it ironic that I could go with, say Techsavvy internet, and keep my Telus phone, long distance, and Optik and get a free paper bill sent out each month but if I give them another $80/mo for internet, they want an extra $3 for the bill!  Certainly not looking at things from the customer's point of view.  I was so close to walking away.
    It has been my experience that Telus will often make changes/errors on bills so having it delivered gave me a chance to confirm and to double check that my auto payments from my bank went through. Also, long distance is a bit different every month and the little extra I auto pay every month sometimes doesn't cover it so then it looks like I'm in arrears.


    Another general peeve is that loyal customers are not automatically given/offered the new/better rates.  This happened to me many times over the years with long distance rates.  I'd find out a friend was paying less/minute and I'd call in and they'd cheerfully lower my rate to match.  Why not just take care of your regular customers who are taking care of you and are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt when you screw up?
    A similar example was about 1.5-2 years after my 2 yr Optik contract ended, I happened to notice they had started charging me $10/mo for the basic STB.  No email heads-up, just on the bill.  I called and they explained that my contract had ended so I said and yet I'm still paying every month and that it was their technology that required the STB not my TV with a built in turner.  How could I watch Optik without a STB??  They put a permanent discount on my bill so I always see $10 rental less $10 loyalty discount.  All Optik accounts should come with a free STB until TV are commonly made with whatever kind of "tuner" the Optik uses.

OK, those are my suggestions for now.  Hope you're not regretting asking for suggestions!  I'm almost always ready to make those!


(I tried to submit this last week but I wasn't sure it it "went through" or needed to be moderated before it would appear.  I still don't see it so I'm trying a repost now.)

Status: New Idea
Category:
Comments
Community Power User
Community Power User

- Various channels you don't want to appear in the guide can be removed.

- Currently the 1TB gives plenty of room for multiple "family members" recordings. You're correct the PVR is not meant to be a library of shows to keep forever as it's encrypted. If anything happens to the hard drive or PVR you loose ALL recordings. Some people feel the need to store hundreds of movies on it as their personal netflix which is not what it's designed for. Once more 4K channels come out i can see the need to increase capacity, perhaps the next generation receivers we will see this.

- Recording in SD vs HD will save some space but again a 1TB it's not an issue. Sooner or later the SD channels won't even be there. It's been almost 10 years since CRTs have been produced.

- You can call Telus to get the 4 hour time out limit increased. I believe the max time before no activity is 20 hours. The default is set to 4 hours.

 

I would like the ability to adjust time of the on screen info when you change the channel, and a few more customization's in the menu, also the "new" appear beside a current show in the guide.

BillTelusCust
Ambassador

Although I can agree with some of the suggestions, most I do not.  I agree that it is not meant to be a media library.  People have a propensity to record entire seasons of a series and keep it there.   Not what it is intended for.  

 

The thing that got me was the paper billing issue.  The fee is a deterrent fee.   A cable bill and internet bill is going to be the same every month unless there is pay per view activity.  Is it really necessary to have a paper printout of this each month?   Maybe they should put the fee up to $10 or $20 per month...

Zaneszoo
Resident

I am confused why a customer would not want to see another customer use the PVR as a very small media library if that is how they want to use their HDD space.

 

I'm confused: so theory is it is OK if one customer records 1 episode of 1000 different shows on many different channels and fills up their PVR but if another customer wants to record 1 or 2 season of 1 or 2 shows using up some/most/all of their PVR space, that's not equally OK?

 

It is not costing anyone anything.  We have paid to watch the programming on the channels we selected. Telus uses the ability to record several channels while watching another as a selling point of their service.  If you can record twice as much as you're watching in the moment, when are you supposed to watch those other programs you are recording?  Why would anyone (Telus, the stations, other customers) care when we get around to watching the shows we've recorded?--we did pay to watch them after all, we're just time shifting.

Other service providers sell expansion hard drives.  Even Telus came out with a 500G model after the original 320G model (I haven't upgraded).  The Telus marketing doesn't mention anything about limits on how many shows you can record, or how many episodes of one show or how long you can save them for.

 

Before I switched to Telus, I could record on (my VCR and onto) a DVD and onto the HDD inside my DVD/HDD Recorder.  It was my understanding that doing so was legal in Canada.  I don't see why using a PVR with cablevision-over-internet should really be any different.

 

Hey, I'm a Telus fan (most of the time) and enjoy watching TV.  I'm also busy and can't keep "current" with watching my recordings within a week of their airing.  I often have to wait until I get some time off work to catch up.  I don't think it is too much to ask to be able to store my favorite programs in HD until I can get around to watching them in HD on my HD TV.  Aren't things supposed to progress & advance as we move forward?--isn't progress supposed to be better than the past?

 

The sentiment that "it is not meant to be a media library" just does not sit well with me at all.  I find it a huge turn off.  I think that it sounds like the old monopolies' attitude a la "our way or the highway!" and would lead me to cut the cord like so many others have already done.

Zaneszoo
Resident

As far as the paper bill goes, for more than 50 years, any recurring, on-going, service has printed and mailed the bill each month to the user for no extra fee.  Telephone, cable, power, gas, water.

 

Yes, the Telus internet bill should be the same each month so a monthly paper bill may seem unnecessary but there are three things here: 1) monthly services traditionally sent bills and Telus want extra money to continue to do so (and they had the cheek to say it was for the environment); 2) Telus often makes mistakes on their billing; and 3) my bill also includes phone, long distance, and Optik including PPV so the monthly due amount changes.

 

The fee was not announced as a "deterrent fee".  They sold it as a good for environment!  In fact, it was so good that they would plant ONE tree for the first month or so that you went paperless.  This is purely a cost shifting exercise--much like Superstore charging 2 cents and then 5 cents per bag since the 80's.  (I'm still surprised they don't ask for a quarter to help pay the light bill!)

 

I am still surprised that they are so willing to insist on that $3/month for the paper bill for customers that have several of their services.  Who does that?  I am shocked that you think it would be OK for them to charge $10 or $20!  Are you a customer of Telus or a majority shareholder?  Hey--I have an offer for you:  I'll bill you $20/month (paperlessly) to NOT wash your car each month!  Even better, $50 for 2 cars!

BillTelusCust
Ambassador

How about I look at my bills online and check them? I download them every month and store them in the cloud. I have years worth of invoices saved that I can refer to anytime I want - from anywhere I want. Does Telus usually make mistakes on my bill?  No they don't.  

 

So really I could care less if they charge $3 or $300 for paper bills.  But they should charge something to prevent the dinosaurs from having paper bills sent.  Whether you think of it as a deterrent fee or cost recovery...it is something to make people get electronic billing.  Most people agree with them charging a fee for paper bills.  We didn't have efficient internet delivery 50 years ago, we do now.  It is a different world. I don't  use pay per view and my plans include long distance, so that doesn't change.

 

As to using your Optik TV as a PVR, you are already complaining about the capacity and about the inability to choose SD over HD.  People are trying to politely tell you that it is not intended as a PVR and why..this being that the data is not transferable from one box to the next. If you have a hardware failure, even on a box and not the disk, you lose your media library.  A proper media library uses a RAID so that you can have a disk failure and recover from it.

 

You're of course free to do as you want with the tools you have. 

 

 

Just_LH
Coach

On the Paperless fee.

So it's a stick. They could have used a carrot, $3 discount for those who switch to paperless.

 

Not a PVR?!  Tell Telus that! https://www.telus.com/en/tv/optik/4k-pvr-and-wireless-digital-box