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Videotron announces partnership with Comcast to launch innovative IPTV solution
Videotron today announced an agreement with multinational media and technology company, Comcast. The strategic partnership is aimed at developing and delivering an IPTV service based on Comcast's award-winning Xfinity X1 platform that will support a peerless customer experience for Videotron customers.

"We are very pleased with our decision to choose this state-of-the-art platform," said Manon Brouillette, President and CEO of Videotron. "Combined with the power of Videotron's network and its rich array of content, it will enable us to continue offering our customers the best possible experience and will strengthen our technology leadership."

"Xfinity X1 continues to be a game-changer, allowing millions of people to search and navigate live TV, on demand movies and shows, web video, apps and more in a simple, fast and intuitive way," said Tony Werner, President of Technology and Product for Comcast Cable. "The platform has changed the experience of watching video and our partnership with Videotron will extend X1's reach to even more users."

The announcement follows through on Videotron's commitment to meeting consumers' needs with top-grade products and features, reinforcing its number one position in customer satisfaction on the market.
Shaw Cable has launched the Comcast product as "BlueSky TV" and Rogers is preparing to launch it soon.
 

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And that marks the end of the Cisco/Technicolor experiments in Canada. Rogers dumped them. Videotron dumped them. Cox in the US dumped them. They've all gone with Comcast X1.
 

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Cisco/Technicolor experiments
An I can tell you that I feel like the victim of a very expensive experiment, not only with recent cable equipment but also with satellite equipment. In the past 15 or so years I've had HD and PVR equipment from Canadian BDUs it's been one disaster after another, first from Shaw, then Bell, then Rogers. It seems like no sooner do they get one generation of device working reasonably well than it becomes obsolete (or they make it obsolete) and replace it with something else that takes years to get working right. I've seen several firmware updates that either bricked my equipment of made it almost unusable and then had to wait up to a year for them to fix it.

Don't know if Comcast X1 will be any better but I certainly hope so. In any event, I'm not about to spend another $1000+ on broken boxes that don't work correctly from day one and stay that way after "feature enhancements." In any market segment other than the TV industry, equipment that is so out of date and unreliable would be laughed out of the marketplace and face class action lawsuits.
 

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This change affected my recent 12 month 'retention agreement' and pricing at Videotron. For a three-service bundle, internet access prices have been inflated and tv distribution dramatically undercut; my base TV + 20 channels is costing me 10$/ month. The CSR told me that large changes in TV distribution would be forthcoming in 12 months.

These are the retention agreements that typically occur within the CRTC mandated 72 hour switchover notice from an existing provider to a new one. The existing provider is suddenly very interested in keeping the customer and will aggressively price-match the competition. In contrast, no negociation is truly possible before the official switchover notice.
 

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Helix: a whole new technology experience coming to Québec homes

Videotron is unveiling a new technology platform that will revolutionize entertainment and home management: Helix. As of today, Quebecers can sign up for a whole new connected entertainment and life management experience that adapts to their needs and lifestyles. With its voice remote, ultra-intelligent Wi-Fi, and, coming soon, its ability to integrate automation features, Helix will soon play a major role in Québec households.

What is Helix?

All your entertainment in one place
With a single word, Helix performs a centralized search and brings up a list of content from multiple sources in a unified catalog. Be it recordings, TV channels, On Demand content or content from online streaming platforms like Club illico or Netflix, users will quickly get relevant content suggestions based on what they're interested in.

The only voice search adapted to Québec's reality.
Voice command is at the heart of the Helix experience. Videotron has worked with its teams and partners to teach it how to recognize French from everywhere. From Gatineau to Rivière-du-Loup, and Saguenay to Montréal, Helix understands you, both in French and English.

Ultra-intelligent and attentive Wi-Fi
Thanks to Helix's high-speed, high-performance and secure Wi-Fi, you can easily control your home, no matter how many devices are connected. The Helix Fi Gateway continuously optimizes your home Internet network to ensure you always get the best performance, security and coverage. The Wi-Fi automatically detects your home's connected devices and proactively performs updates to guarantee you get the best connected life experience.

Two new mobile apps
Videotron has two new mobile apps for its Helix customers:
  • Helix Fi lets you control your home Wi-Fi network. Set time restrictions for your children's Internet use or quickly and easily disconnect a device from the network. In addition, the Helix Fi app will soon let you control your household's smart devices.
  • Helix lets users control their cloud DVR remotely, watch live TV and a ton of On Demand content anytime, anywhere, even on the train.
Videotron: always the best customer experience
Videotron firmly believes that innovation should never stop. That's why Helix will evolve to keep pace with new technology and consumer needs. New features will be added regularly to offer users new applications, a consistently high-performing platform and an enhanced experience.

To discover the Helix experience, visit videotron.com/helix
 

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Like Shaw Bluesky and Rogers Ignite, Helix is based on the Comcast X1 platform. I haven't checked, but Helix probably isn't compatible with Videotron's older systems. If you switch to Helix, it will be 100% Helix (TV, Internet, Billing, Remote Management, etc.) and you won't be able to use any of the old equipment.

The are threads in the Shaw and Rogers forums that discuss the technology. Keep in mind that some of the early technological problems were teething pains and may not be applicable to Videotron.

Helix is 100% cloud-based, like Rogers. Shaw launched earlier when the only option was a disk-based PVR and is currently operating a hybrid environment.
 

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Providers don't always list all the possible plans on their web site. Existing customers that don't want to switch to Helix yet may be eligible for an upgrade to the faster speeds, so you should contact them to see if the other plans are still available.
 

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I'm currently with Bell and thinking about switching to Videotron. Are they no longer offering non-helix services?
 

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My guess is the offerings for new customers are limited to what is on the web page, unless they contact you with a special promotion. If you are switching from Fibe TV to Videotron's old TV system, make sure it has all the features and apps you expect. You might be disappointed.
 

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I'm currently on a 120/20 MB/s plan with them but I think their current offering with a comparable speed is 100/30 or 400/50.

My friend moved to Helix a few months ago. He gave me tour recently and this is what I found:

Smart home features don't work yet.
The published prices on the Videotron web site are before discounts if you bundle or sign a contract. In my friend's case, he signed a 2 year contract and with bundling and pays about $134 for what is advertised to cost $179 (after tax). That includes 100/30 Mb/s internet and a lot of channels, many of which he got to pick.
The remote really depends on voice commands as it's sparse much like a fire TV or android box remote.
 
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