Fibe TV Rant Thread - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #1 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-05, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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Fibe TV Rant Thread

I got a sales call the other night from a telemarketer pushing Bell's Fibe bundle. She claimed it was now available in my area (Pharmacy & Ellesmere in Toronto - I have my doubts but it's academic anyway, as it turns out - read on). I listened to her pitch because I'm tired of paying Rogers around $100 a month for TV. Trouble with Fibe is that Bell is, in the year 2011, _still_ playing those stupid "theme pack" games that I've grown to despise from Rogers. The few desirable channels are scattered amongst multiple theme packs of dreck. Why are we still playing this game in this day and age? It turns out that in order to get the channels I do want I'll end up paying a buck or two more than I'm paying Rogers now. Yes, I know the picture quality of Fibe is supposed to be great, but in order to switch to Fibe, I'm looking at up-front costs for installation and equipment so I expect Fibe, as the new kid on the block seeking to take away my business from Rogers, to beat Rogers' pricing by a solid $15-20 or so monthly.

As for the internet service that's part of the Fibe bundle, the monthly traffic limit on Fibe 12 is - wait for it - 50 GB. Are you kidding me? 50 measly GB monthly in the year 2011? I get a 200 GB monthly cap now on my 5 Mb DSL from Teksavvy for $32 a month, and if I paid $40 I'd have no cap at all. None. Period. It floors me that Bell thinks they have a shot at my business with idiotic limits like these.

Looks like I'm stuck with Rogers. Again. The idiots that apparently run Bell need to get a clue or two before they get anything other than my phone business from me.
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post #2 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-05, 08:16 PM
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I could be wrong here, but I think some of the reason for the theme packs are regulatory and a result of CRTC regulations. I'm not too familiar with Rogers' packages since I went without TV at home for the last 5 or 6 years; but I find Bell's packages are pretty fairly distributed, hardly scattered.

I was previously with Rogers for internet, but cancelled because I was getting sick of the monthly bandwidth caps with overages. I was going to go with TekSavvy, but I realized that most of my bandwidth usage was for movies and TV, which has now been replaced by Fibe. Now that I have Fibe with TMN/HBO, I haven't been using more than 15 GB/month. Plus I can actually watch shows when they're on now, rather than wait til someone posts them to the scene.
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post #3 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-06, 11:19 PM Thread Starter
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First, of all, LOL and hats off to the admin who retitled my post. Well played, sir.

Next, in response to WIll_TO : I'm pretty sure that anything CRTC-mandated is already in the basic channel group, which you get (along with the timeshifting group) at the Starter level priced at $27/month. (I'm getting my info directly from Bell's Fibe TV Guide, btw.) Theme packs are by definition options we pick and choose from, therefore anything in them is also by definition not mandatory.

Let's look at Fibe's theme packs to (hopefully) show what I mean: Take news channels as an example. Fibe has a "News and Views" theme pack which gives you CNN, HLN (aka CNN headline), BNN (Bell's own business channel) CP24 and good old "fair and balanced" Fox News. But wait - it also includes History Television (or, as we call it here, "Hitlery"). This isn't a "news" channel or a "views" channel. What's it doing there? And wait again - where's MSNBC? Or CNBC? They are in another theme pack called "Learning and News" together with National Geographic, the Biography channel, iChannel, Book Television, Investigation Discovery and - wait for it - G4, Comcast's abysmal "gaming lifestyle" channel. Why does, say Fox News, rate a slot in the first group while MSNBC does not? Your guess is as good as mine. But wait again - where's BBC World News? Why, it's in a third theme pack called "Knowledge and News" along with Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet and Science channel.

See what they've done? If you want the news channels, you spring for no less than three theme packs to get them. If you want Animal Planet, Discovery and National Geographic (which, to my mind, belong together thematically) that's two theme packs. Let's move on to sports. The "Sports Zone" theme pack consists of TSN, Speed channel (car racing - yawn) and NFL network. That's it. So basically a whole theme pack is consumed by TSN plus filler. If you want Rogers' sports channels or the Score, they're off in the "Sports Fan" theme pack.

So, let's recap. If you want the sports channels that logically belong together plus the news channels that belong together, you're in for five theme packs and counting. I could go on. Why, for example, does a theme pack called "Sports Feed" include the Military Channel? It makes no more sense than putting Hitlery in with the news channels.

So, WIll_TO, do you still stand by your characterization of Bell's theme packs as "pretty fairly distributed, hardly scattered"? To me it's crystal clear that the nonsensical mix of channels in Bell's theme packs is expressly designed to force customers to order a maximal amount of theme packs (and thereby shell out a maximum amount of $$$) in order to get the channels they want, whatever their interest may be - news, sports, nature, etc. etc.

Discussion of internet bandwith caps is probably off topic here, but I salute you if you live within 15 GB monthly. I just checked my Teksavvy DSL usage - I'm around 15 GB already for January. I subscribe to Netflix and each hour of video at maximum resolution is around 2.4 GB. I download video podcasts that run around 400-500 Mb per show compessed with h264. I download numerous Linux ISOs running from a few hundred Mb to a full DVD in size, 4.4 GB. Most months I end up using a little bit north of 100 GB and that includes no shady material from the so-called "scene". As I make more use of Netflix in the months ahead (because I recently got a video game console to stream through) I fully expect my bandwidth usage to go up.

Barring a wholesale change of corporate policy by Bell (fat chance!), Fibe is a non-starter for me.
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post #4 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-12, 07:01 PM
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I just wrote a long reply, but apparently this forum logged me out automatically and then when I clicked back it was all gone... so I'm not re-writing.

key points were just that I think there are other CRTC restrictions aside from mandatory carry (ie. number of US channels per pack; explaining why CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CNBC, HLN, etc... can't be in the same pack)

Also, that I understand the bandwidth issues, I just found my disappeared once I got TV, with TMN and a PVR plus on-demand, I have no need for netflix.

and for theme packs, they are fair for me... but I suppose everyone's different. I have 7 theme packs + tmn and have no interest in any channels I'm not getting.

But yeah, best of luck in finding your perfect TV/internet solution... seems hard to come by here in the great white north
WIll_TO is offline  
post #5 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-12, 08:36 PM
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Not sure for ontario but in montreal we have:

Fibe 10 limit is 75 gigs
Fibe 16 limit is 90 gigs
5$ per 40 gigs xtra you take.

For TV we have "a la carte" selection.
The starter basic package is 18$, which is pretty good considering it includes the US networks.. Then, after that we have:
15$ for 15 channels
20$ for 19 channels
22$ for 30 channels

The problem is not all channels are in the "a la carte" lineup. Videotron has a much better "a la carte" lineup. I totally agree with you that packages are stupid.
herba is offline  
post #6 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-14, 05:15 PM
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Gun 26: Who the heck wants to have 6 different news channels in 1 theme pack ??? Do you really watch 6 different news channels ? Seems like 1 or 2 would be enough to cover the day's news...which then makes more sense to divide them into different packs...I do agree with you however that the cable company will try to maximize the amount of packs the customer would want to purchase...its business 101, unfortunately for us. The TSN pack also includes RDS (which carries all Habs games for those who care)...

In a perfect world you would pay for every channel you want separately and end up with about 15-20 channels and a very modest bill...
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post #7 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-15, 10:17 PM
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no. in a perfect world they'd give you access to all the content and then bill you according to what (and how much) you watched that month. this way, you get to watch whatever's on and never have to pay for what you dont.
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post #8 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-17, 03:52 PM
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To be honest, I'm thinking of dropping back to 3 theme packs from 7. I'm not a huge sports fan, and aside from that there aren't too many other HD channels in theme packs. News pack with CNN, News pack wth MSNBC and the package with Oasis, Equator, Treature would probably do.

With that said, I'd probably switch to 7 or 8 theme packs again if they started getting the HD versions of some of the channels that I know are out there.

Of course, no matter what I'd be paying the $20-25 for TMN/HBO.... That's gotta be the best pack out there.
WIll_TO is offline  
post #9 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-19, 04:46 PM
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Oh, I'm more than familiar with the games that both Rogers and Bell play with theme packs, such as taking channels that logically go together and then scattering them amongst umpteen unrelated theme packs (for at least some channels anyway -- no logic whatsoever). Some channels are available a la carte, but I think most of us are sick of these theme pack shenanigans.
ErikBRak1m is offline  
post #10 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-19, 04:49 PM
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@ Will TO

I wish they would offer BBC in high-definition; I'm a huge Top Gear fan. I end up looking for episodes in high-definition on YouTube when I get really desperate. I also wonder if and when History Channel is going to be offered in high-definition. That one is way overdue.

I'm also itching to get the TMN-Movie Pack, although I really think that I would end up watching more shows on HBO, amc, and TCM than on anywhere else. Even for the expense, it is a pretty good pack. Almost makes me wonder if the Super Channel Pack would be worth it...probably not. $10 less and a not-so-good movie channel, but with all the other aforementioned goodies.
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post #11 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-20, 12:49 AM
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Hi Erik,

Totally agree with BBC in HD, Bold HD would be great too (it exists on Rogers, I think).

The TMN movie pack is well worth the money. I checked out Superchannel during my free preview month, but didn't find much on it that interested me. Boardwalk Empire, Real Time, Bored To Death, Hung make HBO worthwhile on their own, plus all the comedy specials, docs, and all the TMN movies... Fantastic!
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post #12 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-20, 12:34 PM
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Well, this is definitely rant worthy!

Just discovered something nasty this week that I was hitherto unaware: AMC, TCM, and HBO (along with every channel on The Movie Network) no longer allow recording! Strangely enough, this also applies to the Treasure HD channel and all the channels in that pack. So, if you're following a series like The Walking Dead or Mad Men on AMC, you can't record the series anymore! That definitely sucks!

So if I can't record those shows from Bell anymore, then I'll have to go on the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, or somewhere else and just download it. Seems a bit daft to me. What is the point of having a PVR if I can't record a series, especially since we all know there's going to be a night when we can't catch an episode?
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ErikBRak1m is offline  
post #13 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-20, 02:13 PM
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This is a very new change in that case, I've been recording TMN/HBO since I got my service, as recently as this past week.

I ran into this with the Bell Fireplace Channel (I know it's odd that I was even wanting to record that...) As well, you cannot of course record TMN on demand.

With that said, I have scheduled recordings still set for HBO/TMN and they still seem to exist in my upcoming recordings.. I'm not at my TV right now, but I'll check when I get home today to see if I can duplicate. In the meantime, you should give Bell a call and verify whether this is a mistake or intentional! If intentional I will also be calling very unhappily.
WIll_TO is offline  
post #14 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-20, 02:47 PM
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Hi Will,

Yeah, I don't subscribe to those channels yet, so I don't know if that has something to do with it, but when I go to look up "INFO" on one of those channels, it states in yellow that the channel "does not allow recording." Makes sense for the aquarium/fireplace channel and on-demand channels, but do let us know if you can determine if that change is applicable to, say, a "new" series you want to record that you aren't recording currently. Maybe your old recordings have "grandfathered" into it. LOL!
ErikBRak1m is offline  
post #15 of 179 (permalink) Old 2011-01-20, 02:51 PM
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ErikBRak1m, any channel you don't subscribe to will say "doesn't allow recording". Everything will be fine once you subscribe.
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