I hate them all. Videotron, Bell, Starchoice... all of them - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 2007-11-30, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2
I hate them all. Videotron, Bell, Starchoice... all of them

I've been looking on/off for months now and I can't seem to find what I want. Does it exist?

(Problem 1) The biggest problem -- The STB user interface rant.

I currently have a 42'' 1080p connected to plain old Analog TV. It has a built-in TV guide and it's is simply amazing. I see about 15 channels at once, and can flip to them easily. It's fast, it's clear, it shows all the info I need. It rocks. Thank you, Toshiba.

Of course I want HD with that TV. Since cablecards aren't supported (screw you Videotron) I am forced to go the STB route and forego my beloved built-in TV guide.

But with all STBs I have seen (Illico & Expressvu at least) I have only seen TV guide user interfaces in SD. That means huge, lousy looking, and washed out fonts in ugly purpley-blue color. So, channels are only listed in 3-5 at a time, and it's not easy to flip channels (sync'ing to digital TV channels takes one or so second to sync).

Then, to add to the insult, it's not even possible (or is it?) on those STBs to UNLIST the channels that aren't subscribed.

So what have you got when you see hundreds of TV channels listed but have only 25 or so subscribed? Well, a whole lot of useless TV guide is what you've got.

Want to watch MotoGP on some sport channel? Yeah! "Click" "Sorry, channel not subscribed...."
I wish I didn't even know about it.

It's frustrating to no end. Is it too much to ask for a decent, workable user interface??? The TV guide is only perhaps the single most important feature of a STB. I understand cable companies want to push you to buy a bigger package, but can I be left alone with my choices without being constantly annoyed??? I mean REALLY!!!

Is it possible to hack the firmware of the STB to turn on this functionality?

Is there ANY aftermarket STB that works with either Illico or ExpressVU that solves these issues?

(Problem 2) Channel selection.

What a farce. Say you want that one channel, but then you can't get it unless you go for package X and then you get 80% of channels you don't even want and end up paying a huge premium for. But I won't even go there, some arent as bas as others.

(Problem 3) "You get X channels! with basic subscription!"

Ha, ha. What a farce.

"National assembly"
"Avis de recherche TV"
"Super ecran (French) promo channel"
"Illico on demand promo channel"
"Canal Savoir" (TV courses)
"CPAC (English AND French)"


Is there ANY STB out there that has a decent user interface?

Is there ANY offering from ANY company that allows you to configure your channels for a decent price?

If not, what about "grey market" solutions? Is there a DirectTV or other US solution to my dilemna?

And sorry for the rant and foul language. I'm going nuts and I'm frustrated beyond my what is bearable for my usually pleasant self. If you have dainty feelings please don't read this email

Last edited by 57; 2007-11-30 at 01:37 AM. Reason: Language edited
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 2007-11-30, 01:35 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Toronto, Rogers, 9865 & 8300-eHDD, Sharp LC75N8000U, Denon AVR4310Ci; Sony KDL40W3000, 9865
Posts: 56,254
1. There is nothing you have said that hasn't already been discussed on this forum. Rather than ranting, perhaps you should have been searching?

2. There are no "outside" STBs/PVRs that can be used with any of the Service Providers. You need to use theirs - they won't activate any others. Some service providers do allow you to edit the IPG for "favourite channels".

3. We do not discuss piracy or illegal activity on this forum. DirecTV is illegal in Canada and is black market, not grey.

4. You may wish to consider an HTPC solution - check out that forum here.

Foul language is not allowed here and has been edited out. A warning at the end of a post regarding foul language is not much use.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 2007-11-30, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2007
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So there is no solution to any of these issues. Nice. Looks like I'll stick with Analog TV.

I was only commenting on DirecTV or other "grey market" (or, god forbid, black market) because there isn't any offering that I'm interested in getting at the moment. I'm all for paying for my service, but I want an upgrade from my current situation, not a downgrade.

For me, the TV guide issue is so much an issue that I'd rather have a good TV guide with no HD than be forced to use a STB that frustrates me at every putton press.

Finally, I don't get what an HTPC will give me if the HD tuner is tied to the STB....

(FWIW, I did search before posting)
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 2007-11-30, 02:06 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Toronto, Rogers, 9865 & 8300-eHDD, Sharp LC75N8000U, Denon AVR4310Ci; Sony KDL40W3000, 9865
Posts: 56,254
Although I'm not an HTPC expert, you can use a number of different guides (of your choice) in the HTPC and use the HTPC to control the STB of the service provider. The functionality will depend on your service provider and STB, again, check out the HTPC section.

If you have an HTPC, you may also record SD and some (limited) HD on the PC (depending on the service provider). See:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=14099 Recording HD.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 2007-11-30, 08:29 AM
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Rants, rude language and rehash of what we all know.

This isn't going anywhere.

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