: My Observations and Experience on FibeTV
2010-06-27, 01:43 PM
We have now had Fibe TV since Wednesday evening. The Bell installers called when they were supposed to tell us they would be working outside on the line. They said we would lose internet for about 5 mins. (was more like 15).. then they showed up at the door.
Three vans with three installers - there was some training going on here! They put on their booties so nothing would get dirty and then we went through a checklist of what they would be doing. Very thorough and explained everything.
I now have an HD PVR and 2 HD set top boxes (it seems all the boxes support HD). They all talk to the PVR. The PVR and one of the set top boxes are attached to HD screens, the other to one 20" Toshiba with Colour Stream. I did note that I could watch a HD recorded show on the Toshiba - it down converts.. nice touch!
The Menu system beats the crap out of the Rogers system - it's translucent and covers the whole screen(in HD).
It also allows you to customize the guide so you don't have to see channels that you are not subscribed to.
The PIP on the guide allows you to see what is in the other channel as you search through the channels.
I did notice that you do not have a "schedule reminder" which Rogers has (and I thought most able boxes).
Another observation is that you have to tell the set top box what HD format to accept for that TV (1080i or 720p). You cannot allow the signal to flow through to the HDTV which would then decide how to output the signal.
Still playing with everything..
I have to say that the installers were great and so far I'm pleased with the picture quality + sound.
2010-06-28, 11:42 AM
I am wondering how much recording of HD can be done at once without crashing the system or causing problems. First how many channels can you record at once. How many of these in HD.
2010-06-28, 01:12 PM
The manual states that you can control 2 HD and 2 SD streams concurrently. Haven't tried it yet.
i.e. watch 1 live program and record 3 others (again taking into account 2 HD and 2 SD)
2010-06-28, 05:03 PM
@Harryhoo, I've had Mediaroom running on a VIP1216 and VIP1200 with MTS for about 6 months. It's normal for me to record 3 channels at once while watching a recorded program on the PVR. The system works very well although it does pause once in a while for a second or two.
I'm hoping somebody who already has FibeTV can answer a question that Bell hasn't been able to...can you prevent one of the mate boxes from accessing the PVR functionality?
I have a tenant and provide them TV service but I don't want them to have access to my recordings, etc. Thanks.
2010-07-13, 03:15 PM
Brez, I'm using Mediaroom with MTS which is the same software as FibeTV. There is no way to disable that Mediaroom feature.
On a per-STB basis, you can lock out rentals and you have parental controls to lock out individual channels, but there no feature to prevent access to the PVR.
2010-07-13, 09:14 PM
Brez it's not possible. Put it this way, if you were to put all receivers in a cabinet, you would have no idea which one you were using was the PVR unless you tried to pause, since the HD boxes can't pause, that's it. Or I guess if you went to the menu and system settings. The PVR doesn't have any extra functions or menus or anything. The settings are very basic and the same on all boxes. Here they are:
- Descriptive Video
- Digital audio ( to pick stereo or surround )
- On-screen language
- System information
- Need assistance? ( Just the tech support #)
- Customize channel guide (delete channels you don't want to show up)
- Favourite channels (there's a favourite button the remote, this adds them)
- Guide style (shows a grid vs one channel with all shows)
- Screen aspect ratio and HD (picks what resolution 4:3, 720p, etc)
- Closed captioning
- Parental locking (Just lets you lock specific channels or ratings)
- Rental locking
That's it my friend! It's not even themed, it uses the bright blue Bell colour, but doesn't even show the Bell logo anywhere. The Telus IPTV and others always show the Telus logo. You only see it here when you reboot the system or on the settings page.
That's too bad! I guess I'll have to stop providing them TV...Thanks for the replies.
I do think it would be a good feature though...prevent my kids from filling up the PVR with Justin Beiber and whatnot.
2010-07-15, 09:24 PM
they issue firmware updates right? maybe it is possible to add it in the future
2010-07-24, 11:56 AM
OK, So it's been a month since they installed the service and it was time to tell Bell which theme packs I wanted and/or other programming (i.e. which plan, movie packs..etc)
I originally asked for the starter plan - this would be basic (including HD) and the Time-Shifting Pack. However, we decided on 3 theme packs as well (Knowledge and News, Entertainment and Variety). I phoned up the number they gave me and talked to a rep. who seemed to know all about this. Everything seems fine at the end of the call.
Waited 2 days until my free preview month was finished and tried to access Discovery HD (part of the Knowledge and News Pack) - no luck, not subscribed. Did some channel hopping and found that I was subscribed to National Geographic HD (part of the Learning and News Pack) . It seems the rep had attached to wrong "XXXXXX and News Pack". Maybe they should have News in only one pack so that the customer doesn't get the wrong one.
Called up Bell and mentioned I had the wrong News pack - very nice rep said that usually you can't change your packs within 30 days! I mentioned that the previous rep had given me the wrong pack to start. All was good - he changed it.
I then mentioned I was no longer getting CBC and CTV Montreal and Vancouver.. and it seems many other time shifting channels. He tried several times to enable them (with a reboot of my PVR ) - it's weird because I was getting Global Halifax and CBC Fredericton SD.
Finally he passed me over to a tech in Ottawa who took a look and fixed it saying that it was "Time-Shifting Ontario" and not "Time-Shifting Toronto" that I wanted. I didn't know there was a time-shifting for Toronto.
I wonder if there's a time-shift package for Montreal and Quebec (even though we are all in the same time zone!!)
Anyway, the end result being I have what I wanted - Basic + HD, Time Shifting and 3 theme packs but it was like pulling teeth!! with over 45 minutes on the phone.
The actual picture (HD) has been on par with Rogers. The PVR is fantastic (VIP1232) - I believe the 32 denotes 320GB HDD if I read my Motorola specs correctly. My wife loves the idea of accessing recorded shows from the other STB in the basement. The Guide is so much better than what we had with Rogers (it's translucent and 16x9)
Sorry to ramble on but I thought some people might be interested in my trials and tribulations.
2010-08-08, 12:44 AM
Question to new users that have the new FibeTV HD-PVR boxes... do they have eSATA ports to add an external HDD for additional storage? I have the Vantec enclosure with a WD 1TB drive currently being used for the Rogers HD-PVR and would like to use it for the Bell PVR when I switch over. Any problems?
Secondly, there are a few programs on the HDD, will my Rogers PVR be able to access them when I disconnect the Rogers cable service? I'm pretty sure I'll lose the save programs if I transfer the HDD over to the new Bell PVR.
BTW they advertise over 100hrs of HD storage... what is that in terms of Mb space?
I get the impression that the interface is vastly superior to the Rogers UI, any drawbacks?
2010-08-08, 01:09 AM
Is there a eSata port at the rear for external hdd expansion?
How is the guide compared to Rogers? Will it extend recording times automatically if the program runs long or is delayed or runs 5mins late into the program like tivo does? Does it have the problem that Rogers had with titling the same program with slightly different titles like abbreviations or adding HD or 5.1 designations? Is it smart enough to only record first-run episodes from the current season at the earliest possible opportunity like TiVo?
2010-08-08, 01:40 AM
@wm_cheng, please don't post the same questions in multiple threads - read the rules on cross-posting. I've merged your threads.
The Fibe TV boxes do not have an eSATA port and do not support external storage at this time. The Fibe TV PVR has a 320GB hard drive. Fibe TV uses MPEG-4 compression which takes much less space than the MPEG-2 compression that Rogers uses.
The guide is accurate to the minute, if a program ends at 9:02, the PVR will record to 9:02. Actually the PVR uses soft-padding - it starts 1 minute early and end 2 minutes late. You can manually add extra time to the end of a program such as sporting events. If the schedule is wrong because of a earlier sporting event going overtime and throwing off the rest of the schedule, the PVR can't correct for that on the fly.
The scheduler doesn't use the program title. Mediaroom uses the Tribune Media guide data just like TiVo. It contains a unique program id for scheduling (which you can't see). If you schedule a series, all the episodes are put into a folder to keep them together.
You have a choice of "First Run" or "First Run and Rerun". It will not record an episode if it has already been recorded. However, if you watch an episode and delete it, it will be recorded again if it plays again in the same week as a "First Run".
If you disconnect your Rogers service it may be possible to watch recorded programs for a limited time such as 30 days. The best way to do this is to disconnect the coax cable from the PVR the day before the service ends so Rogers can't deactivate the box. The best place to ask questions about Rogers PVRs is in the Rogers forum. Here's a thread on the topic:
Cancelled Account: Access to 8300HD PVR (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=934689&highlight=disconnected#post934689)
2010-08-08, 02:35 PM
Thanks so much Dr. Dave!
Sorry about the multiple threads thing, I posted the question first before I found this "Observations" thread, then thought it should go here more appropriately. Thanks for consolidating.
I really does look like a step up from Rogers - at least on paper. Does the TV ever go down? The Rogers cable never goes down, but my internet connection sometimes does - will this FibeTV be as reliable as the internet connection or is it more reliable?
Now if only Rogers will release me, I may have a 12 month contract - will have to check.
2010-08-08, 10:09 PM
@wm_cheng, I've never had Fibe TV or Rogers. I'm using Mediaroom on MTS TV and I had Shaw cable for many years. I find IPTV is as reliable as cable if not a little more reliable.
From what I've read about the Rogers guide, it's not as good as Shaw. Mediaroom is a big improvement over either one. It's not perfect, but I use it a lot and I really appreciate it.
Have you verified that Fibe TV is available in your area. Last I heard it's mainly available in the Beaches.
2010-08-08, 11:06 PM
I hope so about the reliability thing, as my internet sometimes goes down once a week or twice a month. Usually a reboot of the router and modem clears it up though.
I really hate the Rogers guide and had a lot of troubles with it reliably taping shows due to slight errors in programming titles. Plus we're really getting the shaft from Rogers lately with old grandfathered bundles being cancelled.
I do live in the Beaches, in fact there was a free ice cream truck run by Bell on our street on Saturday that was actively promoting this FibeTV. I've scheduled a consultation at my house tomorrow to further discuss details. They are offering free installation, free HD-PVR and an extra set top box for 3yrs and with Fibe25 (total thoroughput without any TVs on) and it should be the same as what I'm paying now with Rogers (are there any better promotions on at the moment?). My only hesitation is losing my Rogers HD-PVR since I purchased it out-right and my 1Tb external HDD. Not looking forward to 3yrs down the road when I have to pay for the rental. I'm thinking Bell isn't much better than Rogers and I just don't want to trade one set of problems for another.
My big questions now are still whether than are any audio handshake HDMI issues with my Yamaha RXV-3900 reciever - I remember sometime ago reading that some Motorola boxes have some slient pause when switching channels and it takes a bit for the receiver to lock in the proper audio stream via HDMI - don't know if that will be the case here until I try it. Unless anyone here have FibeTV with a Yamaha 3900 connected via HDMI?
2010-08-09, 08:54 AM
Had some picture freezing on BBC Canada yesterday + ABC HD in the morning. Jump to another channel and back and everything is fine again.
Has only happened twice in the past month.
I run HDMI from my VIP1232 to my Marantz SR7200 and have never had an audio handshake issue.
2010-08-09, 09:27 AM
I should point out that Bell charges you for Fibe 6 internet, but you get the full performance of the line, which is about 25Mbps with no TVs on. The monthly bandwidth cap is 25GB, which may be important to some people
You had asked earlier about any drawbacks. One minor inconvenience in Mediaroom is there is no slow motion or frame advance function. I was surprised since I thought every PVR had that function.
2010-09-01, 11:35 AM
After asking some questions here, I thought I'd just share my experiences so far in brief after switching from Rogers HD.
I called 2wks ago to Rogers to confirm that I could just cancel my Rogers TV at anytime without penalty - and they said yes. First mistake! They hadn't transferred me to retentions which has the whole picture. Needless to say, I had forgotten that I did indeed have a contract with Rogers - a "promotion" I had forgotten about (which didn't show up on the regular CS Rep's computer) and that I had to pay out 30days cable from when I cancel, plus $20 a month for the 4 remaining months I had left on the contract. I only found this out after I had FibeTV installed and called to cancel that day (after I had been told previously that I could cancel at anytime!). So I bit the bullet just to get rid of Rogers!
They came to install yesterday at 9am within my 8a-12p window. They were there from 9am to 4pm! They were professional, but just slow - a guy was sick and they called in some help, at one time they had 4 guys at my house. I missed the entire day of work instead of just the morning. They installed the HD-PVR in the basement (Home Theatre), the Modem in the 2nd floor workroom and a STB in the 3rd floor bedroom (SD only for now) as requested.
They demoed it to me and it looked great! The menus/UI are leaps and bounds above the Rogers HD-PVR - although I was getting 23.8Mbps when the TVs are off and I am in the Beaches area. Turned everything off to rush off to work for the end of day.
Came home and the upstairs STB was a different story - all the channels were pixellated and stuttering to the point that I couldn't watch anything. I had set the HD-PVR to record while I was away. The downstairs PVR box was fine, although I did notice a slight sound drop out every 5-10mins though which is really annoying. The PVR downstairs played the recorded material fine - but the upstairs STB couldn't stream from it either, just stuttered to the point of unwatchable. Rebooted the box, but no change. The next morning the upstairs STB could watch TV no problem, but still could not stream the PVR in the basement of recorded material, still stuttered. So now upstairs is not really watchable. I guess I'll have to call the technician again.
PQ wise, the HD stuff seemed a little bit better than Rogers. However the SD is noticeably worse than Rogers. I now believe that the Rogers HD-PVR passed the regular 480i stuff straight to my Yamaha RX-V3900 amp - and the amp did a great job upconverting. Whereas the Bell VIP1232 converts all signals including SD to 720p (or whatever I select) - when that is passed to my amp, I've set it to not process it, so what I'm seeing is what the PVR box up-converts (very jaggy!). I don't want my amp to process anything 720p or higher, but it would be nice for it to process 480i stuff, but I can't seem to set the Bell box to pass along SD broadcast un-converted.
Overall not the stellar upgrade I was hoping for. I hope to resolve the upstairs bedroom STB stuttering problem sometime soon and will update. In the meantime I've found another site with some info on my problem - apparently its not so uncommon - argh!
2010-09-01, 07:36 PM
wm_cheng: how do you have the STB' s connected together? Are you using ethernet, or coax? If it's coax, I've heard of the pixelation issue can be common with it.