As many of you may know, I’ve been an avid Zazeen supporter and many of you have seen the battles between myself and George on these very forums. A month or so ago, I noticed a very good promotional offer from Vmedia and decided that I would, out of my own pocket, sign up for this promo and do a review of Vmedia services.
It did not start out so well. My first attempt, I spent a few hours trying to process an order through their website. I could never make it past a certain point because of a glitch in their ordering process. I sent in a ticket, tried to sign up on their forums (which you cannot do unless you are a confirmed customer, and even then, your account will only be activated on your install date) and tried their online chat support. I even had difficulty getting to their online chat support as apparently the bug that was keeping me from continuing the ordering process was also telling me that chat support was closed. It wasn’t until I clicked back to the homepage that I could navigate my way back to the online chat support option and proceed.
Online chat support was less than helpful. I had to repeat myself several times and while they had the ability to process my order manually, they couldn’t quite understand that I wanted to process it online. We ended the chat with a promise of a callback the next day. I emailed Georg Burger with the problems I was facing in great detail as well.
I will say that this is where Vmedia shines. I not only received a callback and email the next day as a result of my online chat session and online ticket submission but I also received emails and a callback from Matt in regards to me reaching out to Mr. Burger.
It did take some time and cooperation but eventually we were able to connect and had a couple of teamviewer/skype sessions to narrow down and remediate the website glitches within the ordering process. Matt and the Vmedia team as a whole was very eager to investigate and fix these issues. I was very impressed with the level of urgency and importance that was placed.
After some discussion, it was decided that I would be given a one month free trial to review Vmedia’s products and services. I know that I typically have a reputation of being pro-Zazeen by some, however, in reality I am pro-Canadian Consumer. While it is true that I have a healthy distaste for Incumbent providers, I also will always provide a fair and balanced review. If a product offering is good, I will definitely champion it. If that happens to be an Independent offering, I will shout from the rooftops as many of you have seen me do with Zazeen. It is my hope to be able to do the same with Vmedia here.
The ordering process with Matt was painless. I have an install date and received multiple automated emails from Vmedia informing me of the date and time, equipment shipment, account info, etc. All of the normal things you would expect when you place an order. There is nothing really to report here. All standard practice.
I received my equipment today. I was impressed at the branding on the boxes but I did have to wonder to myself that instead of spending that money on marketing, as an independent provider, perhaps those funds could have been more equitably dispersed in other areas of the company. We all know, and have heard Mr. Burger state several times that budgetary constraints are a main protagonist of IISP’s, so this left me quite conflicted. It does look very professional—even moreso than the Incumbents and leaves a very good first impression, I personally believe the marketing budget could take a hit and those funds would be better invested elsewhere.
Here are my unboxing pics:
The tech came on the install date and within the allotted time for the install. I won’t say much about the install as it’s typical of any IISP and completely out of Vmedia’s control whatsoever.
I was not intending on writing anything at all about the installation process, however there were issues—not on the Bell tech’s part but on Vmedia’s end with the autoconfiguration process they have with their modems.
I was getting line sync, good line stats but no internet access. I informed Matt of this and he informed me they needed to submit a Bell ticket to resolve. It was only after I forced the issue and kept asking questions and manually reconfigured the modem that the connection actually worked. This was 24 hours after the initial install. While Matt was very responsive, especially seeing it was a weekend, there really was no need for this delay.
I finally got to the point where I could setup the Vbox and actually review the service. Please keep in mind that I am viewing this on a 65” 4k tv so minor blemishes show front and center and are very prominent whereas on a smaller set, they may not be as noticeable. I do have to be honest and say that what I saw was disappointing. I do have to give kudos for broadcasting 5.1 audio, which is something Zazeen doesn't do, however picture quality is severely lacking compared to any other provider out there.
I spent some time watching different programs on different channels and Vmedia’s “HD” channels are at best SD. Pixelation, artifacts, drop outs, audio sync issues, etc etc are all very prevalent across the board. Forget about watching sports or anything with lots of action or movement on the screen as it just becomes one big blur. Both hockey and football on TSN and Sportsnet, in my opinion, are completely unwatchable.
I again emailed both George and Matt of my findings, thinking that perhaps there was an issue with my dsl connection. I get a reply from George that was actually meant for Matt saying he is going to “fire me immediately,” as in terminate the trial. I’ve pastied the whole chain here, including my attempts to reach out to resolve/understand that statement which go unanswered up to the point of Vmedia sending me notice that they are terminating the trial and demanding their equipment back.
Here is the pastie of the chain as well as a pastie of their termination notice after my repeated attempts at reaching out to them once George conducted his bluder:
The end result? I didn’t get to do as complete a review as I would have liked. I wanted to test apps, test out the reports of throttling, monitor bandwidth consumption used, test out the PVR. Unfortunately, George decided to allow his paranoia to kick in and, as a direct result of his own incompetent emailing skills, thwarted yet another attempt at someone trying to assist Vmedia in giving them some much needed positive publicity. What he has now down, again through no one’s fault but his own, has created another very public, very negative situation for Vmedia.
Final thoughts? Vmedia has a lot of work to do, even compared to their next closest rival Zazeen. They are miles behind any incumbent in terms of stability or quality. All of this can be easily overcome through time and investment and proper use of their funding.
Last but not least, George Burger. I’ve said this since the beginning and it’s illustrated in this interaction very well. George is not the person to be involved with this company in any sort of public facing role or management role whatsoever. He needs to stick to what he’s good at and allow someone who is competent enough and has the requisite background and experience to be the Director of Vmedia. That is not a dig at Mr. Burger, it is my opinion as someone who now has first hand with his product and his interactions with customers.