Former Shaw customers, are you happy with MTS TV? - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Former Shaw customers, are you happy with MTS TV?

I am starting to think of switching my TV services from Shaw to another provider, possibly MTS, possibly by January or February.

I haven't seen described here, for MTS, the kinds of problems that I have experienced with Shaw in recent years, the kinds of problems that are still on-going and actively discussed in a number of threads over in the Shaw forums - blank 1-minute recordings, Expanders losing their contents, firmware updates messing up otherwise functioning boxes. etc. etc.

Have I just not looked far enough?

Are there any former Shaw TV customers who have switched to MTS willing to share their experiences, how the process went, how happy they are and what gotchas there might be?

It appears that I'd have to give up some functionality in switching to MTS but if that means that I can expect dependable, reliable service from the PVRs, the Program Guide etc., then it might be worth it.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Alternatives to Shaw for TV in Winnipeg?

I am starting to think of switching my TV services from Shaw to another provider, possibly by January or February.

What other options are there here in Winnipeg? I know the other major service provider is MTS and I have started reading the posts in the threads in the MTS section of DigitalHome. There seem to be fewer problems reported but also somewhat reduced functionality.

I am not particularly keen on the satellite services and I am not even keen on switching because of the steep learning curve involved but after having lived through too many problems, for too long with my Pace boxes (Aspens, Summits) and now experiencing some of these problems again on my hitherto properly functioning DCX3400s (blank 1-minute recordings, Expanders losing their contents, firmware updates messing up otherwise functioning boxes. etc. ) plus the ongoing Guide, series recording, % disk space used, etc. problems I am just getting tired. I just want something that works.

I am particularly interested in hearing from people who have switched away from Shaw and are either happy with their new service provider or, alternatively, have come back to Shaw.

Thanks.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 06:16 PM
 
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Switched to MTS, from Shaw, a couple weeks back. Like going from the stone age to the modern world. Performance, menus, and HD quality are all superior to my eyes. Once MTS got Centre Ice, I jumped. There were so many "issues" with it last year, I couldn't bring myself to continue. And while no provider has a perfect customer care model, Shaw has recently not declined but fallen right off the cliff.

One caveat with MTS to remember, two HD feeds and one SD at a given time. Works fine for my household, might not for others.
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, ekarps, it's good to hear that you are happy with the service and thanks for the warning about tghe limitations.

I am really not sure where this kind of a discussion belongs. And I do want to keep the moderators happy.

Perhaps we can keep this thread for identifying alternatives and for those who left, and have come back to, Shaw.

Those who have left for MTS and are happy there, perhaps I can ask you to post in my MTS thread at Former Shaw customers, are you happy with MTS TV?

Maybe that will work.

Thanks.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 10:20 PM
 
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Not a former Shaw customer, I switched from bell, but from what I saw of Shaw when I was considering my options Mts was the best solution. The only thing I found that shaw has is the ability to expand their PVR, I don't know of a single other feature that shaw has over Mts.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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So SomeRandomGuy, I cannot add external HDDs to the MTS PVRs? You also, obviously prefer MTS to Bell. That too is interesting to know.

I am currently running two HD PVRs (each with 500GB internally and a 1 TB external HDD) each of which can record two HD streams while playing back a recorded program plus four additional SD digital boxes for a total of 4 TVs. It's not a "whole house" solution, per se, but but I can distribute the signal from one of the PVRs to the other units (modulated by the PVR onto channel 3) in the house and then control that PVR via a wireless remote extender. I actually have 2 of the 4 SD digital boxes in parallel with the PVRs so I can record 4 HD/SD streams and still watch different content on all four of my TVs, a net total of 8 streams. Not that I would be doing all that, all at the same time, but it means that I have a fair bit of flexibility.

Will I be able to do something similar with MTS?
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 10:40 PM
 
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right now you get 2 HD and 1 SD stream for your whole house. they are taking about doing 4 streams soon but who knows. and you get the whole home PVR feature and the guides are also alot slicker than shaw.
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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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thanks, mtsguy. It looks like I cannot even get close to my current configuration and, from your comments, it seem that I can only service 3 TVs? That's OK for the winter but not the summer. I don't suppose I can get two whole house PVRs? And then, can I pay for them?

A basic question, is coax used to distribute the signal from the main unit or does MTS use the phone wiring inside the house too?

The dilemma as I see it: switch to MTS and get reliable service or stay with Shaw and get a more flexible configuration. Looks like I have more work to do to figure out how everything would work in an MTS system.

Other former Shaw folks: What surprises would I find if I were to switch? Any other gotchas?
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 11:03 PM
 
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no you can have service on up to 8 tv's. there can be 7 1200s and 1 1216 on 1 account. the 1216 goes on your main tv, its the PVR unit and the 1200's work off of it. so 8 tv's on 1 account. they can all pause, rewind, record etc. the only thing is, you only have 3 streams into your house. so you can have 3 tv's going at once on different channels, or you can use all 3 to record, or 2 to record and watch 1 show etc

MTS comes into your house on the phone line. At your service entrance, usually by your electrical panel where everything comes in, or by your main tv or somewhere convenient we install a modem with built in 4 port wireless router called an RG or 2wire. from there we run a cat5 to your desktop and a cat5 to your main tv where your 1216 is. after that, additional STBs can be fed with existing RG6 coax or cat5.

how many people are in your house? do you ever think you are going to do more than 3 things at once? if its a mom and dad with 4 kids its still sometimes alright, think about it, how often are 3 tv's going with different shows. it all depends on your family viewing habits and only you can be the judge of that
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-18, 11:24 PM
tux
 
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The various TV options in Winnipeg are:

HFC: Shaw
Telco: MTS
Satellite: Bell & Shaw Direct
OTA: rabbit ears/outdoor antenna
Other: internet-based services such as Netflix, AppleTV, etc.

The ideal place for a thread such as this would probably be under the "Television Industry / Channels and Providers " forum. Advantages and disadvantages of each service can most likely already be found under their respective forums.
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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-19, 05:06 AM Thread Starter
 
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Well now, mtsguy, that is beginning to sound better.

It has been convenient being able to record four programs and have 3 people, my wife, my daughter and I, watching different programs all at once. At the moment, I run the risk that at anytime all my recorded shows can be wiped out should an Expander fail to be recognized. It seems a fair trade-off, to lose a stream or two and gain reliability. I assume that HD content can be streamed to non-HD TVs, in SD, of course.

So can I record 3 streams (2 HD + 1 SD) and watch four different previously recorded programs on my 4 TVs?

I am talking about switching over the TV only, not the Internet. In that case is the cat5 to the desktop used? For what? I have spare cat5e and RG6 feeds to most rooms in the house. Which is preferred and why, to feed the TVs?

Your comments also help me to make more sense of the other threads that I am reading. I had wondered what a 2wire was.

I'll now have to check into channel availability and, importantly, cost. I suppose I am looking at the Basic Theme Group, Free HD, HD Starter. I am not particularly interested in the Premium Channels. Do I need to subscribe to an SD channel in order to get the HD version? Hmmm, the other channels I want seem to be spread over various theme groups. There doesn't seem to be an on-line configurator to help me determine the total cost, after the initial discounts expire. It looks like the charge is as per the table (for Basic + Theme Groups) plus the PVR charge and 3 set top boxes (to service 4 TVs). Boy, it adds up pretty quickly.

Whoa, only 30 hours of HD content an be recorded? That's not good. It often takes us quite a while to get to some of our recordings. I currently have over 100 hours that we haven't seen yet.

Is there an easy way to protect all recordings? I'd rather have a new recording fail than have the PVR delete something without my OK.

These are the "gotchas" that I'd like to hear about. Are there any other gotchas? Others who have switched and are happy/unhappy?
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-19, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, tux. That was about what I expected. I had hoped that there was an option I had missed but our options here are limited. I am getting useful info in the MTS thread. Some of it is positive but not all.

I understand your reference to the TV industry thread but I suspect I would not be reaching the right people (like ekarps above, and you tux and SomeRandomGuy and mtsguy in the MTS thread) if I posted there. I'll check it out, nonetheless.

Shaw's feature set is great. I have money invested in two DCX3400s. And I'd really rather not switch. It's just the reliability that has been unacceptable for too long and there is no convincing evidence that things are going to improve any time soon. It may be time to cut my losses. At the moment the biggest impediment to my switching to MTS is the 30 hour HD recording limit. But living with such a limit might be better than the fear that I might, without notice, lose all the recordings on one or both of my Expanders. [I cannot seem to convince myself of this, so far. ]

I'd really like to hear from people, if any, who switched to MTS, were unhappy and have switched back to Shaw.
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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-19, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
I assume that HD content can be streamed to non-HD TVs, in SD, of course
Yes.
Quote:
Do I need to subscribe to an SD channel in order to get the HD version?
Yes. The easiest thing to do is to get a brochure at an MTS store or download the PDF from the MTS channels page. Once your're a subscriber, there is an on-line configuration tool where you add or delete themes whenever you want (once per day max.). This is handy if you want to pick up a theme for a specific series or change your themes for the summer or winter. It also tells you the previous amount and new amount,

The actual hours is about 36 HD or over 90 SD. You can set up a series recording to "Keep all episodes until I erase" or you can set up a news or kids program to keep the latest 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 or 14 latest episodes to conserve space.
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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-19, 10:30 AM
 
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I switched from Shaw to MTS about 4 years ago - which is a long time in TV land I realize, but other than some service outages due to a line problem outside my house, I am much happier with MTS over Shaw. I only have 2 TVs now, mind you... so that's one issue. I found the HD quality better with MTS over Shaw for one thing, and I find their PVR a better more reliable piece of equipment (the only thing I miss is the better Search options with Shaw).

Best thing to do would be to call MTS and see what's possible.

Last edited by hugh; 2011-09-19 at 10:32 AM. Reason: removed unnecessary quoting
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 2011-09-19, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Dr. Dave. I have been studying the on-line info, including the detailed channel lineup and the descriptions of the equipment etc. on the Support part of the MTS TV web site. These only tell half the story. It's the things they don't say that I am hoping to hear here.

It's nice to know that services can be updated (added and deleted) on-line. It would have been handy to have the ability to configure my potential services ahead of time but so be it.

As for program retention, I was curious whether my default could be set to Keep all episodes until I erase.

Thanks Mozza, your comments too are helpful.

I am still hoping for a little more feedback. I am hoping, on the Shaw side of the forum, to hear from folks who have switched to MTS and then back to Shaw. So far, no one has reported doing this.

Right now, the one thing giving me the most pause is the limited recording time and the inability to hang an external drive on the PVR. If I can overcome that concern then I will visit an MTS outlet to get more info and then possibly book an install and run the two systems together for a few months and then decide which to keep. I'm not quite at that point yet.
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