Pik TV on Apple TV: first impressions

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PBA
Connector

I asked. And I received! First, a big thank you to the Telus Pik team for bringing Pik TV app to tvOS. 

 

I was an early Pik adopter, and have the Android box, but my experience with that were underwhelming: glitchy user interface, box rebooting, occasional cryptic errors.

 

I've been an Apple TV user for years, and have found myself using that as my primary entertainment box for the last 3 years. Having another box under my TV was a pain:  yet another remote control, HDMI port to switch around etc.

 

So, I cancelled my subscription and threw down a challenge here to port the existing iOS App to tvOS. I mean, how hard could it be, right!? ;-) 

 

When I got the announcement on Monday I downloaded the app to my Apple TV, and yesterday I re-instated my Pik TV subscription ($10! Half what it was when I started last year! Neat!) 

 

With some limited viewing here are my subjective notes:

 

The GOOD:

  • It just works! Entered my credentials and I was off to the races.
  • A fluid, responsive user interface: just like other tvOS apps and so much better than the glitchiness of the Android TV version (to be fare, I've not used it in over 12 months, so I'm sure its improved since then)
  • TV guide loads relatively quickly, and the status bar does not lie LOL
  • Picture quality: the same as Android TV, similar to Crave TV, which is to be expected — video streaming is largely a factor of how it was compressed at the head end
  • Sound: Fine! Got it playing though my stereo paired HomePods (yeah, I'm that much of an Apple dude!)
  • No data drops (so far)
  • No cryptic errors (so far)

The BAD:

  • Seriously, nothing so far. Remember, I'm comparing this to Pik on the Android TV box, not Optik.

The FUTURE (Feature requests):

  • Make it work with the Apple TV App:
    • Pik Favourites appear in the Apple TV App Watch Now feed — especially when a new episode is due!
    • On Demand links in my Watch Now feed
    • See Live TV links for news 
    • Sports (I don't watch any, but I know there are people who do ;-) )

VERDICT:

If you're an Apple TV user and a cord cutter, give the tvOS Pik TV app a spin. For $10 a month, it's like having another Netflix/Crave subscription, but now you don't have to wait for iTunes version of Game of Thrones before you can use the internet again! 

 

I'm sure there'll be other observations over time, and I'll respond to this message if/when I have other observations or get glitches.

 

Thanks Telus Apple Developers!

PBA.

kjb86
Friendly Neighbour

Thanks for the review PBA.

 

I am concerned with the quality - I had this for 3 days and with Fibre 150, I thought picture quality on the Pik TV Box was horrid (I've never used Crave TV so I can't comment with that).

All I know is that it was grossly compressed, barely even 720p and figured screw it - i'll go back to the digital antenna where quality is even better than Optik/Shaw.

PBA
Connector

Hi @kjb86,

 

I wish digital antenna was an option for me — I don't have line-of-sight to a transmitter, so I'm stuck with cable or internet options. 

 

I'm an infrequent live TV watcher anyway, so I'm OK with the picture quality on the Apple TV Pik version when I need it. It seems on a par with my old Motorola STB if that helps. 

 

Personally, I'd like to see Telus go all in on using Google TV / Apple TV apps and have DVR-in-the-cloud like features and true HD and 4k options in a tiered subscription model, with a la carte channel selection.  No Optik box, just use a (more fully featured) app on the most popular TV streaming platforms. I think Bell have something like this out east.

kjb86
Friendly Neighbour

@PBA- yea fair enough.  I'm an infrequent TV watcher myself as well (really I just watch sports and that's it) but for me, if i'm paying for a service why can't it be quality?  Optik is better quality yet it's the exact same thing - TV that is streaming over the internet.  

Sportsnet Now, TSN - these both stream in perfect HD quality so why can Pik not?  Why compress it so bad?

Patthe
Neighbour
I have both the official pike android and Apple. 5o be honest I'm a android fanboys and the experience on the android tv is really bad. So bad that I bough a apple tv. So much better. I think the android box not powerful enough for the app
Nivende2
Connector

Do you know of any special AppleTV or TV settings that are required. I get black screens after viewing about 1.5 hrs. No sound too. It started out fine.  I wonder If this has something to do with having an original Telus Android box signed on to Telus as a device and an Apple TV signed on.  It should not but you never know.

PBA
Connector

Hi @Nivende2,

 

No special settings. But I do run my own WiFi router (not the Telus wifi router) and my DNS is set to use 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1 (Cloudflare DNS)

 

The only issues I'm getting is the occasional drop in audio (for about 2-3 seconds) and the occasional black screen (again 2-3 seconds). This happens, perhaps, about once every 60-90 minutes.

Nivende2
Connector

Thanks - my drop is also after 90 minutes but it does not come back - just a black screen.  I bought  a new cable for 4K and am running ATV on ethernet. I adjusted the  ATV video settings as suggested by Bell, but to to no avail.

Nivende2
Connector

If someone out there has a Samsung 4K TV and are using an Apple TV to watch PIK TV, I would love know if you had to make specific settings adjustments to either the ATV or the Samsung to make it work.  Thanks

YVRcub
Friendly Neighbour

Amazing review... @PBA

Just got Pik TV too.  And I’m an Apple lover too...

 

but i wasn’t able to get the sound on my HomePod... even if the audio output on Apple TV is set for homepod.... any trick?

thanks 

Nivende2
Connector

Someone suggested the below:

 

 

Restarting HomePod

To restart your HomePod, unplug and re-plug your HomePod. Let it go through the normal startup process. Note that I did not have to reset my HomePod to solve this issue.

Restart Apple TV 4K

To restart your Apple TV, go to Settings > System > Restart. Once you select Restart, it happens immediately.

YVRcub
Friendly Neighbour

@Nivende2 wrote:

Someone suggested the below:

 

 

Restarting HomePod

To restart your HomePod, unplug and re-plug your HomePod. Let it go through the normal startup process. Note that I did not have to reset my HomePod to solve this issue.

Restart Apple TV 4K

To restart your Apple TV, go to Settings > System > Restart. Once you select Restart, it happens immediately.


I'll give it a try tonight when back home... Smiley Happy

YVRcub
Friendly Neighbour

@YVRcub wrote:

@Nivende2 wrote:

Someone suggested the below:

 

 

Restarting HomePod

To restart your HomePod, unplug and re-plug your HomePod. Let it go through the normal startup process. Note that I did not have to reset my HomePod to solve this issue.

Restart Apple TV 4K

To restart your Apple TV, go to Settings > System > Restart. Once you select Restart, it happens immediately.


I'll give it a try tonight when back home... Smiley Happy


I guess it’s didn’t work.... all apps are playing via HomePod and not Pik.

Nivende2
Connector

Perhaps the sound can not be stripped from the picture since both travel to the TV via the HDMI. For example my Sonos is hooked up to the TV via an optical cable. 

Nivende2
Connector

I was reading that Bell Fibe which also is able use an Apple TV app has the same issue.   

YVRcub
Friendly Neighbour

@Nivende2 wrote:

I was reading that Bell Fibe which also is able use an Apple TV app has the same issue.   


Yep, just read that online too.... I’m just curious to see how @PBA got the sound on his HomePod then.... . 

Nivende2
Connector

I checked out PIK- Apple TV wireless to Sonos. No go. Go on other Apple TV apps though.  I will have to do a little test to see if optical audio from Apple TV through the TV  to Sonos is better, same or worse that audio via WIFI.

 

What I do not understand is why some folks have their PIK- ATV set ups working whereas  some of us get random black screens. The very best cables made no difference. Apple told me that the problem is not hardware related but rather the PIK software or at the Modem level.

 

If anyone out there has any guidance, we would appreciate hearing from you.  My readings indicate that DirecTV - Apple TV has black screen problems too. 

PBA
Connector
Still not been able to get HomePods working with the Pik App, even though I've got my Apple TV set to output to them. All my other Apple TV Apps work with the HomePods, and I'm not aware of any technical reason why the Pik TV App would not either.

However, notice how you can't swipe down on the remote to get the audio menu? It might be that Telus developers disabled that gesture? Or maybe a limitation in how the Telus backend encodes or streams the audio/video to the app.

Anyway, I do hope this gets fixed in an App update soon!
Nivende2
Connector

So you do not have any black screen issues ?  If not I am wondering what ATV settings you are using for picture ?  I can not figure out why I have this problem and yet others do not seem to .  

 

Essentially after about 1.5 hrs or so the screen just goes black.  Not the biggest problem in the world as some how  I have not been interrupted while watching hockey. Maybe that is a clue but who knows what it is. 

 

My sound issues are covered because my Sonos is  wired into the ATV.  I can also use WIFI sound via Airplay 2 but not with the PIK app.