Comparing Telus Optik to Shaw Cable - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-12, 02:09 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Calgary SonyTVs,ShawGateway&6Portals DCX3400&3200, 2x Harmony One
Posts: 3,596
Comparing Telus Optik to Shaw Cable

It has been suggested a new thread be started to compare these two competing offerings so here it is. I can't speak to the Telus Optik service but if there are one or more members who can and are willing to post here, I am willing to offer up what I know about Shaw's Gateway as I own one with a total of 4 Portals.

This is not meant as a 'bash one system or the other', rather a 'what can each system do for me' thread.

Any takers?

If you can then do rather than not. You're your own worst enemy. They're parking their car over there.

Last edited by Jetranger; 2011-09-12 at 02:41 AM. Reason: Telus Optik, Shaw Gateway, compare
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-12, 07:09 AM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Richmond, B.C.
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Optik vs. Gateway

Hello all, what a wonderful group of people.

First time poster, long time lurker.

I have been looking into the differences between Optik and the Shaw Gateway for quite a while now, and if my understandings are correct, then the following conclusions seem to make sense.

TELUS Optik is delivered over a relatively small pipe, only big enough to deliver 2-3 HD channels and some Internet. Six tuners is just not possible at this time. But, since the TV turners are effectively at the TELUS facility, and not within the home, Optik has the potential of delivering their 2-3 HD streams from a pool of potentially hundreds or even thousands of HD channels.

Shaw, on the other hand, with its hybrid fiber/coax infrastructure offers every one of their channels at the end of the cable that come into the house. With the right combination of splitters and amplifiers, Shaw could deliver separate content to dozens of TV sets within a house, or to each of the six tuners in the gateway. But, the total number of HD channels available in the pipe is limited by its bandwidth.

I understand that with the move of analog channels to digital, bandwidth will be freed up to offer more HD channels. However, the potential will never be there to offer as many HD channels as Optik "potentially" can.

So, it seems to me that if you want the most HD channels, Optik may have the advantage.

But, if it is more important to have six tuners, or more than 2-3 TV sets watching live TV, the Shaw Gateway would be the better choice. And then of course, there is the potential to access content on your LAN and all those other neat features as well. I am much more exited about the gateway for my home than I am with Optik. I will just wait a little longer.

I hope that I am fully on topic here and that my posting is appropriate.

Many thanks to all those who contribute.

Last edited by hugh; 2011-09-12 at 03:54 PM. Reason: Moved to existing thread
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-12, 08:37 AM
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Relevant threads to review before commenting

I would ask that people be objective when posting here and stick to the facts. Rants will be removed.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-12, 02:17 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Victoria, BC
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My reasons...

I waited and waited for Optik to become available in my neighbourhood - for almost a year. Sadly - Telus serves the neighbourhood right behind me, while I couldn't get it.

So, here I was - "stuck" with Shaw, unable to go back to Bell (my otherwise first choice) because the complex I own in has decided that dishes aren't allowed (and yes, I know of the "ways" to deal with those sorts of restrictions ), and willing to go to Telus because of the greater flexibility, much more modern and sophisticated program IPG and recording management, and "whole home" focus, yet it wasn't available to me.

I was looking to switch because Shaw was falling behind every year; as a company, they didn't seem to be embracing the concepts and paradigms that their competitors were leveraging to pass them in the marketplace.

Then the Gateway came along - I read up on the feature set and was satisfied that the technology was sound enough, and flexible enough, to do what I want from my TV provider. I am also excited by the promise of the tie-in with DLNA media servers already on my IP network.

So, here I am - a few weeks in - generally impressed with the Gateway's performance, but wary that the promises made by Shaw will actually be delivered on. After all - even the packaging that the Gateway comes in touts DLNA!

In case Shaw isn't already aware - there's a lot at stake if they don't deliver. The least of which is my business.

Some deficiencies in my mind with the current Gateway (and to a certain degree, Shaw itself):

- No DLNA support as a media player (as already mentioned)
- No remote EPG and recording from mobile phone or web browser
- Need for more flexibility in the organization of recordings (already discussed in this forum)
- No PIP??
- Less than stellar HD channel assortment (why can I not get CBC News Network, Space, TCM and OLN in HD? C'mon Shaw - negotiate!)
- Better time-shifted representation of *Canadian* HD programming

My 2 cents...
SnowGoose is offline  
post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-12, 03:14 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Burnaby
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HD picture versus non-HD

tornado6975 and SnowGoose's postings made a lot of sense to me... I now understand that an important criteria to factor in in deciding between Gateway and Optik is how many simultaneous live HD viewing are common practice in the home + other Gateway versus Optik trimmings.

I have not had a chance to watch the quality of a gateway's output of both SD and HD, however, one thing is clear to me after I watched my friend's Opik TV on samsung 60 inch TV..... HD is the only way to watch cos' I could not stand to watch excessive compression of SD. For those who owned gateway, are you able to endure the inferior images of SD of the gateway... guess.. my question is the gateway SD better that Optik SD?
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-12, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 10
I switched from Optik to Shaw Gateway.

I signed up for Optik Mediaroom the minute it was available and left Shaw Direct(Starchoice). Had both hooked up for a while so I could do A-B comparison. Satellite was clearly superior picture but not enough to keep. Optik had superior features. After an "update" to Optik mediaroom, The picture quality went downhill substantially, Contrast dropped creating a washed out picture, Black levels diminished and the picture got a little softer.

Now have Optik and Gateway side by side and Shaw is clearly superior. I am putting some faith that Shaw will deliver the DLNA remote recordings soon. I have some problems with the strange UI decisions but am getting familiar with it. If the Broadcom Chip is as powerful as claimed it should be able to offer several customizations in Recordings organization , Guide size(currently too small) etc., etc.,

I am having a lot of pausing, audio glitches freezing but have not called in yet.

Also agree need more HD channels and timeshifting ability among HD Networks, This is a definite negative. I miss the HD network timeshifting available with Telus.

I have 3 HD TVs and I want clear HD programming on expensive TVs that are made for HD not SD.

Ask me questions on my opinion of Gateway PQ vs Optik. if you like.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-12, 05:48 PM
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Location: Sry/Cloverdale, BC Epson 8350 & 110" Screen... Shaw Gateway & 5 Portals... PS-3 & Harmony One
Posts: 265
For clarification, I know that Shaw's Gateway service has no impact on the internet speeds. Running Broadband 50, the phone and Gateway appear all independant and do not affect each other.

Is this the case with Optik?

I also went with the gateway because of the promise of DLNA... It has been stated already that this is an upcoming feature - to reneg would kill a major part of this system for me.

The only weakness with Shaw, aside from their current telephone service which I have been assured is temporary, is their lack of HD Channels. I have 4 HDTV's and only watch HD. Timeshifting and significantly more choice is the priority for me. Again, Shaw has promised a fix with the reallocation of bandwidth, blah, blah, blah....

I don't really care why, I just want more channels... Shaw is lagging badly behind the curve in this area...

I like being retired, it gives me lots of time to make trouble...
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-12, 08:04 PM
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Location: YVR
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Internet speeds on Optik are definately affected by what you are watching on TV. That is why I am considering switching from Telus to the Gateway. In my area, only 1 HD and 2 SD streams available. With all TV's off I get like 12mbps, with SD boxes on maybe goes to 10, with HD, drops even more.

With Telus it all depends on how your area is wired and how close you are to their CO or little neighbourhood mini-CO boxes. Some new buildings are wired with fibre for Telus, and then I doubt internet speed changes. In other areas like mine, using the internet makes a big difference.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-13, 12:58 AM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 243
Is this a thread about PQ and channel selection? I thought it was about side to side comparison about Gateway and Mediaroom. Anyway, for those that don't know, Shaw wins in PQ (minus audio drops) and TELUS wins with channel selection. There, now that we got that out of the way...

I find Mediaroom to lag a bit in commands, but I'm told that a software update is coming (when?), so I'll let that part go. Recordings are great from the living room to the bedroom, as in I can access them. However, commands are a bit slow in PVR mode in the bedroom, more or less because of the slave box accessing the PVR over the network.

I don't care for how I have to go into a series of menus to access the aspect ratio, so dedicating one button would make my life a bit easier.

I find the VOD easy to use, no problems there. The unit is quiet, doesn't run too hot, and really takes up no space.

Feature-wise, the PIP is a nice feature, decent amount of HDD space (have yet to fill it up), and the games room XBOX doubles as a receiver.

Having call display is a nice feature, but not a huge selling point, and neither is Facebook on Optik.

Musicroom is pretty cool, as it keeps all the audio services lumped into a menu driven screen.

More on recordings - yes, you can have 3HD/1SD total, and it's nice having the ability to record 3HD, but I rarely have 3 recordings going at once. Recordings are setup to fire 1 minute early and end 2 minutes late. With that, another recording starting on the same channel back to back isn't cut off, as it just starts another file (recording) on the HDD, with the padding intact.

The Optik app on my iPhone is simply the best thing. If I forget a recording, I can set it anywhere.

Really, it's PVR anywhere, and if you're on the 3HD/1SD profile, there's hardly a problem with recording, watching live TV, and internet surfing (unless you're downloading a ton of movies at one time).

I never thought I'd be an IPTV customer, but after having Mediaroom for a month, I doubt I'd go back to Shaw. Maybe if their channel selection and customer service improves, but for now, I'm quite happy. Oh, and TELUS is the only place out west I can get MuchMoreRetro (yes, it's important to me).

One last thing...I didn't have to lay out a single cent for ANY of my equipment. Sure, they're FREE rentals, but by the time I'm done with 'em, I don't want 'em, as there's always something better down the road.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-13, 09:12 PM
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I forgot to add - lightening fast channel changes. It's like your on analog cable changing's that fast.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-19, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Calgary SonyTVs,ShawGateway&6Portals DCX3400&3200, 2x Harmony One
Posts: 3,596
Excel grid for comparison

Here is a grid with some side by side comparisons that was sent to me. The author has a Gateway system and has taken most of the Optik info from posts in the Telus forum and this thread. If anyone can add to this or fill in some of the blanks, you can send them to me and I will add them to this document so it doesn't have to be posted multiple times.

Note: I had to save the file and launch my older version of excel first then it would convert and open the grid. If you don't have the converter installed yet you can download it for free from Microsoft(I think most people will have done this at some time by now)
Attached Files
File Type: zip Gateway vs Optik (8.9 KB, 267 views)

If you can then do rather than not. You're your own worst enemy. They're parking their car over there.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-21, 08:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 8
Channel changing speed?

The above zip file mentions Optik still has the best channel changing speed - no delay. Did latest firmware update improve this on Shaw Gateway?

We now use Shaw and have an old DCT6208 (or similar). The delay to change channels is annoying and one of the big things that sells us on Optik. Before we take the jump though I thought I should investigate Gateway as far as possible.

Compared to our old motorola box there will be big improvements in menus (esp. since latest firmware on gateway), and improvements in storage, but it would be nice to get faster channel changes too.

For channel changing (not menu, just next/prev channel)
- Optik is faster than Gateway - noticable?
- how does Gateway compare to the old Motorola boxes?

digitalal is offline  
post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-21, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Calgary SonyTVs,ShawGateway&6Portals DCX3400&3200, 2x Harmony One
Posts: 3,596
Welcome to DHC digitalal, Channel changes when going between previously tuned channels is almost instant but there is a slight delay when tuning to a new channel. It's no more than 1 second so I wouldn't call it an issue. I have my Portals set to 1080i output only as is recommended.

I just checked the channel changing experience on my 3400 and it takes at least twice as long to change to a different channel. Going back to a 'last' channel is slightly quicker but still slower than the Gateway.

I don't know anyone with Telus Optic to compare for myself so I can't comment on it's speed.

If you can then do rather than not. You're your own worst enemy. They're parking their car over there.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-22, 04:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Vancouver
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Thanks for the welcome and the info on channel changing delay.

I timed my 6208 box last night and changes were between 1 and 2 seconds. Quite slow! It does sound like the gateway is better. I do hear that Optik is almost instantaneous though (but haven't seen it).
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 2011-09-22, 04:36 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 243
Someone asked me to post a youtube video showing the uber-fast channel changes for Optik, but instead I did a search and found videos of channel changes for mediaroom. Perhaps I'll post one for TELUS, but I find it unnecessary to clog the internet with another video of basically the same thing.
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gateway , optik , shaw cable , telus

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