11-19-2010 03:37 PM
I've seen a couple threads come up about Source products and Telus Optik TV, so just wanted to post some clarification around the product, and let you all know how it works. Actually having the service installed myself soon, so I will take photos and post up for you as visual aids after the installation is completed.
First point to note is that Telus Optik TV is NOT a cable or satellite service. It is IPTV. And the second important distinction to make is that it's not the same as Telus' Satellite TV service. At one point in time, Telus referenced all of their TV services as "Telus TV", which creates a slight bit of confusion. "Telus TV" may still be used nowadays, but it's used to reference the family of products - Satellite TV and Optik TV.
The 3rd point to make is that when Telus rebranded it's IPTV product to Optik TV, they also updated their hardware. The previous Optik TV platform was known as "Minerva". Many customers complained ab out the product slowing down their internet, freezing up their TV when running simultaneously with their computer downloads; and a whole slew of other issues. When the product was rebranded, the Telus team also switched platforms. The current generation of Optik TV is powered by Microsoft Mediaroom - so for all you current users out there who feel a sense of deja vu when you first started switched, it'll all make some sense now...as Optik TV's current programming guide feels a lot like Microsoft Meda Centre or your Xbox Live Dashboard.
So this all leads to the big question...
What is Optik TV?
Optik TV service belongs to a family of products under the "IPTV" category. Currently, Optik TV is the only IPTV product available in BC and AB. The product runs off of Telus' fibre optic network. Translation? Telus spent a significant amount of money laying down fibre optic lines throughout major urban centres in BC and AB. Compared to conventional cable lines, fibre optic carries more information at faster speeds. This obviously allows for one major benefit to customers - more data inbound to the home.
Optik TV requires Optik High Speed Internet, which is Telus' high-speed internet service offered on their fibre optic network. TV customers are also eligible for the improved internet service, so it's a double-win with a lot of benefits, which I will get into below.
What benefits does Optik TV bring to me?
The theme is more inbound data. The result is two-fold. First, rather than the "dual tuner" or "two TV signal" standard out in the market right now, Optik TV offers THREE (if you want, call it a "tri-tuner"). So while a dual tuner allows you to record 2 shows at once (or record 1 and watch another live), Optik allows you to record 3 shows simultaneously (or record 2 and watch 1).
The 2nd benefit is the internet portion. Upgrading to Optik TV offers a customer Optik High Speed internet. The #1 question that people ask is "how fast is the internet? My existing service goes up to XXmbps". The answer to the question in the world of Optik is...."it depends". Which brings me to the next section...
Not everyone can have Optik. First, you need to visit Telus.com/OptikTV, and click on the link under "Is Optik TV available in my area?". Or simply CLICK HERE. From there, enter your information, and Telus will tell you how many incoming HD signals you can have. It's a bit of translation that's required, but they will probably give you one of the answers below. Because IPTV is all digital, it's all about bandwidth. Based on your "profile" as qualfied by Telus, I've translated what that means in terms of overall Internet bandwidth:
Qualify for 1 HD and 2 SD - 15mbps
Qualify for 2 HD and 1 SD - 19mbps
Qualify for 3 HD and 1 SD - 25mbps
To put some numbers into perspective, a HD signal is 6mbps. An SD signal is about 3mbps. So when you look at the first profile, turning on ALL your TVs at once will mean that you will take away 6+3+3, or 12mbps of bandwidth for TV. The remaining 3mbps is for your Internet. This means that at the very least, your internet bandwidth is 3mbps. If the TVs are off, you can go all the way up to 15mbps.
Once I have my service up and running, I will run a test from speedtest.net and post my results. I believe some other forum members who use Optik have already done the same and shown that there has been no substantial impact to their Internet since changing over to Optik TV.
How does Optik get connected?
I hear a lot of questions around this, and want to clarify. As much as it sounds cool to have a fibre optic line running into your TV, that's not "exactly" the case. To simplify the understanding, the fibre optic lines run into a control box. These boxes are located throughout the city, with one box catering to a certain number of square blocks in the surrounding area. From there, the signal passes via telephone line into your home. When Telus technicians come to install Optik, they will first do some work to your telephone from the exterior of your home. Then, they will work on a corresponding phone outlet within your home. Once the necessary infrastructure updates are made, the team will provide a new modem. The phone line carrying your TV (and Internet) signal will then enter via phone line into the modem. From there, you have 2 options. The modem can output a coaxial line or an ethernet line. If your modem is next to your TV, then you can use either option.
Alternatively, your setup may require you to route the signal through your walls and over to your TV. Newer homes may have ethernet outlets. In this case, you would go from modem to your wall via ethernet. In your TV room, you would run an ethernet cable from the wall outlet to your Telus Optik TV box.
For older homes (such as mine), I do not have ethernet outlets. Therefore, I opted to use a coax cable into my wall, and out the other end into my Optik TV box.
PVR Anywhere? I hear that a lot, but don't know what it means?
Optik TV only requires 1 PVR. Pick one TV in your home, and connect the PVR to it. Once that's set up, consider it the "brain" of your home TV service. Adding additional Optik TV HD Boxes is like adding appendages to your system. And because the IPTV system is 2-way communication, it allows the HD boxes to "talk" to the PVR. Translation into TV world - you can access and control your PVR through your HD boxes.
So if you've got your PVR set up in your living room, and an HD box in your bedroom, you can access and record programs from your PVR without leaving your bedroom. Pretty handy feature, if you ask me. And when you start layering in how much you're spending to get your house outfitted with PVR functionality on all TVs, it pays off to be purchasing additional HD boxes vs. more PVRs. Plus, you won't run into a problem where your recording is stored to the PVR in one room, while you're in another.
What's this about the Xbox 360?
One of the coolest additions to Optik TV is the ability to use select Xbox 360's as a HD box. We recommend the new 250GB Xbox 360, but the older Pro and Elite models will also work. All you need is the Xbox 360, and an Xbox LIVE account. The Telus technician will download and install the Optik TV application onto your Xbox live dashboard. From there, you simply click it, and the TV signal will boot up (give it about 10sec or so to start up).
Keep in mind though that the Xbox 360 doesn't allow you to access your PVR; it only allows you to watch live TV on it.
Why don't I qualify?
There's 2 reasons why Telus may not be available in your area. The first is that the fibre optic line hasn't been laid in your area of residence. The second is that there are no available ports to set up an Optik TV account. The latter happens most frequently with people who live in apartments/condos. In this scenario, there is a limited number of phone ports available to the building. Once they are completely occupied by other residents, Telus will not be able to route a TV signal to your suite, regardless of whether or not there is fibre optic line available near your area.
Telus is continuing to upgrade their infrastructure, so improvements are sure to come! If the service isn't available to you now, be patient!
Fineprint: The views, comments, and opinions in this post are my own, and not the voice of the Telus Corporation.
12-16-2011 11:14 AM
What if my phone line is on one wall and my TV is on a different wall across the room. I don't want phone lines running across the room.
The TELUS Tech who gets your service set up in-home will try to pick the best available telephone jack. If there's nothing closer, they will set up the modem nearest to your phone line, and then run an ethernet or coax calbe to your TV. That being said, they'll never run it across the room. The tech's come with a spool of cable, so they will run in around the edge of your room (normally staple gun a white cable along where your flooring meets the wall, or if you have carpet, they will try to tuck it below the baseboard)
Hope this helps!
01-18-2012 08:02 PM
Got Optik TV this summer. For awhile it ran fine but now the TV cuts out after a few minutes. Phoned Telus and we went thru all the support on their end and the techician said there was no problem on their side. He suggested that I unplug my TV and replug. It worked for a brief time but now everything shuts down continually to the point of being unusable.
The installer put the modem by my computerand as this is an older home used modem output to coaxial line.
I 've also read something about requiring VDSL POTS splitter and that microfilters and bridge taps should be removed but all this is too technical for me.