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post #4 of (permalink) Old 2006-12-11, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 46
MTS Review

I've had MTS TV since December 2004. I've also been using MTS High Speed internet from the same time. I chose MTS TV when I moved into my new condo. There was already existing cable from a former Shaw customer. It took one week from order to installation, but they could have scheduled it within 5 days (I chose a Friday evening instead of a Wednesday afternoon).

The installation was completed for new phone jacks, TV and internet at the same time. Total install time was 3 hours, because it was anything but simple. The MTS installer was great - crawling in an attic space, clinging to a ladder outside in the cold, and not charging an extra cent. In fact, other than the $45 for an extra jack (unrelated to the TV/Internet installation), the installation was free. I later had them come and move the TV set-top box closer to my new plasma TV, which was also free (including a new jack, surprisingly!).

As per promotion at the time, I was given 2 months free service for both TV and internet. I was given 9 channel packages to choose from at the time, and later downgraded my packages to 6. Total cost per month of the TV service is $42.99 + tax, but also allows me to save $15 due to bundling (TV, internet and home alarm service).

Standard picture quality is generally good, even on my 42" plasma. Occasional compression artifacts can be seen, but are not distracting. I use the S-Video connection for my plasma, and co-axial for my other 2 sets (27" and my desktop computer). Digital channels are much better quality than rebroadcast analogue channels. I will return to High Definition later in the review.

Menu response time can be slow at times. Remotes work well from most angles and distances. Features on the menu which are advertised by MTS (Email on Demand, Photos on Demand, etc.) are interesting but pretty much useless for anyone who uses their home computers regularly. Often, I only use the menus to check the weather and the garbage day. The guide usually shows 6 days of programming, and the search options are excellent and useful. Call Display on screen is a great tool - many a time I have ignored calls because I knew the call was a marketing company. A wish - to be able to shut off the ring or direct the call to voicemail from the TV remote!

I have not used the new PPV option, but the VOD works reasonably well, although stop and pause time can be somewhat unresponsive (takes two or three tries to pause the movie, for example). Prices and release are comparable to other providers.

I have not experience downtime or video cutouts much at all. The few times it was down, I lost both TV and internet, and only for 20-30 minutes. Often this was weather related or very late at night (maintenance?). Only once did I find it long enough to call - MTS had a message on their tech support which informed me the problem was local, and by the time I hung up, I had TV again.

Tech support and customer service is generally good, although I haven't had much reason to call them. When I want to add/change packages, I can either call between 8:00am and midnight, or go online and change my packages. Changes done over the phone are completed in 10 minutes, online changes take 8-24 hours. A few times I have changed packages in one day to catch a show in another package - MTS discourages this, but still allows it. Good way to save money!

High definition is my only sore spot with MTS TV - it is an entirely useless service offered by the company. There are only 8 channels offered. The US networks are time-shifted to Pacific Time, which means primetime for MTS customers begins at 10pm. Want to watch Letterman in HD? 1:30am. Also, the HD box is $349, plus a $99 install, and you still have to keep your SD box for VOD, menus, etc. A very clunky system. Add to that the lack of TSN HD or other "standard" HD channels, and the MTS TV HD package is entirely useless. In fact, this problem alone has forced me to look into other providers for all of my services, (because of the bundling issues), which would be a shame because I find all of MTS' other services pretty much flawless.

So overall, a great service from MTS, but their HD offering is, sadly, one thing that sullies the rest of the experience. If they were to change their HD offering for the better (eliminate the need for the other set-top box, add TSN HD, and change the time zones), MTS would be the only choice for quality and value in TV services in Winnipeg.
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