Knowing that Shaw obviously has plans for something different, I think it's a no brainer that one probably shouldn't invest in the Gateway technology at this point. I look at this a rhetorical question and I'm responding to discuss how the Gateway platform has performed over the past 4+ years.
It's also important to mention that my answer here is based purely on how satisfied I am about the actual piece of hardware. This is not a reflection of my satisfaction level with Shaw (which gets an F- on how it handled the launch and deployment of this product as well as how it managed its evolution through software updates and features).
Edit*: Interestingly, I started replying to this thread yesterday and was going to make a list of pros and cons. As it turns out, the only real pros I can identify are the access from any room in the house and the Gateway app which added the capability of recording remotely. The use of the expander also creates a lot of space for content.
The rest of it is pretty much a jumbled mess.
I have owned my Gateway system and 4 portals for 3.5 years. The first 9-12 months were extremely painful. I had traded in 3 Motorola HD PVRs (which I think have a far better guide and much simpler interface which I still long for every day). It took a long, long time before I got used (and I used the term liberally) to its clumsy, poorly designed user interface. I choose to stay out of it as much as I can, and much of the features buried in there stay... well... buried in there due to the sluggishness and how counter intuitive the design is. It can be adequately described as a poor man's version of Sony's PS3 XMB (cross media bar). But a non-working version that is.
Those of us who owned the Gateway back in 2012 can all agree it was not ready for prime time when it was released. It was not only buggy, but very limited in features and extremely slow. Newer owners might think I'm speaking of the Gateway as it is now, because more than 3 years later, time and software updates haven't resolved the fact that it still takes forever to use the channel up or down button. I mean who has time to go from channel 200 to 218 using this button and doing a quick channel surf at the same time? You know, the way we used to on a Jerrold box back in 1983. If you're a Gateway owner, you know what I'm talking about
: how many times have you punched in a 4-digit channel number because of how long it took for the first 2 digits to register?
After a year and a half on the market (late 2012 - early 2013), Shaw then forced us Gateway owners to participate in this long and painful slow dance about the implementation of features promised at the time of release. Another eighteen months later (by spring 2014), we all came to the realization that we had gotten... err... nothing. A couple of software updates which made the system tolerable so you wouldn't feel like throwing the remote through your 55-inch LED TV, but as far as actual features, window dressing at best. I consequently referred to this as "DLNA-Gate". I feel there should be a wikipedia article about this. I might just create one one of these days.
The arrival of the Gateway app about a year ago was a breath of fresh air. Sure, the trial was another PR
fiasco and it was probably 3 years late, but in the end, we could finally set recordings from our smartphones (most smartphones anyway). Too bad it was no longer exciting to do so, and too bad every time I use the app I'm reminded of how silly it is that it took so long for this to become possible when Telus Optik users had access to the same feature for years before Shaw decided it was time to make it happen.
For the past year, we have heard crickets. In conjunction with Sling Media, Arris released a piece of hardware that could be added to the Gateway and allows the streaming of content outside our homes for viewing on portable devices. But folks, this is Shaw we are talking about. No luck (not that I was holding my breath). Even something seemingly so simple, like picture-in-picture (which existed on Zenith TVs 35 years ago), never materialized. Can you imagine? Here I am, watching a Jays game on my 106-inch home cinema screen using a box with 6 tuners, but incapable of displaying another channel using one of the other 5 tuners in the corner of the screen. I guess that was too much to ask on the software side of things.
Don't get me wrong. My Gateway is still a work horse. It's used every day by every member of my family to record shows and watch television, but we are doing so in the absence of something better, rather than doing it by choice. In other words, this is a marriage of convenience, not love. Looking ahead, the Gateway could be gone as quickly as it appeared in our house, where every TV equipped with a portal also has an Apple TV attached to it (and a couple have gaming consoles). Shaw has also raised my bill more than 35% in the past two years. In addition, the quality of content on television has grown inversely proportional to the number of channels now available.
It will be very interesting to see where this new reality takes us in the next while...