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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Telus Optik Review

If you enjoy this review, check out the newer: Shaw Gateway vs Telus Optik review

I'm not sure about other blog readers out there but I require a reliable, high end, affordable television, phone and internet service. For the last 3 or so years we enjoyed our high speed cable internet, digital cable and VOIP phone through Shaw and it has been great. However technology advances, prices drop and new companies roll in with competitive services. I decided to write this review because I had a hard time finding up to date reviews on todays entertainment bundles. 

Shaw cable communications logo
In our area, the two major players are Shaw and Telus. Of course there are a few satellite companies offering decent television and/or internet packages, but not full service bundles. Shaw has always been the goto company for television and cable internet, and over the last few years their phone service has been great too. Telus has been the big name in home phone since I can remember and other than prices, nothing can really top it. Telus struggled with a shitty DSL internet service until the last year or so when Optik was introduced. Telus now bundles their home phone with a dedicated high bandwidth DSL connection and fully digitial television service. Telus sounds like a clear winner with the stats, but there are some down sides. I've had my Optik service for a while now and I'm going to break it down for you.

speedtest.net bandwidth report on telus optik internetTelus has divided their entire network into profiles. The lowest profile they can assign puts you on a dedicated 15mbps connection. That means that your internet will always speedtest at, or around 15mbps. In a perfect world, you could download at a constant 1.5 megabytes per second with that connection, which is a lot faster than what most people need. The major thing to wrap your head around is that your Telus television service requires the use of your internet! If you are watching TV, your internet bandwidth will drop by about a third per television. Now also realize that there are faster profiles that allow  for more televisions and that they don't cost more money, but they arn't available in all areas. You'll need to talk to Telus to determin what profiles are available to you, and what each one allows you to do. Either way, whether you get Telus internet by itself, or bundled with the TV service, it's fast and reliable, making it a real value!


telus optik television guide screenshot
Telus really has done a good job designing the TV service. The typical bundle comes with a single 320GB high definition personal video recorder (HDPVR) and a second HDTV box. This allows you to have the HDPVR in your main room and a second TV with HD in perhaps, your bedroom. A key factor in this setup is that the two boxes are shared on their own network. If you record a television show on the PVR, you are able to watch that show at any time on either TV. This is fantastic as it allows you to keep costs down by only having one HDPVR in the house and just have regular HDTV boxes on any other TV's you have. Some important information that I've noted is that Telus has a very large number  of HD channels, more than most other services (for now) but they only stream in 720P resolution. That means that if you have a super sexy 1080P flat screen TV, you arn't going to be using it to it's full potential (like you would with a blu-ray movie or select PS3 games). I've also found that the Telus TV interface is very quick and channel surfing is near instant. Telus recently added Facebook to the interface, which at first I thought was a pathetic attempt to mix a social application with TV, but in reality they did a great job. The Facebook application allows you to watch TV on about 75% of the screen, and use the more popular Facebook functions with ease. You can even setup multiple profiles on the Telus interface, all with separate 4 digit passwords for privacy. Something to be careful of is the package profiles available in your area. The TV harnesses your internet bandwidth and if you are on the low end of 15mbps you will only be able to watch/record one HD show at a time. This sort of limitation can be a problem in larger homes or if you wanted to record one, and watch another HD show at once. Keep in mind that you can always watch the high definition show, and record the standard definition (SD) show instead. 

The phone service is awesome. I have had it at several homes and have almost never had to complain about it. The Telus phone uses tried and tested phone lines that prove very reliable and do not drop during power outages like internet based lines. Telus has a very wide variety of calling features and the voice clarity is probably unbeatable. The main problem with this service is the price. Services like Shaw Phone, Vonage, MagicJack and many others can cost significantly less, but can suffer from reliability issues and clairty problems. Telus is, and may always be the landline of choice. 

 telus company logo 2011
I think it goes without saying that Telus has a great package here. The service is superior to it's competition, the technology is current, the prices are lower than most and can even include contracts for those who can't afford initial hardware purchases. The most important factor is to check on the profiles available in your area. Just because the Optik service is available to you, doesn't mean it has all of the functions that you may need. I would still price check and consider other options, but you'll probably find that as of now and over the next couple of years, Telus Optik is the way to go for most. 

IaN

27 comments :

  1. I have Shaw but I am contemplating a switch to Telus. My wife often records 2 HD programs that overlap and watches a 3rd on the PVR. Are you saying that with the 15 Mbps connection at Telus you can only record one HD show at a time?

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  2. That is correct. If the 15mbps connection is all that is available to you, then you are limited to watching or recording one HD show at a time. You can however record an HD show and watch as many SD shows as you have TV's. You require a higher profile, either 19mbps or 26mbps to watch/record 2 or even 3 HD shows at a time. If you check telus.ca and input your address it should tell you what profiles are available to you.

    IaN

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  3. Thanks for the review. I've been looking for current information on the service and now I think I'll go with Telus for my TV. The PVR deal is great and their rates are far more competitive compared to Shaw. I just got another rate increase from Shaw - seems like that is always happening.

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  4. Yep, I found the same thing when I had Shaw. On top of that, if you want to switch out channels or do any kind of changes to your service, you always end up paying more. Shaw has always had very knowledgeable support though.

    IaN

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  5. I know what you mean about Shaw rates... My bill just came for Internet and TV only and it is now $120.95 per month... If you add my seperate Telus phone ($35 to $40 per month) it comes to approx. $160 per month for the 3 services. Time to bundle with one vendor but I still am not sure which. I have two HD and one SD TV's in a house of 5 viewers. The bandwidth issue could be a problem for me. Tim in Surrey BC.

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    1. i have a shaw bundle which costs 145 / month. i have the movie central and about 6 tvs. 2 hdpvr's i is a terrabyte and the other is 500 gig.i have the phone service and ultra high speed internet. i was looking at telus and with the reduced rate for 6 months and the free lap top i still cant see changing over. no contract required with shaw either.

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    2. Just to note that it is either the free laptop OR 6 months reduced rate....not both together

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  6. Hey Tim,

    The good thing is that a lot of Surrey is already on the higher profile, so you should have no trouble getting 2 or 3 HD feeds at the same time, as well as a couple SD ones. If you run your address through the Telus website, it will tell you what internet packages are available to you. Take a look at that and if you can't figure it out I'd check your options by giving them a call. Telus has been good to me so far.

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  7. Thanks for your post, I'm trying to decide on a new internet connection and wasn't too sure about Telus - think I will give it a go now.

    cheers
    Aidan

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  8. good blog, thanks. Does shaw stream hd to the 1080p standard? Does telus have plans to upgrade to 1080p?

    Todd

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  9. Thanks! Both Shaw and Telus broadcast in 720P, but both can be watched in 1080i resolution. I haven't looked into it but I would be surprised to see 1080P broadcasts anytime within the next few years. Telus complains of enough bandwidth problems with how it is now. I'm sure we'll have it... someday.

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  10. Ian, Very helpful, and encouraging. Thanks very much. I have heard that if you phone Shaw and tell them you are moving to Telus, they will make a very big price adjustment. Any comment?

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  11. Hey, I was with Shaw before I switched to Telus Optik and I gave Shaw a good opportunity to "save" me but they were not willing to play ball at all. Now, I have since seen a new 15-15-15 deal from Shaw and am thinking that they are now loosening up a bit and may be willing to play the price game with you. I recommend giving them a call with an open mind to see what they will offer. Just advise them that you plan to switch because Telus is offering a better service for a cheaper price and simply ask them what they can do for you. Shaw is a great company and I can understand why you would stay with them if they could match the deal.

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  12. Telus is a horrible ISP. They still continue to have regular DNS issues, inferior customer service and appallingly incompetent tech support.

    I'm an advanced user, and it means I expect my connection to be functional most of the time. This is far more than can be reasonably expected from Telus. The hall-mark of their excellent service however, has to be the lax schedule they hold. We've been stood up four or five times in a row on numerous occasions.

    Telus is a telecom. That said, don't expect much. Telus is the worst of a bad breed, go with another provider and save yourself.

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  13. I'm sorry to hear that you've had such a terrible experience with Telus. I have had Optik now for several months and have had no problems whatsoever with the internet. I run 2 HD TVs, 2 desktop PCs, 2 laptops, a PS3, WiFi printer and two smart phones all at the same time on a regular basis and never have any trouble with DNS or IP related problems. As a matter of fact I have never had to reset the modem or even experience a loss of internet since I got Optik.

    I have had a few issues with the TV service but have made one call and any new issues have been dealt with by the same technician by calling him directly. I called him at 10pm once and he came out at midnight the same night to solve the issue (poor ground in exterior box).

    Their has been some unique wiring issues at my residence to cause problems, but Telus has done a fantastic job keeping me satisfied and "in service". I would love to ask the last writer if your last experience with Telus was recent or pre-Optik?

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  14. I want to comment on the service given by Telus Techs. I had a bit of a problem at first as I live in a Private Hospital. The Tech from Telus came back twice to help me out as I am not that technologically savvy. If that's an example of Telus Service, it's greate!!!

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  15. Hi Ian, thanks for the information. Please give me your opinion. I have Telus coming out next week to hook up optik tv but I'm really nervouse about switching from Shaw. Like you, we have a lot of internet usage in our house. 1 HD tv, 3 other tvs, 1 desktop computer, 3 laptops, two smartphones and a PS3. The availability check says: Based on the information that you have provided, you can watch Optik TV on up to 6 TVs in your home. And you can watch 2 live programs in HD and 1 in standard definition at the same time. I'm really worried that this won't be a strong enough bandwidth. what's your view?

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  16. Hey Judy,

    Thanks for the comment. I have to say that I am envious of your situation. You are getting the service with the 2 HD channel allowance and I am still only able to get 1 HD channel at a time. So if I want to record an HD channel I have to watch SD or nothing, I can't watch one and record another. Since you only have 1 HD TV (for now) you should have NO problem with the 2 HD channel allowance. You can watch the HD shows you like and record another HD show at the same time. If your not watching HD or your not at home you can record 2 HD shows. Since Telus always has the equivalent SD (standard definition) shows, you can always record a show in SD instead of HD to free up an HD slot. Your going to find that Telus will give you a constant 19-20megabit connection and it will be quite fast, even faster than you are used to with Shaw, at least that's been my experience.

    If you, or anyone else has a specific question I recommend that you contact me via ian@iansblog.ca or by subscribing to this post via email (link below).

    Thanks,

    IaN

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  17. This is a little outdated. You should compare shaw gateway product now that kicks telus optik butt.

    Http://www.shaw.ca/gateway

    There is a good promo going on now for shaw gateway, check this thread out
    http://forums.redflagdeals.com/shaw-gateway-promo-deal-1075443/

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  18. Your wish is my command. I have posted a versus between Shaw Gateway and Telus Optik for your reading. I had been meaning to write this up for a while and your mentioning of it pushed me over the edge :)

    IaN

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  19. I've bounced around between Shaw and Telus over the past 15 years and both have the good, the bad and the ugly.
    Telus (overall) ranks higher in product quality although having said that I'm really miffed at the fact that, even though I live in the heart of Victoria (BC's capital city) I cannot get internet service better than Telus High Speed, and currently can get downloads of only 2.5mbps. Also, their tech staff are all offshore and often very hard to understand, this an be extremely frustrating.
    Shaw, on the other hand, seems to have "old fashioned service and the technology to match". I cannot seem to get them to improve their connection to my house and I know that there is only 1 cable drop for 2 separate subscribers, one of them (an upstairs tenant) being a heavy user. As a result my internet connection sucks and I have real connectivity problems. However, their tech guys are very knowledgeable and are based right here in Canada, so no problems with understanding what they're telling me. All in all, I think it's a constant trade off with the good/bad points of one service offsetting the good/bad points of the other. Take your pick, you win and lose either way.

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  20. I'm not sure if it's mentioned here but I believe that for Telus Optik, or Telus TV the selection of actual channels will be the same as you'll find on Bell TV since it appears that Telus is using the same satellites as Bell, or buying their TV service from them.

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  21. Is the current bundle really a good deal for Optik TV, Internet and Phone?

    6 Mo. 30 Mo.
    Telus Promo Thereafter

    Phone 15 25
    Internet 24 39
    Medium TV 33 53


    Per Month 72 117


    Total 3 Years 3942

    Freebies
    Free Tablet 500
    3 Mo Super Channel 51
    One Time Credit 50
    Free Rent PVR - 3yr 540
    Free Rent 2 STB's - 3yr 360
    Installation? ??
    Internet Modem ??
    Value of Freebies 1501


    Total minus freebies 2441

    This is what you should be able to pay.
    Per month over 3 years $67.81

    Based on TV - Medium Combo (3 TV's)
    Phone - with caller ID
    Internet @ 15 Mbps

    Buy 1 PVR and 2 STB's at Future Shop on Sale for 350.00
    Cost per month based on 36 months $9.72

    How do you get a good rate, no frills?????

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  22. Thanks for the review. I was actually thinking of going back to Shsw until I read the posts. Telus has a terrible email service which is not available most of the time without logging in three or four times. There customer service tells me they will be upgrading in the future but who knows when that will be.
    Btw, I tape three HD shows at one time without problems.

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  23. I recently moved from a small Gulf Island (Shaw) to Nanaimo where I had Optik installed. So far it is inferior in every way to the Shaw service I had on the island. TV is laggy, internet about half the speed. Guide is slow. Not happy.

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    1. If switching to optic keep in mind Shaw needs 30 days notice. So if you cancel today they will bill you for 30 more days. If you are not aware of this there will be an overlap in charges where you are paying for both sevices. Telus will tell you not to cancel until optic is hooked up and you are happy, telus will give you a $100 bill credit but this basically covers the billing overlap if you are unaware of the 30 day notice charge. Telus does not want you to know this because shaw will be agressive to keep you, and will
      almost guilt you into staying with shaw but wont match telus promotional pricing.Also I wouldn't tell telus you are canceling shaw early as they may not offer the $100 credit(food for thought) I was impressed with telus install service which was free,hdmi cables as well,telus hooked up six tvs, hooked up all the optic boxes and programmed all the remotes to sink with tv's. Telus tech support took over my computer remotely and transfered my e-mail and all e-mail folders +(in-box and sent box) Good time to change since shaw cut off its analog signal now you need a digital box for every tv. Shaw told me not to sell my digital boxes,which was funny since if i did that is several digital box sales they would lose, plus would make it even harder for me to switch back having to repurchase digital boxes to do so.

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  24. march26/ 13 have telue tv and net both are crap

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