Article

Cable and Internet Switch to vMedia - Review - 2018 Update

NOTE: Internet and TV review below

Please refer and see the images attached to this article for reference to the article.

So I made the switch and break-up Rogers and decided to to give V-Media with its IPTV service a try. V-Media give many Canadians an option to break away from the big players in the internet and cable business and offering a skinny TV package starting at $17.95 offering all of your basic/major Canadian and American TV channels. 

Friday March 18, 2016 - The process to signup is a straight forward process that you can do online at V-Media's website with an interactive sign-up process to help you along in the process to get the services you need and want. The reason I say need, is in order to sign up for their TV service you must also during the process sign up for an internet offering by them. As I went through the process it stated that you get a discount on the internet price if you sign up for TV. Great, instead of getting charged $62.95 for Cable internet 30 I was going to be charged $56.95.

Friday March 18, 2016 - After the sign-up process was complete I noticed that I was in fact being charged the full $62.95 for Internet even though I signed up for TV. I started a chat online with a customer service rep on V-Media's site regarding the discrepancy and she explained that the reduction in cost of the Internet is only for the upper TV packages. This was no where to be seen during the sign-up process for TV only showing if you signed up for TV than the internet would be discounted.  

Monday March 21, 2016 - I took a look again at the V-Media site to see if anything had changed and to get the phone number to call them to discuss. Once I took a look through the sign-up process again I noticed major change. During the signup process for TV to Internet it now has a double * at the reduced price stating that premium or premium basic TV package must be purchased to get a reduced internet price. I called V-Media to inquire and discuss since this was false advertising and they had obviously realized after I made the initial inquiry. The customer service rep that I spoke to was persistent that no changes had been made to the site since Friday. As you can see from the screenshots above there was an extra cavet added since Friday.

Monday March 21, 2016 -  I sent this link to V-Media as a better way to explain and showcase the discrepancy in the information on Friday to the online chat discussion and Monday's information change on the website. V-Media contacted me back and are looking further into the situation. I will await their response. But on a more positive note, I called Rogers in placed my cancellation notice to them. 

Tuesday March 22, 2016 - After some back and forth discussions with a V-Media customer rep, I can understand the situation they are in with the mistake as they can also understand my point of view of the discrepancy that was on their website. After a few back and forth emails, negotiation, I have agreed to something they have offered. V-Media offered two months free of Premium Basic TV, Disney TV package and a reduced internet price for those two months. After which I will be paying the for the Skinny Package, TLC, Disney Package and the Internet. I feel this has been handled great by V-Media considering they didn't have to do anything for me.

Sunday March 27, 2016 - My tech showed up about 9am and didn't even to come inside, just told me to switch out the old TecSavvy modem for the new V-Media modem and everything should work fine. I done just what he said and boom, internet and TV was working. 

REVIEW

Internet

Initial speed tests show I am getting exactly what I signed up for which was the 30/5Mbs package. I was using a 45/5Mbs package with TechSavvy but was not getting that speed. Now the true test for the internet now will be the TV quality since the TV is streamed over the internet using IPTV technology.  Rating: Even with TechSavvy.

TV

As soon as I booted up the IPTV box I was prompted to connect the WiFi, log in and do some initial setup of the screen and such. V-Media recommends to connect the box using a physical network wire instead or the WiFi or use a powerline adapter. I decided to use just the WiFi to see how the box could handle it. My current setup is having the router in the basement and the V-Media box on the main floor at the opposite end from the router. Once connected I was getting a strong signal. Looks promising so far. 

TV Box

The TV box that V-Media supplies ($129.00 to purchase) is an Android powered Quad Core box that is pre installed with the V-Media software and some other Android apps. If you are a user of Google products, you'll be happy with this since you can log into your account and add apps from the Google Play Store including ones you've purchased. 

V-Media Android TV Box

Guide

If you are a Rogers customer and have received the updated guide recently, you will know the frustration I have gone through with how slow it is to respond and how the text is difficult to read at times. Well no more, the V-Media guide is clean, responsive with many different options. Rating: +1 to V-Media

V-Media TV Guide

PVR & vCloud TV

No more buying a separate PVR for your TV setup for hundreds of dollars, with V-Media, all you need is a SD Card or USB Drive and connect it. Instant PVR for all of your channels. Rating: +1 to V-Media

With VCloud TV, its much like having a PVR for everything that aired in the last 7 days. The list of VCloud channels includes CTV, CBC, Global, CityTV, NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS, CW, MyTV, TVO, CHCH, Yes TV, CTV2Barrie, CBC Ottawa, CBC Windsor, ICI, OMNI1 and OMNI2, as well as specialty channels, Silver Screen Classics, Travel & Escape, Cottage Life and OUTtv. You can go back on any of these channels for the last 7 days to watch anything. So if you missed you Bachelor show from two days ago, dont fret, it'll be right there for you. V-Media promises that they will be adding more channels to this service as approval is granted by the stations, but this may take some time since the big players (Bell and Rogers) own most of the channels, they are not gonna want to give a small player an advantage. Rating: +1 to V-Media

Video Quality 

Prior to signing up for V-Media I read many different reviews on the video quality since all video is running over the internet and its a fairly new technology. Most of the reviews refered to the dual core Android boxes and these people seemed to have video issues from time to time. I read one review of a guy who had switched his dual core boxes for the newer quad core boxes and it fixed his issues. I also knew someone with the service and asked them a few questions, they also confirmed that the quad core boxes performed much better than the older dual core boxes. I was going to pick some of the dual core ones up since they are all over Kijiji for fairly cheap compaired to the newer quad core. After debating, I decided on the newer quar core boxes. So far I'm only a day into the service and the video quality is in full HD with no video issues at all. I am not quite sure if its because I am only using the quad core boxes but I am unwilling at this point to buy the dual boxes to save money but not necessarily the video quality. Rating: Nutural

Small Video Review

Pricing

  Internet TV Total
Old TechSavvy 40/4 400GB Limit $68.95 Rogers $65.95 $134.90
New V-Media 30/5 Unlimited $62.95 V-Media $31.85 $94.80
    Monthly Savings with V-Media: $40.10

Overall Experience - Updated May 15, 2016

So after a little over a month of using V-Media I have to give it a B+ rating. The internet has been solid all times and I have been getting a constant speed. For the most part the TV has worked well. There have been times that it gets jittery, this usually occurs about once every week. The work around that I have found to make the TV work well again has been to reboot the cable modem and the router. Once this was completed everything works fine again. This can be a pain in the ass at times but for the savings, I think it is a small thing to do. I have contemplated buying a Automatic Modem and Router re-booter to address this issue each night during downtime, but I have not gone that far yet. Overall I would reccommend V-Media services to anyone looking to rid yourself of the BIG 3 and to save some money in the process.

January 27, 2017 Update

I have had a few issues over the past few month but they all got resolved such as late last summer the internet was very slow and the TV sucked, but the cause ended up being Rogers having 800+ users on a node here in the neighborhood that only supported 200 users. Once that was fixed it worked great again.

Again over Christmas, during the semi-finals of the WJ's, TSN was unwatchable, and it was the case for everyone, they sent an email to all users about the issue, I think there were not ready for that type of load on one channel at one time but by the finals it again worked great.

Overall I am still liking the service for the price, there are intermittent issues but as they grow as a company they seem to be resolved. I would recommend the service if you have some type of technical background.

January 9, 2018 Update

So I have been having issues with the TV service and getting nowhere with support from vMedia and since I (we) do not watch a whole lot of TV these days I decided to cancel the TV service but at the same time but also to bump up the internet speed. This decision was made since we do watch a lot of Netflix, youtube and online gaming. To do this though I needed to order a new modem, which I done and had shipped to me.

Once all set up I did notice that during peak times (6pm - 9pm), video would stutter and some sites would be slower. I say some because not all sites I would notice a decrease in speeds. I know during peak times there would normally be some downgrade or slow down since there is more traffic at those times but it should not be enough of a slowdown for basic video to stutter. After spending some time on the phone support and listening to the standard canned recorded responses I noticed something that was mentioned: "Traffic Shaping does occur at times to maintain network stability" You may wonder what traffic shaping, it is also sometimes known as throttling or the big term used quite often in the U.S. as Net Neutrality. This is supposedly not allowed in Canada but my initial guess is that it’s done but how can I figure this out.

I decided to do a standard speedtest.net test as vMedia suggests and the speeds come back as normal or near normal as I should be getting, ~60Mbs. Next up I do a fast.com test but here the speeds are coming back at ~7Mbs strange since it is a large decrease in the speed that I am paying for but also not too strange since fast.com is run by Netflix. This may not mean much to many people but if you look further into it by knowing how traffic shaping works this will mean a lot. You see, vMedia can manage internet traffic on their networks by limiting the speed of sites and services that you access to ensure other sites and services work smoothly. As such, when vMedia tells someone to do a speedtest.net test, they know, that it is a site that they do not limit access to there for, you speed shows as normal but since Netflix is a site they limit access to the fast.com test will also be limited and will show your limited speed.

But how do you get around this? I purchased a VPN service (I’ll write another blog on this). A VPN basically masks your internet traffic from your network to the true internet outside of vMedia’s limits so they are unable to tell what you are doing, there for unable traffic shape. Once purchased and setup, I decided to do the same speedtest.net and fast.com tests. Speedtest.net test came back at around ~30Mbs and fast.com also came back around ~30Mbs. Speedtest.net is worse than the first test but fast.com is much better than the first test but as you see, they are both contestant which means vMedia is unable to detect the traffic type there for unable to traffic shape. Though these speeds are still lower that what I am paying for it is still an acceptable speed to watch video and these speeds will be somewhat slower due to the time of day as well as connecting through the VPN will slow the internet speed a bit as well. After trying some video sites connected to the VPN, all video is playing smoothly without any stutter. To me this shows that vMedia does do traffic shaping or throttling or whatever you want to call it. I will continue to monitor for the next month and if the situation does not improve, I will be switching internet providers and breaking up with my two year relationship with vMedia.

So stay tuned for another month to see how this goes, I had high hopes for vMedia as they were a smaller company but those hopes are slowly slipping away.

Overall Rating: 

6

Category: 

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