It's new and shiny, but is it all that it seems? As usual, the answer is sort of, maybe.
This week, Bell announced the release of its new app-based live TV service, now available in Ontario and Quebec. (Manitoba and Atlantic Canada will have it sometime in the future). It’s being advertised by Bell as a cutting-edge service, and the next new thing in streaming TV.
That being said, here are 4 things to know about Alt TV :
1) It’s Part of the Fibe TV App
To view Alt TV, you first need to subscribe to a "select Fibe Internet package" with Bell, ie, an unlimited one.
To be a humdrum critic, advertising Alt TV could actually be seen as Bell’s way of hooking in more customers and getting them to subscribe to their most expensive Internet packages, over the competitors', and also to Fibe TV.
It’s a fact that Bell is comparing Alt TV to Fibe TV in a giant chart on their website, in which Alt TV gets 2 check marks and Fibe TV gets 9 check marks, visually pointing out all that you’re missing by only getting Alt TV and not Fibe.
It all seems more than a bit like Alt TV is a marketing tool meant to draw potential viewers to Bell’s website. Anyways.
How can you view it? You don’t need a TV to watch Alt TV, just a phone, tablet or computer. You can also view it on a 4th generation Apple TV, with availability on Android TV later this year.
Alt TV runs without a traditional TV subscription or set-top, and is accessed through the Fibe TV app.
2) There Are A lot of Channels, If You Pay For Them
Bell is advertising “500 channels on the screen of your choice” with this service. The reality is that you get somewhere upwards of 30 channels per month for $14.95/month, and to get all 500 channels, it’s gonna cost you more. Surprise!
Packages run all the way up to $103.95/month for full service.
3) It’s Not Necessarily Cutting Edge
Fibe TV has more to offer than Alt TV, I hate to say. But what difference does it make, they're two peas in a pod. Here I am promoting it all. But the point is that Bell’s assertion that Alt TV is the leading thing out there is sort of off.
Alt TV is the first widely available app-based live TV service in Canada, but you can’t pause and record shows with it, or watch more than 2 screens at time. It also doesn’t come as ultra-high definition 4K TV.
4) You Need Fibe Internet with Unlimited Data to Use It
This title on this one speaks for itself. As mentioned above, when Bell advertisers say that you don’t have to worry about using data with Alt TV, no you don’t, because you’ve already paid the company for an unlimited plan, wise guys.
OK, so this all sounds a bit bitter. In reality, Alt TV is likely pretty fun to view and is a new option on the TV viewing market for consumers and options are good. Just be sure of what you're getting before you buy.
For more information, visit Bell.ca/AltTV , call 310-Bell, or drop into a Bell store or The Source.