My Experience With Telus and Optik TV

By | February 16, 2011

February 9th was my first day with Telus and here is a recap of my experience with Optik TV, Optik TV High Speed and Home Phone so far.

Two technicians arrived for the install within the scheduled window and spent 90 minutes running cables and setting everything up. The two TV’s I had hooked up were in rooms with a pre-existing coaxial and telephone drop but they still replaced a few lines. They were able to pull a phone line to my entertainment unit downstairs so the modem would sit where the previous one did. The technicians were friendly and helpful for any questions I had.

After everything was up and running I was given a quick run through the PVR functions, the Actiontec router interface and a few other tips on the service. They left me feeling confident in the tools and I didn’t feel that they rushed anything.

I am sure this is a feature with Shaw, but having never used their PVR services (I used digital cable for several years) having the name and telephone number of an incoming call appear on your TV is incredible. I called the house several times just to see “SEAN GURSKY” appear in the top left corner (photo link). We have to cover the length of the house to reach the nearest phone and if we were able to see who was calling we could determine if it was worth getting up or not.

The second biggest wow is being able to pause live TV. By no means is this feature exclusive to Telus, but I never really had the chance to play with this ability and it’s incredible. I never thought I would benefit from having a PVR but now I wonder how I lived so long without one. We will still continue to download shows but now we can fill up the PVR with shows that aren’t widely available or things we don’t follow episode to episode and enjoying watching when we have the time.

Telus has an iPhone app to browse the program grid, view your recordings and schedule a recording. The app is convenient and I could see myself using it frequently.

I did have two problems with the HD PVR but they were both solved by doing a system reboot.

The first was being unable to create a new account for Remote Recording. I was given an “Error 500: Service Unavailable” and every time I tried I got the same message. The next issue was not having any audio on HD channels over my HDMI connection. The video would come in fine, and audio on SD channels worked but just not on HD. I restarted the system and both went away and my question list for Telus support went from two to zero.

With the move from Shaw to Telus we downgraded phone features. With Shaw we had caller ID, voice mail, call waiting and probably a few other ones that added to our monthly bill. A part of why the Telus bundle is so cheap is that the telephone is bare bones with one feature. We opted to have caller ID, as our phones have a built in answering machine and call waiting is not something we used that often.

Although, there is a semi-solution for call waiting with Optik TV. If our land line is occupied and someone is calling us they would receive a busy signal but on the television we would see who attempted to call us (the same way we do now in the top left corner of the screen). It’s not an exact solution for call waiting but it’s a nice alternative for the rare times we have two people wanting to speak to us at once.

I have similar download and upload speeds to when I was on Shaw High Speed Extreme. According to my download speed is nearly 15MB and upload is 0.8MB. If anything my upload speed is lower than with Shaw, but as I am no longer relying on torrents this is not a concern.

I have been using DD-WRT custom firmware on my Linksys router for over a year and I got accustomed to the features it gave me. Now with the modem/router combination of the Actiontec V1000H I’m finding myself a little restricted. There are plenty of administration features on the Actiontec, but it’s not what I was used to or I don’t fully understand how to recreate what I had on the Actiontec.

I had a hurdle trying to figure out how I could administer my SABnzbd install remotely. This wasn’t a problem before so it was a frustrating issue. Previously I set the proper “Port from” and “Port to” for port forwarding on the Linksys DD-WRT and it worked fine. With the Actiontec I wasn’t sure if I have the port forwarding information correct, if Telus was restricting a web server from running or something else. As simple as the Actiontec interface is I wasn’t sure what the optional part of the port forwarding information I had to set up. Ultimately I changed my SAbnzbd install https:// listening port to match the one I would connect to from http://my.ip:port and it worked.

The current issue I am having is signal strength from the downstairs Actiontec to the upstairs Playstation 3. With the Linksys I increased the strength of the wireless signal (TX power) and added Windsurfer parabolas on the antennas. This allowed me to stream SD content without an issue and even 720p across the house.

Currently the Playstation 3 has a 50% signal but it occasionally buffers on SD content. I transferred the Windsurfer parabolas on to the Actiontec but I’m not able to increase the wireless rate to anything above 100% (photo link) so I’m at a loss for what to do. I have a few things in mind to resolve the problem but they involve time and money. Currently I’m thinking of:

  • Putting the DD-WRT powered Linksys in between the Actiontec and my home server ethernet connection and use the Linksys to boost the signal to upstairs
  • Upgrade the network card in my server from the current D-Link 530TX to Gigabit Ethernet card
  • Piggy back on the coax cable running upstairs to either transfer the signal from coax to Cat5 or use the coax cable as a lead to run Cat5 up to the living room

With that said, this is my problem and not one that was caused by the Telus service or installation. I need to upgrade my network and I just have to determine the best way to do that. My PS3 Media Server will send 93MB/s to the wired PS3 and 8MB/s to the wireless one (photo link), thus filling a 100MB connection and could account for why it sometimes has issues and sometimes doesn’t.

At the end of the day the Internet connection is reliable, I have solid speeds and while watching Optik TV I never noticed my Internet speed to decrease.

So far my experience with the Telus package has been great. With Usage Based Billing taking a back seat my move may have been premature but I am enjoying life where grass is greener. I may still be in the honeymoon phase of everything so I will write another post in a few weeks to see how I am finding the services then and if there are any issues that have appeared.

11 thoughts on “My Experience With Telus and Optik TV

  1. Gordo

    My few experiences with Optik have been good ones. The Call-ID on screen, is exclusive to Optik. At current Shaw has nothing like that. Same with the handheld integration. Nothing like that on Shaw currently, however there are rumors. Of course I say rumors and then looking for the link, that forum user has deleted all their posts… I can confirm nor deny.

    Pausing live TV becomes such a regular part of your life, that when it is taken away you feel like you’re in free-fall.

    Most of my experience with Optik was at a home on fiber. Bringing up the guide was translucent so you could still see your show through it, and when they highlighted channels in the guide, it actually showed what was playing (like, 24fps thumbnail view). Does yours do that, or is that an exclusively fiber thing?

    Either way, glad you’re enjoying it. Premature or not, it sounds like you’re getting a better deal, and at the very least encouraging competition.

  2. Sean Post author

    Yes, I have the same experience with the translucent program guide and the tiny picture-in-picture preview of the channel you are on in the guide. Both are really neat features and I’m glad that aren’t exclusive to houses with larger connections.

    Our area in Glen Allan doesn’t allow us to watch/record 2HD+1SD stream at once, currently it is only 1HD+2SD streams. The Telus installer said we would have a network upgrade in 6-8 months that should allow for 2HD+1SD, but for the time being it’s not a deal breaker and I’m glad they are going to continue upgrading the network.

    I still feel a little dirty using Telus, for whatever reason, it feels wrong. I’m expecting that the bubble will burst and an evil monster will emerge from the HDPVR to messy up the house, eat the cat and drink all the milk and not leave a note.

  3. Pingback: Pioneer on the Internet – Sean Gursky » My First Month With Telus and Optik TV

  4. kathyb

    The first was being unable to create a new account for Remote Recording. I was given an “Error 500: Service Unavailable” and every time I tried I got the same message.


  5. Sean Post author

    kathyb :

    fixed itt :)

    Excellent! It seems to be a common problem but a system reset appears to work for all who have the issue. When the Telus installers were setting things up they said the Error 500 would go away after a few hours so I kept checking periodically over the next few days and it wasn’t until I did some research elsewhere that I thought to do a power cycle.

  6. anne

    Unable to use guide on remote in spite of changing batteries

  7. Sean Post author

    anne :

    Unable to use guide on remote in spite of changing batteries

    I’m not associated with Telus or have any training their customer support staff have but could it be possible that the remote is simply at fault? I have noticed that my Telus remote has become less and less unresponsive but changing the batteries resolves that. Maybe look around forums (ie: to see if your problem is unique, otherwise the best solution may be to call Telus and have them address this issue.

  8. troy

    has anybody had any trouble with the audio being out of sync? when watching shows live or recorded it appears that the audio is out so lips are moving out of sync with voices

  9. Vlodek

    My experience are not as good as few of you. I am getting gurgling sound of my TV from time to time and Telus is not able to set up high rise security cameras to your TV. So you don’t have an option to see who is buzzing you downstairs! Also the tablet they are giving away for singing the contract doesn’t have the future to install SIM card so you can use it for the internet in remote locations as they were saying before you sign!

  10. thomas

    I just signed up for and had telus internet installed . the actiontek router/modem is so bad. I googled it and found instructions to bypass it or bridge it. you need to root login for the modem, easy to find, then disable dhcp and change another setting. but disable wifi first. here’s a link: telus-internet-using-your-own-router-putting-v1000h-into-bridge-mode-1290629

    for me this link missed a trick, need to disable dhcp. and as I use an apple airport extreme, the multicast instructions don’t apply, it works just fine

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