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Discussion Starter #1
Well new STB software is rolling out on Access Communications.

This may be the closest to current software we have, as this version is 'only' about 6 months old.

So far I've found several bugs. Has anyone noticed any improvements?

I'm also wondering if back-end changes to support this guide code may have wrecked the TVGOS service - although it could be a coincidence that was killed at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Bugs aside, here is some info and features with the new PVR software:

- the reason for going with a more up to date guide software than ever before was to come comply with disability regulations and better support descriptive video.

- new guide has a user friendly display of disk space used

- support for external eSATA disk (Note - you cannot move the eSATA between PVR's as the saved programs are arrayed between the eSATA and internal disk)

- a 'lost and found' feature that allows direct access to corrupt or failed recordings as long as the clusters have not be reallocated
 

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The only improvement I have seen is the 'friendly' space usage display.

Here are the UN-improvements that are making me consider switching to a new provider:
1. Can no longer use your customised channel list by default. You must set it every time you want to use it.
2. If using your customised list, the guide will have a start time of whatever time the show you are currently on started. IE> @9:15PM you are watching hockey that started at 7:00PM, hit guide, use your custom list, and the guide starts at 7:00PM, not 9:00PM

3. When I am on the guide and want to view a channel - just click OK, right? Wrong. you need to click OK (or enter) then click it again to be sure you REALLY want to go there.

4. clicking the guide button brings up guide, clicking it again brings up a bunch of other stuff, it used to just go back to TV.. this was very convenient for surfers.. now, it is not.


The changes they have made are enough of a bother for me that I don't even want to do any casual surfing, since the guide pisses me off every time I try to use it! I sent an email to access - they said they are looking into it - as good as Access is with their customer service, I highly doubt this will change. If it does not, I will. Goodbye to access after 24 + years continuous patronage.
 

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Are there any size restrictions for the esata drive to get it to work with the current pvr's?
The STB wouldn't recognize a 2 TB Seagate Barracuda LP (ST32000542AS), but it works flawlessly with a 750 GB Seagate Barracuda ES (ST3750640NS).

I'm using a Vantec NexStar 3 eSATA/USB2 enclosure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The only improvement I have seen is the 'friendly' space usage display.

Here are the UN-improvements that are making me consider switching to a new provider:
1. Can no longer use your customised channel list by default. You must set it every time you want to use it.
2. If using your customised list, the guide will have a start time of whatever time the show you are currently on started. IE> @9:15PM you are watching hockey that started at 7:00PM, hit guide, use your custom list, and the guide starts at 7:00PM, not 9:00PM

3. When I am on the guide and want to view a channel - just click OK, right? Wrong. you need to click OK (or enter) then click it again to be sure you REALLY want to go there.

4. clicking the guide button brings up guide, clicking it again brings up a bunch of other stuff, it used to just go back to TV.. this was very convenient for surfers.. now, it is not.


The changes they have made are enough of a bother for me that I don't even want to do any casual surfing, since the guide pisses me off every time I try to use it! I sent an email to access - they said they are looking into it - as good as Access is with their customer service, I highly doubt this will change. If it does not, I will. Goodbye to access after 24 + years continuous patronage.
Yes, the new interface and guide are really clunky, slow, and buggy. And that infernal subscription bug/zero length recordings issue seems to have come back.

It's bewildering how they can have so much revenue but yet not do proper testing of the PVR software before they unleash it... :-(

The TVGOS service breakdown is another example of how they drop the ball on many things. It's been screwed up most of 2010, and months have gone by denials that it's their fault. Once the evidence became overwhelming they conceded it was their fault but now "it's being looked into" which has been the story for months. But it's hard to believe it's actually being looked at when months go by with no evidence of effort nor any results or fixes.

And what's also puzzling is how ineffective they are at motivating their business partners (Motorola, Rovi, Bell, etc) to ever fix ANYTHING. DO they have the worst contracts ever? Has anyone there heard of service levels or managing expecations?

And even if their contract negotiator failed miserably, they could still try to get things fixed out of good will or mutual best interest.

With competitors moving to fiber and 21st century PVR's and guides, Access needs to step it starting yesterday or they could soon find themselves way behind and playing catch-up again.
 

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Access is pissin' people off just in time (well, in a few months likely), for the new software to be released by SaskTel.

I sure in the hell hope SaskTel's issues are all fixed with the MediaRoom software on their boxes.

Goodbye Access.
 

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3. When I am on the guide and want to view a channel - just click OK, right? Wrong. you need to click OK (or enter) then click it again to be sure you REALLY want to go there.
Yes, this part really pisses me off as well. Not at all happy with these changes, although the eSATA ability is nice.
 

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I just spoke with a person at Access. I was told they are currently beta testing patches to address at least these 2 points, to be released in the next couple of weeks:
1. Cannot 'use always' your customized channel list.
2. When using customized list, hitting 'guide' takes you to the start time of the show you are currently watching instead of the current time.

That takes care of 2 of my biggest issues - awesome!.

She also mentioned that more patches are in the works, to address the need to click on the your choice twice. I might be mistaken here, but I believe she said that would be in the next set of patches.

Anyway - the customer service at Access has proven again that they deserve my business. I really doubted that these things would change - I'm sure in a large national company, this would have been blown off with a 'lump it or leave it' attitude.

Thank you Access. Very much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I just spoke with a person at Access. I was told they are currently beta testing patches to address at least these 2 points, to be released in the next couple of weeks:
1. Cannot 'use always' your customized channel list.
2. When using customized list, hitting 'guide' takes you to the start time of the show you are currently watching instead of the current time.

That takes care of 2 of my biggest issues - awesome!.

She also mentioned that more patches are in the works, to address the need to click on the your choice twice. I might be mistaken here, but I believe she said that would be in the next set of patches.

Anyway - the customer service at Access has proven again that they deserve my business. I really doubted that these things would change - I'm sure in a large national company, this would have been blown off with a 'lump it or leave it' attitude.

Thank you Access. Very much appreciated.
I'd hold your standing ovation until something actually happens.

They've been telling me the same thing for weeks, but nobody there has a clue what's happening.

Those bugs and interface issues they stridently denied even EXISTED until I wasted hours and days of my time proving them to Access.

Other problems are months or even years with no progress.

So yes they are good at saying what you want to hear, but let the results speak if and when they actually do something.

The good news for you is they troll this site so of course whenever the public spotlight is on they react. That means you have a better than zero chance of having your bugs fixed. The other issues... well who knows.
 

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Interesting. I agree. Actions speak louder than words. I do have the direct phone number of a 'manager' so in a few weeks, when I'm back from vacation, I'll check into it and see what's up. Maybe you've already been down this road and I'm just being naive - time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Interesting. I agree. Actions speak louder than words. I do have the direct phone number of a 'manager' so in a few weeks, when I'm back from vacation, I'll check into it and see what's up. Maybe you've already been down this road and I'm just being naive - time will tell.
Yeah I've been promised numerous 'managers' would call back, since they never appear to actually be present and working.

You may hear back if it's someone that is new and hasn't settled into the routine of stonewalling a customer yet or shifting the blame for any problems or delays to forces 'outside of their control'.

I did learn the last half decent manager that I dealt with had been let go, which is not surprising but still disappointing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The more I use this guide software the more I question if it was ever tested, by anyone.

Not just the the interface snafu's that have been mentioned.... there are graphical glitches, the video controls are super-sluggish and at least once a day the picture will stay shrunken in the top right corner and won't expand back to full screen.

Just as frequently, see channels you pay for telling you that you're not a subscriber. And if this happens on a recording, watch a zero length failed recording land in your catalog. And no, it can't be restored with the 'lost and found' feature.

The PVR will often tell you it hasn't got space for your 30 minute low-def recording, inexplicably ignoring the hours of other programs set for automatic removal to make recording space.

Try viewing the info on any program in the guide and watch your time cursor snap back anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours as it erroneously adopts the start time of the program instead of the current time.

Audio continues to be hideously compressed on many channels and the controls to change the audio compression range are broken too.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Access is pissin' people off just in time (well, in a few months likely), for the new software to be released by SaskTel.

I sure in the hell hope SaskTel's issues are all fixed with the MediaRoom software on their boxes.

Goodbye Access.
The problem for SaskTel and Access is that Access has the much superior line to most homes as SaskTel is still constrained to the copper phone lines.

I recall a $400 million project that was supposed to help SaskTel get caught up and put fiber to our homes but so far I haven't heard of a single residential customer with an actual fiber service. I can't prove it, but I kind of suspect they redirected resources to get going with the ultra-profitable Apple Iphone service instead of the optical fiber project, but I readily admit that is just conjecture.

So for now, discerning customers who want at least a taste of what Europe and USA customers have had for most of this decade need to go with the cable service because of the bandwidth advantage. Multi-room PVR's won't overcome that.

Perhaps Access is biding their time, giving only lip service and no technical improvements since they know they can always step it after SaskTel does have fiber to the home.

But it's shame they'd go reactive rather than proactive. Why not show customers what you can do now, and earn their loyalty, rather than waiting for the competition to steal your customers and leave you saying 'hey we can do that too we were just waiting to roll it out!'
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Bodeen - I'm actually sorry to see my earlier prediction did unfortunately turn out to be accurate, and that the promise of a fix within 2 weeks was indeed complete fiction.

While it would have been nice to see, past experience has been that updates to the guide are months or sometimes years apart. I still have faith that eventually we'll get one. Who knows, maybe one is even being tested somewhere. I sure wish Access Communications would live up their name and actually communicate with the customers as to what is happening on these service issues.
 

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Hi Neild. You are correct that it is taking time. I have been patient and emailing them about every 2 or 3 weeks. The person I have been emailing tells me the update is currently due on Oct. 13th of this year. She says she has been testing it herself and thinks I will be pleased. Being the the IT busininess myself, I understand how something that seems simple to fix to 'user' is much more complicated.

That said, I am patiently waiting for Oct. 13th to see what happens. I'll even give it a bit more grace than that and hope for the end of Oct.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hi Neild. You are correct that it is taking time. I have been patient and emailing them about every 2 or 3 weeks. The person I have been emailing tells me the update is currently due on Oct. 13th of this year. She says she has been testing it herself and thinks I will be pleased. Being the the IT busininess myself, I understand how something that seems simple to fix to 'user' is much more complicated.

That said, I am patiently waiting for Oct. 13th to see what happens. I'll even give it a bit more grace than that and hope for the end of Oct.
Yeah I guess I have a higher standard and expectation. I've worked on some projects, and four months to do simple fixes on the guide software would be an embarrassment. Also the total lack of honest communications is nothing to brag about either.

I also question the corporate attitude that thinks it's OK to have an (allegedly) working solution here in mid September, but that they'll sit around another for almost a full month before they can get around to letting the paying customers have it. There's no good reason for that much slackery.

There's also no good reason for either the false communications or the total absence of communication either.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
And another month marches by with no action despite a stack false promises, making a mockery of any sense of honesty or accountability by the provider....

Honestly, bugs like these shouldn't have even touched customers. But once they did, a realistic time frame for a competent and professional organization would be one day to fix. Even a bureaucratically challenged organization might be able to roll these out during a weekly update. At 20 weeks and counting, Access is blatantly demonstrating zero care or concern for affected customers.
 
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